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

Artists Related to System of a Down


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