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System of a Down

Like many late-'90s metal bands, System of a Down struck a balance between '80s underground thrash metal and metallic early-'90s alternative rockers like Jane's Addiction. Their dark, neo-gothic alternative metal earned a cult following in the wake of the popularity of such like-minded bands as Korn and the Deftones. Vocalist Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan formed System of a Down in Southern California in the mid-'90s. They quickly earned a strong following in Los Angeles, largely based on strong word of mouth. A three-song demo began circulating through metal collectors, and their fan base soon spread throughout not only America, but Europe and New Zealand. By the end of 1997 the group had signed to American, then distributed by Columbia Records. American/Columbia released the group's eponymous debut album in the summer of 1998, securing the band opening spots on the Slayer and Ozzfest tours. System eventually went gold, and set up the September 2001 release of the even more ambitious Toxicity. System's second effort was another heavy music triumph, shaming the majority of their nu-metal competition and running away with multi-platinum honors. The quartet didn't slow down. Malakian started the eatURmusic imprint and Tankian a label called Serjical Strike; Tankian also collaborated with Armenian avant-garde folk musician Arto Tuncboyaciyan in a project called Serart. In November 2002 System issued the bare-bones but no less powerful odds 'n' ends set Steal This Album!; they also remained politically active. By 2004, System of a Down was back in the studio with Rick Rubin. The bold result of those sessions was a single epic album released in two parts. Mezmerize/Hypnotize kept System's furious creativity alive, incorporating the wild vocal melodies, lyrical passion, and rabid structural shifts that had become their trademark. Mezmerize, or part one, appeared in May 2005, while Hypnotize, its final section, appeared later in the year, and both hit the top of the album charts. The following year saw the group go on hiatus, with Malakian forming Scars on Broadway; Dolmayan opening an online comic book store and forming the group Indicator (he also briefly played with Scars on Broadway); Odadjian working with RZA, AcHoZeN, and George Clinton; and Tankian embarking on a solo career. In 2010 the bandmembers announced that they would be reuniting for a series of European festival dates in 2011. System of a Down continued to tour internationally through 2015, and hinted at the possibility of releasing a new album in the near future. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Stations Featuring
System of a Down

    Metal Mosh Pit

    Metal Mosh Pit
    13 songs

    Xtreme Alt Rock

    Xtreme Alt Rock
    3 songs

    '00s Alternative

    '00s Alternative
    5 songs

    Hard Rock

    Hard Rock
    5 songs

Albums by
System of a Down

Top Songs by
System of a Down

  1.   Song
  2.   Toxicity
  3.   Chop Suey!
  4.   Aerials
  5.   B.Y.O.B.
  6.   Hypnotize
  7.   Lonely Day
  8.   Sugar
  9.   Cigaro
  10.   Prison Song
  11.   Spiders
  12.   Suite-Pee
  13.   Bounce
  14.   Forest
  15.   Old School Hollywood
  16.   Question!
  17.   Deer Dance
  18.   Darts
  19.   Tentative
  20.   War?
  21.   Stealing Society
  22.   Sad Statue
  23.   Science
  24.   Kill Rock 'N Roll
  25.   Soil
  26.   Violent Pornography
  27.   Psycho
  28.   Radio/Video
  29.   IEAIAIO
  30.   Needles
  31.   Lost in Hollywood
  32.   Shimmy
  33.   Snowblind
  34.   Vicinity of Obscenity
  35.   She's Like Heroin
  36.   P.L.U.C.K.
  37.   Soldier Side
  38.   Holy Mountains
  39.   Mr. Jack
  40.   Revenga
  41.   Know
  42.   Pictures
  43.   Boom
  44.   Innervision
  45.   Mind
  46.   This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm on This Song
  47.   F**k the System
  48.   Highway Song
  49.   Jet Pilot
  50.   Roulette
  51.   Bubbles
  52.   Atwa
  53.   Peephole
  54.   Ego Brain
  55.   Streamline
  56.   Attack
  57.   Nuguns
  58.   Chic 'n' Stu
  59.   Cubert
  60.   Thetawaves
  61.   X
  62.   Metro
  63.   Suggestions
  64.   U-Fig
  65.   Dreaming
  66.   ADD (American Dream Denial)
  67.   Ddevil
  68.   36
  69.   Johnny

Artists Related to System of a Down


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