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System of a Down

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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

    Hard Rock

    Hard Rock
    5 songs

    '00s Alternative

    '00s Alternative
    5 songs

    Alternative Party

    1 song

Albums by
System of a Down

Top Songs by
System of a Down

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

Artists Related to System of a Down

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