Sadly, System of a Down probably won’t be releasing new music anytime soon — or ever again, judging from the band members’ recent comments — but at least the four musicians are making tons of cool shit outside the aegis of the beloved alt-metal group. Guitarist Daron Malakian has his band Scars on Broadway, bassist Shavo Odadjian is running his own cannabis lifestyle brand 22Red, and drummer John Dolmayan is prepping the debut album from his crowdfunded all-star covers project Three Grey Men featuring guest contributions by Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows and Rage Against the Machine/Prophet of Rage fret-burner Tom Morello. As for SOAD frontman Serj Tankian, he’s been scoring films, launching an Armenian coffee brand Kavat and periodically popping up to make fun cameos on songs by the likes of Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Euringer and, most recently, psychedelic prog-rock supergroup O.R.k. Tankian lends his inimitable croon to the band’s new single “Black Blooms,” which you can stream below, a slow-building, atmospheric cut from their new album Ramagehead, due February 22 via Kscope. Tankian wasn’t the only big-name rock star to contribute to the LP — the record’s cover art was created by none other than Tool guitarist Adam Jones.
O.R.k.’s international lineup includes King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto and former Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin, as well as Italian vocalist Esposito Fornasari and guitarist Carmelo Pipitone. “Ramagehead is a not a concept album as such, but there is certainly an identifiable theme,” Edwin told Prog magazine, “in that we attempt to express the everyday bewilderment bought about by the uncertain times we are living in, and the constant confusing information overload that we are all subjected to in today’s post-fact environment. We also wanted to harness the power, unpredictability and spontaneity of the O.R.k. live experience into a static recording whilst aiming for a high-resolution sonic space that can be revisited repeatedly by the avid listener to discover ever deeper layers.”