"Deconstruction," a bluesy heavy metal track that wouldn't be out of place on a Black Sabbath album, was written by Tankian and Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian. It was the first song released through the company's new Gibson Band project, which will bring famous musicians together to raise money for worthy causes.
The company will be auctioning off a painting made by Tankian and a one-of-a-kind Les Paul Standard adorned with the artwork, which also serves as the single's cover art. Potential buyers have until Dec. 18 to place a bid.
Tankian and Gueikian are both members of the Armenian diaspora, and all the proceeds from "Deconstruction" will be donated to the Armenia Fund. The organization provides humanitarian assistance like health care and disaster relief programs to people in the country and other Armenian communities worldwide.
"We wanted 'Deconstruction' to be dedicated to the Armenian community," Gueikian said.
Tankian's painting "Our Mountains" is inspired by Mount Ararat, a landmark in Turkey that's deeply significant for the Armenian people.
The Armenians were the victims of a what most historians consider a genocide during World War I, the New York Times reported. Roughly 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire. Thousands more were forced to undertake a brutal march out of their historic homeland in modern Turkey. Some Armenians ended up scattered throughout the Middle East, including Tankian's grandparents. He was born in Lebanon and immigrated to Los Angeles' Little Armenia neighborhood at age 7, Pitchfork reported.
Many in Turkey have disputed that categorization, though the U.S. government finally officially recognized the Armenian genocide through a bipartisan Congressional resolution in 2019. Tankian had long been an advocate in the fight for recognition.
The modern Armenian nation state became part of the Soviet Union after World War I and declared its independence in 1991. For decades, the country has been embroiled in an armed territorial conflict with its neighbor Azerbaijan. On Dec. 8, the two nations announced that they were exchanging prisoners of war and hope to sign a peace treaty in the coming weeks, Al Jazeera reported.
"I am happy that we are using our platform to donate the music, my art, and Gibson’s incredibly unique guitar for such a great charity," Tankian said. "Music with the right intentions can inspire and also create positive change." The vocalist added that "it’s a dream come true to have collaborated with my good friend, Cesar Gueikian, and Tony Iommi, who I have collaborated with before."
The legendary guitarist was excited about the project, as well.
"It was great to hook up with Serj again and also to do a track with Cesar (I think that he’s trying to steal my job!! ) ha-ha!!" he said. "The Armenian people are really lovely people, and it’s a great pleasure, a great cause, and I’m very happy to be involved in it."
The track came out weeks after Black Sabbath's founding vocalist Ozzy Osbourne told Rolling Stone that he hopes to play at least one more concert before the end of his life.