Serj Tankian wants to be clear: System of a Down are not working on a new album. The 45-year-old frontman is currently in the midst of an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit, promoting his two brand new solo albums (Orca and Jazz-Iz-Christ) but the first question Tankian responded to was a long-burning one — "Is it true that there's a new System of a Down record in the making?"
"No, that is not true," the singer wrote. "A quick scan of press online will show that we have not yet agreed on a timetable for another record due to its time commitments." Insulting but straight-to-the-point — has he been taking notes from Trent Reznor's AMA etiquette?
Still, the Redditor who inquired about System's current status pressed onward, responding, "Seriously I think everyone wants a new System of a Down album. It's been too long since the last one." To which Tankian, dialing back on the curtness, replied, "We really appreciate that, but we have to make a record when we think it's time, not anyone else."
System of a Down once again stirred rumors about a possible follow-up to 2005's Mesmerize/Hypnotize double album earlier this week during a one-off gig at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. Drummer John Dolmayan shouted at the end of the July 29 show, "Next time we come back here, we'll have a new fucking album." Cue rabid internet speculation (or just ponder the fact that they're not playing L.A. again for a long, long time).
The prospect of a sixth SOAD album has been a source of conflict for the California metal crew. Back in May, bassist Shavo Odadjian wrote in several since-deleted Facebook posts that Tankian was "holding [the band] back" and stated that the rest of the group might be open to recording with a different vocalist. The Toxicity outfit then released a statement dismissing Odadjian's remarks as "a temporary state of bad judgment on his part alone."
In June, Tankian told Artist Direct, "I can't write a forced record... It's like romancing someone at a time you don't want to be romantic." He continued, saying, "A new record requires three years. It's not something I can do right now. When I can commit to a three-year album cycle, I'll be down to do it."
Today, on Reddit, Tankian clarified further. "I am not opposed to making a System record at all," he wrote. "It just has to be the right time for us all in the band."
For now, System fans will have to make due with Orca (Tankian's "first classical symphony") and Jazz-Iz-Christ (an "electro-jazz" effort).