SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Alternative Metal • United States

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System of a Down (commonly referred to as System or abbreviated as SOAD) is an American alternative metal band, formed in 1994 from Los Angeles, California. All four members are of Armenian descent, and are widely known for their outspoken radical views expressed in many of their songs confronting the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire and the ongoing War on Terror by the US government. The band consists of Serj Tankian (vocals), Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, vocals) and John Dolmayan (drums). System of a Down has achieved commercial success with five albums, and many singles such as their breakout hit "Chop Suey!", "Toxicity", "Aerials", "B.Y.O.B.", "Question!", "Hypnotize", and "Lonely Day". Their works have earned them one Grammy Award amongst three nominations.

System of a Down went on hiatus in 2006, with Serj Tankian pursuing a solo career and Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan forming
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ToxicityToxicity
Sony 2001
Audio CD$3.29
$1.09 (used)
System of a DownSystem of a Down
Explicit Lyrics
Sony 1998
Audio CD$3.34
$0.42 (used)
MezmerizeMezmerize
American / Columbia 2005
Audio CD$4.47
$2.26 (used)
HypnotizeHypnotize
Sony 2005
Audio CD$3.53
$2.61 (used)
Steal This AlbumSteal This Album
Explicit Lyrics
Sony 2002
Audio CD$3.53
$2.49 (used)
System of a DownSystem of a Down
Box set · Import
Sony UK 2011
Audio CD$22.68
$22.14 (used)
The LowdownThe Lowdown
SEXY INTELLECTUAL 2014
Audio CD$10.05
$13.75 (used)
Psycho MessiahsPsycho Messiahs
Multiple Formats
Chrome Dreams Video 2002
DVD$5.75
$1.74 (used)
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SYSTEM OF A DOWN Discography

SYSTEM OF A DOWN albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.08 | 40 ratings
System of a Down
Alternative Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.29 | 78 ratings
Toxicity
Alternative Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.45 | 27 ratings
Steal This Album!
Alternative Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.14 | 50 ratings
Mezmerize
Alternative Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.67 | 32 ratings
Hypnotize
Alternative Metal 2005

SYSTEM OF A DOWN EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Sugar E.P.
Alternative Metal 1998

SYSTEM OF A DOWN live albums

SYSTEM OF A DOWN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1995 Demo Tape
Alternative Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo Tape 1
Alternative Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo Tape 2
Alternative Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo Tape 3
Alternative Metal 1996

SYSTEM OF A DOWN boxset & compilations

SYSTEM OF A DOWN singles (6)

.. Album Cover
4.93 | 3 ratings
Toxicity
Alternative Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
4.89 | 3 ratings
Chop Suey!
Alternative Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
4.93 | 3 ratings
Aerials
Alternative Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
4.91 | 3 ratings
B.Y.O.B.
Alternative Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
3.99 | 3 ratings
Question!
Alternative Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.73 | 3 ratings
Lonely Day
Alternative Metal 2006

SYSTEM OF A DOWN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Psycho Messiahs
Alternative Metal 2002

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Reviews

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Toxicity

Album · 2001 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
After a promising debut all comes together in a magnificent way for SYSTEM OF A DOWN on TOXICITY. This is a landmark of metal of sort as nothing in all of metal or music at large sounds like it. Although the band itself refers to their unique hybrid of musical styles modestly as pop music, they have in fact developed a unique sonicscape residing on the alternative branch of metal previously getting lumped in with all those rap rock groups that were popular around the same time. It's not really farfetched since the lyrics are often half rapped and half sung. SOAD were just far more sophisticated in their compositions and creativity than many of their contemporaries.

This album delivers a vitriolic bite as it vituperates the power structure and its long list of injustices while keeping the listener engaged with clever and genre bending twists and turns that take the listener from soft melodic acoustic passages to hard repetitious thrash riffing in an instant. Serj Tankian is a master of alternating everything from melodic harmonies to death metal growls and back again without the slightest stumble. The guitar, bass and drums are tight but playful as well. They weave a musical tapestry that incorporate the harmonies of the individual players and then play together in unison in an instant often offering faint dissonance for contrast all sewn together with a nerdy prog charm and even show their sense of humor with the thrash pogo stick party on “Bounce.”

This is one of those rare albums that seems to have mass popular appeal as it is brutal enough to please extreme metalheads, melodic enough for the traditional crowd and unique enough to fulfill its inclusion into the alternative world. It debuted at #1 on Billboard's album charts and has sold a gazillion copies. Phenomenal album that I personally never tire of hearing. Five Hollywood Stars for this toxic concoction of inflamed fusion that only SOAD could deliver.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN System of a Down

Album · 1998 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The game of musical Monopoly was still the scene in the 90s. SYSTEM OF A DOWN picked up a chance card and got to advance to go and collect their $200. That meaning they got to side-step the traditional climb to musical success by going from playing the LA clubs to recording their first album after Rick Rubin caught a show and offered to produce it for them which granted them instant access to MTV, radio and soon thereafter a stint with Ozzfest. A true story of rags to riches all in a relatively short time.

Undoubtedly they got so much attention because of the strange hybrid they exhibited from the beginning with a kind of alternative metal that at times utilized thrash, at times elements of death metal but all mixed with the traditional music of their Armenian roots. That coupled with their ability to weave complex musical ideas out of rather simple catchy riffs and drumbeats meant they had the perfect background to expound their political views on issues such as the Armenian genocide of 1915 by the Ottomans and the more recent War On Terror by the US.

A lot of the music here is very melodic metal oriented with groove and thrash leanings which drop in and out with strange little lead breaks and Serj Tankian's unusual half screamed, half rapped lyrical outbursts and lots of other unorthodoxies. A very strong album but doesn't quite have the diversity of the following ones. I find this album very good, but not great. The ideas they present here are interesting to say the least but don't really develop fully until their next album TOXICITY. As much as I love listening to this album it does seem to drag a bit towards the end, however still a strong debut for a band whose unique yet accessible experimental take on metal would take the world by storm.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN System of a Down

Album · 1998 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
alice-in-chains4lyfe
Nu metal (or Alternative metal) has always been a controversial genre amongst old school Metalheads who label it "false metal" and "mallcore", and while i must admit Nu metal does have it's fair share of garbage (Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Papa Roach etc.), Prog-rock influenced Nu metal bands like System of a Down and Deftones show that not all music from the Nu metal ghetto is crap. The Los Angeles Based System of a Down's self titled debut album is literally like a steaming kettle of molten lava, and alternates between soft moments which showcase lead singer Serj Tankian's fantastic singing ability, to bursts of thrash metal/hardcore punk fury typified by tracks like Sugar, Suite-Pee, Soil and Mind. At first i didn't care much for the ballady songs on this album (Spiders, Suggestions, Peephole) but they eventually grew on me (once again due to tankian's amazing voice). The album includes a few filler type songs which are at or under 2 minutes (CUBErt, Darts, DDevil), They are basically mini versions of the longer heavier songs (Mind, Soil) which is pretty cool. I don't particularly care for CUBErt which i could never really get into, but other then that the tracks here are of great quality and very memorable, the type of stuff that will stay in your head for a while. Overall a fantastic Nu/Alt metal album, and definitely one of my most favorite debut albums ever. Recommended for fans of bands like Slayer, Metallica, Korn and Tool.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Sugar E.P.

EP · 1998 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
alice-in-chains4lyfe
This EP released in 1999 was something of a stop-gap for System of a Down before unleashing their 2001 masterpiece "Toxicity" on the world. The EP includes two song's from the band's debut album; "Sugar" and "War?". Sugar is definitely one of my favourites from their debut album, with the song sounding like a hybrid between the Alternative metal of Faith No More and Thrash metal of Slayer. The other song War? is one of the weaker song's from that particular album. The album includes live, clean and clean live versions of these songs. It also includes the thrashy 1 minute song "Störagéd", which is only available on this release. It's the only real incentive to buy this album unless you're interested in hearing live versions of song's you've probably already heard before. Overall a pretty enjoyable listen, although having 4 versions of the same song (Sugar) is quite excessive and unnecessary. I'd recommend downloading this album, but not spending any cash on it.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Hypnotize

Album · 2005 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
The second half of the band's double album, "Hypnotize" pretty much occupies the same area as "Mezmerize". Its short, schizophrenic songs are packed with thrash metal, mellow middle eastern tinged movements, whackyness and enough political/social rage to fill 10 punk albums. As usual, the album's lyrics are cryptic, multifaceted and open to interpretation, (though usually filled with biting social and political commentary). Like "Mezmerize" this album is heavy but not the heavy of old school System of a Down. Along the exact same lines, this album also features more varied songs and less adherence to "poppy" song structures in much of the band's older material. However, this album is not quite as strong as its counterpart. Partially due to a slight lack of originality, though it's still a very good album.

The album opens with "Attack" similar to "B.Y.O.B." in that it's a very intense, no real debate anti war song, (can't get anymore in your face then "Attack all the homes and villages, attack all the schools and hospitals"). Thrashy, blast beat laden song with a few moments to let you catch a breath.

"Dreaming" is another intense song varying from mid tempo thrash to blast beat intensity (John was always a decent drummer that could mosh out, but really lets it fly on these latest albums). Similar song to above, but with a maddening trio of vocals in the chorus and a display of how Daron's singing can be very nice when restraint is used.

"Kill Rock & Roll" is a good song really redeemed by the nice middle section. Also by this point you'll notice that even more so than before Daron has lead vocals and there is almost always there is a harmony with him and Serj.

Things pick up with "Hypnotize" a slower, cleaner song with great guitar/vocal work. More high soaring vocals from Daron, some really cool drumming from John, and an awesome Eastern section with 4 layers of guitar. Powerful song.

"Stealing Society" is not a bad song at all, but just nothing new. Which is fine, but a little uninteresting and it's just a rare example of a weaker song on a SoaD "major" studio album. The exact can be said of "Tentative".

"U-fig" changes things up, a stop/go chaotic song that hits you like a whirlwind and with some of the crazier Serj vocals out there!

"Holy Mountains" the five and a half minute epic (Yeah, for System 5 and a half minutes is an epic). A very powerful song about a topic close to the hearts of the band, the Armenian genocide. Focused on Mt. Ararat, a symbol of pride and nationalism to Armenia, (and also "holy" as it's the supposed landing place of Noah's Ark)it paints a movie like picture of the genocide. People fleeing to the mountains and running "back to the river Aras" to escape. The song chastises the Turkish government (presumably) for maintaining it was all part of the general chaos of WWI and an "act of warfare" started by the Armenians. Then asking if they feel the "haunting presence" of what I take as murdered souls "resting on the mountainside".

I also wondered if perhaps the song has a more outright political motive, such as retaking lost land or at least the mountains. Regardless, it's a moving song that has a great flow, awesome drumming, some of the best vocals on the album, (including passionate cries of anger). A song I used to not really like back in 05, but later grew to become my favorite on the album, and one of my all time favorites by System.

"Vicinity of Obscenity" follows and what a 180. A silly, whacky song that is impossible to make any sense of. Pretty cool, and the noisy feedback outro leads right into "She's like Heroin" another Daron dominated song that has one of the more humorous moments, progressively shouting "ASS" louder! Quick song that builds to a long thrashy ending. About doing anything to get some cash for heroin, I always thought there was a dual meaning about being in love and feeling like you'd do anything for that addiction...

"Lonely Day" a very nice, clean song that is again dominated by Daron. His vocals are more restrained so they are much nicer then his high pitched soaring ones (though even those aren't too bad). Features a rare System of a Down guitar solo. A beautiful, melodic and powerful song. Really nice. While generally criticized, (and occasionally praised) for it's simple message, a lonely day as usual I think there's some more to it. The last 2 albums seem to have a flow throughout, and given the song to follow I think this one may have to do with going away/being at war. Regardless, very moving song.

"Soldier Side" is another powerful and emotional song, dealing with war and the sadness of leaving for war. "Young men standing on the top of their own graves, wondering when Jesus comes are they gunna be saved?" and the wonderful Serj/Daron harmony singing "They were crying when their sons left, god is wearing black. He's gone so far to find no hope he's never coming back" can't help but move you. Another clean guitar driven song that builds to an epic climax. Another great vocal display, and it ends with the starting melody of "Soldier Side-Intro" from Mezmerize. Thus completing (or re starting?) the cycle.

Another great album from System of a Down that has no real faults or flaws, though a bit standard for them. This should not be taken as bad, (not at all) but just another System album makes it tough to distinguish from the rest and indeed, aside from Holy Mountains, Hypnotize and the final 2 songs...the songs from this album don't really jump out at me. Still, a very good album the band left us with before their hiatus.

Four Stars

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