This year has been good to the rock superpowers of yore, who’ve teased new things with countdowns or simply Tooled around in studio. It looks like the group I’d most like to hear from have tried their hands at revivalism, too: System of a Down, the nu metal-adjacent hard rockers who hold up way better than you probably remember, haven’t really gone away—they’ve been performing at international festivals and a select few tour dates over the years, but haven’t released new music since the 2005 doubleheader of Mesmerize and Hypnotize. They’re coming back to the U.S. after what feels like forever, and thank god.
The band’s official Twitter account has been counting down to something by adding new elements to the same image each of the last three days. It expired Monday, April 9, revealing three West Coast tour dates with At the Drive In and Skeleton Witch. According to a press release for the band, they’ve actually confirmed five dates:
Oct 13 – San Bernardino, CA – Glen Helen Amphitheater
Oct 14 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival
Oct 16 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Arena
Oct 17 – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
Oct 19 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
While the image would make for a great album cover that positions them as the band we need right now in a modern era of nuclear paranoia—SOAD’s politics have always felt radical and prescient enough to be ahead of the curve—it may or may not be attached to a new record. Bandleader Serj Tankian told Rolling Stone last December that they were playing songs for each other and hadn’t seen eye-to-eye on new material, but were happier than ever just touring.
They’re in this awkward space for legacy rock bands who aren’t Radiohead or the Foo Fighters—can they still fill up arenas? Should we even want new music at this point? In order: maybe, and maybe not. There’s probably enough scarcity here for them to make a big triumphant return and tour North America—they haven’t done as much since 2011 and 2012, and it’s easy to forget just how fucking popular they were. I’ll be there.