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System of a Down
System of a Down, Download Festival 2005 (1).JPG
System of a Down performing in England in 2005
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, USA
Genres Alternative metal, nu metal, heavy metal, hard rock
Years active 1994 – 2006, 2010 – present
Members Serj Tankian
Daron Malakian
Shavo Odadjian
John Dolmayan
Past members Andy Khachaturian

System of a Down is an American metal band. They started in 1995 in Los Angeles, California by four members of Armenian descent, Serj Tankian (lead singer, born August 21, 1967), Daron Malakian (lead guitar, singer, born July 18, 1975), Shavo Odadjian (bass, background singer, born April 22, 1974) and drummer Andy Khachaturian (but was replaced with John Dolmayan).

The band has five albums:

  • System of a Down (1998)
  • Toxicity (2001)
  • Steal This Album! (2002)
  • Mezmerize (2005)
  • Hypnotize (2005).

The band became successful with popular songs like "Sugar", "Spiders", "Chop Suey!", "Toxicity", "Aerials", "B.Y.O.B.", "Question!", "Hypnotize", and "Lonely Day".

After the release of MEZMERIZE/Hypnotize, System of a Down went on a long break. The band reunited in 2011.

Often described as very angry, Khachaturian was unhappy about his place as drummer, and wanted to lead the band. He left the band and the drummer from the band, "Friik", John Dolmayan, joined the band.

Early days

Serj, Daron, and Shavo, went to the same school, Alex Pilibos School for Armenian Americans in Los Angeles, when they were young.

In 1995, they made their first demo tape, and had the songs: "Suite-Pee", "Sugar", "Dam", and "P.L.U.C.K.(Politically Lying Unholy Cowardly Killers)". In 1996, another demo tape was released with the songs: Soil, and two songs that were not on the first album, "Honey" and "Temper". They made another demo tape, and this was the one that got them put on the record label. The producer, Rick Rubin, had tried to sign up the band several times before they agreed.

First album

In 1997, SOAD teamed up with Rubin and produced their first studio album in 1997, System of a Down. This album was not as popular as the next album, but it made people aware of who and what System of a Down stood for.

Their next album, Toxicity, made in 2001, had their first UK top 20 single "Chop Suey". This album explores a more melodic side of metal music. It is also political; for example the opening track: "Prison Song" which has Serj speaking the lines.

Double album

In May 2005, the band released part one of a double album, Mezmerize. It was more melodic than before, and included "B.Y.O.B" (Bring Your Own Bombs), and "Lost in Hollywood" - a song based on Daron's childhood about growing up in Hollywood, which he did not think was very glamorous.

Months later, the second part of the double album, Hypnotize, was released. This was the same sort of style because they were recorded at the same time.

Taking a break

In 2006, the band decided that they were going to have a break for a little while. They said they were going to come back together in a few years. After 10 years together, they each wanted to do different things for a while. The band reunited in 2011.


Studio albums
  • System of a Down (June 30, 1998)
  • Toxicity (September 4, 2001)
  • Mezmerize (May 17, 2005)
  • Hypnotize (November 22, 2005)

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: System of a Down para niños

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