System of a Down is an Armenian-American heavy metal band from Glendale, California, formed in 1994. The band currently consists of Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards), Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, backing vocals), and John Dolmayan (drums).
The band achieved commercial success with the release of five studio albums, three of which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. System of a Down has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and their song "B.Y.O.B." won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2006. The band went on hiatus in 2006 and reunited in 2010; since then, they have performed live occasionally despite having not released any new material since the Mezmerize and Hypnotize albums in 2005. System of a Down has sold over 40 million records worldwide, while two of their singles "Aerials" and "Hypnotize" reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart.
System of a Down
System of a Down performing in Wantagh, New York in 2012
|Also known as|
|Origin||Glendale, California, U.S.|
|Past members||Andy Khachaturian|
Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian attended Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School as children, although due to their eight-year age difference they did not meet until 1992 while working on separate projects at the same recording studio. They formed a band named Soil with Tankian on vocals and keyboards, Malakian on vocals and guitar, Dave Hakopyan (who later played in The Apex Theory/Mt. Helium) on bass and Domingo "Dingo" Laranio on drums. The band hired Shavo Odadjian (another Rose and Alex Pilibos alumnus) as manager, although he eventually joined Soil as rhythm guitarist. In 1994, after only one live show at the Roxy and one jam session recording, Hakopyan and Laranio left the band.
After Soil split up, Tankian, Odadjian, and Malakian formed a new band, System of a Down. The group took its name from a poem that Malakian had written titled "Victims of a Down". The word "victims" was changed to "system" because Odadjian believed that it would appeal to a much wider audience and also because the group wanted their records to be alphabetically shelved closer to their musical heroes, Slayer. Odadjian switched from guitar to bass and passed on his managerial duties to Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group and its founder David "Beno" Benveniste. The band recruited drummer Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian, an old school friend of Malakian's and Odadjian's who had played with Malakian in a band called Snowblind during their teens.
In early 1995, System played as "Soil" at the Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, a nightclub in Los Angeles. Shortly after the event, System of a Down made what is known as Untitled 1995 Demo Tape, which was not commercially released but appeared on file sharing networks around the time of the band's success with Toxicity about six years later. Demo Tape 2 was released in 1996. At the beginning of 1997, System of a Down recorded their final publicly released demo tape, Demo Tape 3. In mid-1997, drummer Khachaturian left the band because of a hand injury (he subsequently co-founded The Apex Theory, which included former Soil bassist Dave Hakopyan). Khachaturian was replaced by John Dolmayan.
The band's first official release of a professionally recorded song was on a collection called Hye Enk ("we're Armenian" in English), an Armenian Genocide recognition compilation, in 1997. Soon after playing at notable Hollywood clubs such as the Whisky-A-Go-Go and Viper Room the band caught famed producer Rick Rubin's attention who asked them to keep in touch with him. Showing great interest, the group recorded Demo Tape 4 near the end of 1997. Unlike the previous demo tapes, however, Demo Tape 4 was made only to be sent to record companies (although it has since been leaked onto the internet). Rubin signed the group onto his American/Columbia Records, and System of a Down began to record in Rubin's studio with engineer Sylvia Massy, laying down tracks that would eventually be released on their debut album.
Also in 1997, the group won the Best Signed Band Award from the Rock City Awards.
In June 1998, System of a Down released their debut album, System of a Down. They enjoyed moderate success as their first singles "Sugar" and "Spiders" became radio favorites and the music videos for both songs were frequently aired on MTV. After the release of the album, the band toured extensively, opening for Slayer and Metallica before making their way to the second stage of Ozzfest. Following Ozzfest, they toured with Fear Factory and Incubus before headlining the Sno-Core Tour with Puya, Mr. Bungle, The Cat and Incubus providing support.
In November 1998, System of a Down appeared on South Park's Chef Aid album, providing the music for the song "Will They Die 4 You?" Near the end of the song Tankian can be heard saying, "Why must we kill our own kind?" a line that would later be used in the song "Boom!" Although System of a Down is credited on the album, South Park character Chef does not introduce them as he does every other artist featured on the record.
System of a Down's former drummer, Ontronik Khachaturian, briefly reunited with the band at a show at The Troubadour in 1999, filling in on vocals for an ill Tankian. In 2000, the band contributed their cover of the Black Sabbath song "Snowblind" to the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black 2.
On September 3, 2001, System of a Down had planned on launching their second album at a free concert in Hollywood as a "thank you" to fans. The concert, which was to be held in a parking lot, was set up to accommodate 3,500 people; however, an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 fans showed up. Because of the large excess number of fans, the performance was cancelled by police officers just before the group took the stage. No announcement was made that the concert had been cancelled. Fans waited for more than an hour for the group to appear, but when a banner hanging at the back of the stage that read "System of a Down" was removed by security, the audience rushed the stage, destroying all the band's touring gear (approximately $30,000 worth of equipment) and began to riot, throwing rocks at police, breaking windows, and knocking over portable toilets. The riot lasted six hours, during which six arrests were made. The band's manager, David "Beno" Benveniste, later said that the riot could have been avoided if the group had been permitted to perform or had they been allowed to make a statement at the concert regarding the cancellation. System of a Down's scheduled in-store performance the next day was cancelled to prevent a similar riot.
The group's big break arrived when their second album, Toxicity, debuted at No. 1 on the American and Canadian charts, despite the events of 9/11. The album has eventually achieved 3x multi-platinum certification in the United States It was still on top in America during the week of the 9/11 attacks and the political environment caused by the attacks added to the controversy surrounding the album's hit single "Chop Suey!" The song was taken off the radio as it contained politically sensitive lyrics according to the 2001 Clear Channel memorandum at the time such as "(I don't think you) trust in my self-righteous suicide." Regardless, the video gained constant play on MTV as did the album's second single, "Toxicity". Even with the controversy surrounding "Chop Suey!" (which earned a Grammy nomination), System of a Down still received constant airplay in the United States throughout late 2001 and 2002 with "Toxicity" and "Aerials". In May 2006, VH1 listed "Toxicity" in the number 14 slot in the 40 Greatest Metal Songs.
In 2001, the band went on tour with Slipknot throughout the United States and Mexico. Following a performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Odadjian was allegedly harassed, ethnically intimidated, and was physically assaulted by security guards backstage, who then dragged him out of the venue. Odadjian received medical attention from police and later filed a suit against the security company. Despite the incident, the tour was a success and System of a Down and Slipknot went on the Pledge of Allegiance Tour with Rammstein in 2001.
In late 2001, unreleased tracks from the Toxicity sessions made their way onto the internet. This collection of tracks was dubbed Toxicity II by fans. The group released a statement that the tracks were unfinished material and subsequently released the final versions of the songs as their third album, Steal This Album!, which was released in November 2002. Steal This Album! resembled a burnable CD that was marked with a felt-tip marker. 50,000 special copies of the album with different CD designs were also released, each designed by a different member of the band. The name of the album is a reference to Abbie Hoffman's counter-culture book, Steal This Book as well as a message to those who leaked the songs onto the internet. The song "Innervision" was released as a promo single and received constant airplay on alternative radio. A video for "Boom!" was filmed with director Michael Moore as a protest against the War in Iraq.
Between 2004 and 2005, the group recorded the follow-up to Steal This Album!, a double album, which they released as separate installments six months apart from each other. The releases notably included album cover artwork by Malakian's father, Vartan Malakian, and were designed to connect the two separate album covers. The first album, Mezmerize, was released on May 17, 2005 to favorable reviews by critics. It debuted at No. 1 in the United States, Canada, Australia and all around the world, making it System of A Down's second No. 1 album. First week sales rocketed to over 800,000 copies worldwide. The Grammy Award-winning single "B.Y.O.B.", which questions the integrity of military recruiting in America, worked its way up the Billboard Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. The next single, "Question!" was released with Shavo Odadjian co-directing the music video. Following the release of Mezmerize, the band toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada with The Mars Volta and Bad Acid Trip supporting.
The second part of the double album, Hypnotize, was released on November 22, 2005. Like Mezmerize, it debuted at No. 1 in the US, making System of a Down, along with The Beatles, Guns N' Roses, and rappers 2Pac and DMX, the only artists to ever have two studio albums debut at No. 1 in the same year. In February 2006, System of a Down won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "B.Y.O.B.", beating out other established artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Robert Plant. Their second single off the Hypnotize album, "Lonely Day" was released in March in the United States. System of a Down released "Kill Rock 'N Roll" and "Vicinity of Obscenity" as their next promo singles. The band headlined Ozzfest 2006 in cities where tour founder Ozzy Osbourne opted not to appear or was not playing on the main stage (with the exception of the show at Randall's Island, where Ozzy Osbourne headlined the second stage before System of a Down's performance that night).
Whereas on System of a Down's previous albums most of the lyrics were written and sung by Tankian and the music was co-written by Tankian and Malakian (and sometimes Odadjian), much of the music and lyrics on Mezmerize/Hypnotize were written by Malakian who also took on a much more dominant role as vocalist on both albums, often leaving Tankian providing keyboards and backing vocals.
May 2006 saw the UK publication of a biography of the band entitled System of a Down: Right Here in Hollywood by writer Ben Myers. It was published in the US in 2007 through The Disinformation Company. Also in 2006, concert footage and interviews with the band concerning the importance of helping create awareness and recognition of the Armenian Genocide were featured in the film Screamers, directed by Carla Garapedian. An interview with Tankian's grandfather, a survivor of the Genocide, was also included in the film as well as Tankian's and Dolmayan's meeting with (then) Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert during which the two musicians campaigned for the United States government's official recognition of the Genocide. Footage of Tankian and Dolmayan marching with protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C. was also used in Screamers.
In May also, the band announced they were going on hiatus. Malakian confirmed the break would probably last a few years, which Odadjian specified as a minimum of three years in an interview with Guitar magazine. He told MTV, "We're not breaking up. If that was the case, we wouldn't be doing this Ozzfest. We're going to take a very long break after Ozzfest and do our own things. We've done System for over ten years, and I think it's healthy to take some rest." System of a Down's final performance before their separation took place on August 13, 2006 in West Palm Beach, Florida. "Tonight will be the last show we play for a long time together," Malakian told the crowd during Sunday's last performance. "We'll be back. We just don't know when."
During the band's hiatus, Malakian formed a band called Scars on Broadway, which was joined by Dolmayan. After one self-titled album the project became dormant and Dolmayan left the band. However, the band released their long-awaited sophomore album in 2018, under the name Daron Malakian and Scars On Broadway. Dolmayan, alongside working with Scars on Broadway, formed his own band, Indicator, as well as opened Torpedo Comics, an online comic book store. Odadjian pursued his project with RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, a hip-hop group named AcHoZeN, worked on his urSESSION website/record label, and performed as a member of funk legend George Clinton's backing band. Tankian opted for solo career and released his debut solo album Elect the Dead in the autumn of 2007. He has continued releasing solo albums, recording them almost entirely by himself, after System of a Down reunited.
On November 29, 2010, following several weeks of Internet rumors, System of a Down officially announced that they would be reuniting for a string of large European festival dates in June 2011. Among the announced tour dates included UK's Download Festival, Switzerland's Greenfield Festival, Germany's Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, Sweden's Metaltown, Austria's Nova Rock Festival and Finland's Provinssirock. The reunion tour commenced on May 10, 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta. System's first tour through Mexico and South America began on September 28, 2011 in Mexico City, ending in Santiago (Chile) on October 7, 2011. From late February to early March 2012, they headlined five dates at Soundwave festival. This was the band's first visit to Australia since 2005. The band have continued playing around the world. On August 11 and 12, 2012, they played the Heavy MTL and Heavy T.O. music festivals in Montreal and Toronto, respectively. In August 2013 System of a Down played at the UK's Reading and Leeds Festivals, among other festivals and venues that year.
System of a Down played their only 2013 US performance at the Hollywood Bowl on July 29; tickets sold out hours after going on sale on March 22.
On November 23, 2014, System of a Down announced the Wake Up The Souls Tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The tour included a free concert in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia on April 23, 2015, their first show in the country.
In a November 2016 interview with Kerrang!, drummer John Dolmayan revealed that System of a Down was working on more than a dozen songs for their follow-up to the Mezmerize and Hypnotize albums. Although he stated that the band does not know when the album will be released, he added that, "I want everyone on board and feeling good about it. That's what we're trying to accomplish right now. There's a tremendous amount of pressure on us, though, because it's been 11 years—at least 12 by the time it comes out."
In a video Q&A session with fans on July 2, 2017, Shavo Odadjian was asked about the status of the next album, and he responded, "I'm waiting for a new album too. It's not happening. I don't know. I don't know when it's gonna be. Not right now." In a December 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Serj Tankian said that System of a Down wrote some new material but was uncertain of what to do with it. He then said that he doesn't want to commit to a new album due to the lack of committing to longform touring.
In an April 2018 interview, Daron Malakian said that the band did not abandon the idea of making new material. While talking about his solo project in May 2018, he made a passing mention that System of a Down is not making any music at the moment. When speaking to Ted Stryker of KROQ-FM in June 2018, Dolmayan said that he is ready to start work on the next album, but that "certain members of my band haven’t been able to make it work for themselves." He then expressed uncertainty on if it would ever be made.
Shortly afterwards, Malakian singled Tankian out as the reason no new album had yet been released. In a post on Facebook, Tankian detailed his view of the band's past and present conflicts and their overall situation, saying "[A]s we couldn’t see eye to eye on all these points we decided to put aside the idea of a record altogether for the time being." Dolmayan then blamed all the members of the band due to the personal and creative differences that have been preventing them from recording a new studio album. Tankian also expressed uncertainty on if the new album would be made or not, but did not rule out the possibility. He then described on how the sound would be, "It's gotta be organic, it's gotta feel right in every way."
Odadjian said that the band has material written from "like the last 10, 12 years", but is uncertain on if it would form into a System of a Down album or not. He also says that Malakian and Tankian have visual differences on what the album should sound like, and that the band's inner tension have been building far longer than fans would be aware of, despite having love and respect for one another nonetheless. He would later say that there is no conflict between the members, expressing confidence that System of a Down would eventually record a new album, and claims that they have material written which would be their best to date. However, Tankian stated that there was no talk of the band recording a new album.
Malakian explained that there is a mixture between the matter of different creative perspectives for the band's hesitation to record a new studio album and the lack of desire to tour; however he did not dismiss the possibility of an album being made, but that it would likely not happen anytime soon. He feels like the fans don't care that the band isn't making an album, "but I think a lot of the fans just want an album." He expressed hopes that the members would get together and record new music, but is content with the direction of his band Scars on Broadway, noting about the members' good friendship, "But at the same time, I don't see that happening anytime soon that we're all going to get together and make a new System of a Down album." Malakian would later say that Tankian and the rest of the band members have been unable to come to an agreement over how to go about making new music, but insists that there is no negativity between them.
System of a Down's lyrics are often oblique or dadaist, and have discussed topics such as drug abuse, politics and sexual intercourse. "Prison Song" criticizes the War on Drugs whereas Rolling Stone describes "Roulette" as a "scared, wounded love letter". "Boom!", among the band's most straightforward and unambiguous songs, lambasts globalization and spending on bombs and armament. Commenting on the track "I-E-A-I-A-I-O", drummer John Dolmayan said it was inspired by an encounter he had with Knight Rider's actor David Hasselhoff in a liquor store in Los Angeles when he was around 12. On Mezmerize, "Cigaro" makes explicit references to phallic imagery and bureaucracy, while "Violent Pornography" harshly views television and degradation of women. System of a Down's discontent towards the controversial Iraq War arises in "B.Y.O.B.", which includes a double entendre reference to both beer and bombs, containing the forthright lyric "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?"  "Old School Hollywood" describes a celebrity baseball game. On their album "Hypnotize", "Tentative" describes war, "Hypnotize" refers to the Tiananmen Square events and "Lonely Day" describes angst. The album title Steal This Album! is a play on the book Steal This Book by left-wing political activist Abbie Hoffman. System of a Down's firm commitment for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide emerges in two songs: "P.L.U.C.K." and "Holy Mountains", which rank among the band's most political songs.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic stated "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". System of a Down's music has variously been termed alternative metal, nu metal, hard rock, progressive metal, thrash metal, art rock and avant-garde metal. Malakian has stated that "We don't belong to any one scene" and that "I don't like the nu-metal drop-A 7-string guitar sound; it is not my thing, at least not yet." In interview with Mike Lancaster, he also said, "People always seem to feel the need to put us into a category, but we just don't fit into any category." According to Tankian, "As far as arrangement and everything, [our music] is pretty much pop. To me, System of a Down isn't a progressive band. [...] But it's not a typical pop project, obviously. We definitely pay attention to the music to make sure that it's not something someone's heard before."
The band has used a wide range of instruments, such as electric mandolins, baritone electric guitars, acoustic guitars, ouds, sitars and twelve string guitars. According to Malakian, he would often write songs in E♭ tuning, which would later be changed to drop C tuning in order to be performed by the band. Malakian states that "For me, the drop-C tuning is right down the center. It has enough of the clarity and the crisp sound—most of our riffy stuff is done on the top two strings, anyway—but it's also thicker and ballsier."
System of a Down's influences include Middle Eastern music, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Scorpions, Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary, Eazy-E, N.W.A, Run-DMC, Umm Kulthum, Abdel Halim Hafez, the Bee Gees, Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dead Kennedys, Metallica, Miles Davis, Alice In Chains, Bad Brains, Slayer, and Kiss. One reviewer claimed that their music encompasses different sounds, from sounding like "Fugazi playing Rush" to sometimes "tread[ing] close to Frank Zappa territory." Malakian has stated that "I'm a fan of music. I'm not necessarily a fan of any one band." Dolmayan stated "I don't think we sound like anybody else. I consider us System of a Down." Odadjian stated "You can compare us to whoever you want. I don't care. Comparisons and labels have no effect on this band. Fact is fact: We are who we are and they are who they are."
System of a Down has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, of which has won one in 2006 for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song "B.Y.O.B." The band has also been nominated for several Kerrang! and MTV awards.
"Aerials" is a single by the heavy metal band System of a Down. It was released in 2002 from their second album Toxicity, which earned the band its second Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2003.
The song hit number one on both the Billboard Alternative Songs and Mainstream Rock chart. It was System of a Down's first number-one hit.Alternative metal
Alternative metal (also known as alt-metal) is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock and other genres not normally associated with metal. Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavily downtuned, mid-paced guitar riffs, a mixture of accessible melodic vocals and harsh vocals and sometimes unconventional sounds within other heavy metal styles. The term has been in use since the 1980s, although it came into prominence in the 1990s.Other genres considered part of the alternative metal movement included rap metal and funk metal, both of which influenced another prominent subgenre, nu metal. Nu metal expands the alternative metal sound, combining its vocal stylings and downtuned riffs with elements of other genres, such as hip hop, funk, thrash metal, hardcore punk and industrial metal.B.Y.O.B. (song)
"B.Y.O.B." ("Bring Your Own Bombs") is a song by Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down. It was released in March 2005 as the lead single from their fourth album Mezmerize. Like their earlier song "Boom!", it was written in protest against the Iraq War. The song reached number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the band's highest peak to date on the chart.Chop Suey! (song)
"Chop Suey!" (originally, and sometimes still mistakenly called "Suicide") is the first single from Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down's second album Toxicity. The single was released in August 2001 and earned the band its first Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Metal Performance. Loudwire included the song in its list of The Best Hard Rock Songs Of The 21st Century, where it was ranked at number-one. "Chop Suey!" is often seen as the band's signature song.Daron Malakian
Daron Vartan Malakian (born July 18, 1975) is an Armenian-American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is best known as the guitarist, songwriter and second vocalist of the metal band System of a Down and as the lead vocalist, lead guitarist and songwriter of the band Scars on Broadway. Daron Malakian is known for his distinctive playing and is ranked 14th in Loudwire's list of Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time and number 11 in MusicRadar's poll, The 20 Greatest Metal Guitarists Ever. He is placed 30th in Guitar World's list of The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway
Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway (previously known as just Scars on Broadway) is an American rock band, founded by System of a Down member Daron Malakian. The band's eponymous debut album was released on July 29, 2008.
In late 2008, the band entered a hiatus, with Malakian citing a lack of enthusiasm and "his heart not being into touring", as the primary reasons for the band's cessation. Despite reforming with various line-up changes in 2010 and 2012, and announcing a second album, the band ceased any further announcements by 2013. In April 2018 Malakian announced that the band will be releasing their second album titled Dictator on July 20, 2018.Dracula 2000 (soundtrack)
Dracula 2000: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture is the first soundtrack compilation that's based on the film, Dracula 2000. It was released on December 12, 2000 through Sony Records. The soundtrack contains music from heavy rock/metal artists, including Pantera, Disturbed, Powerman 5000, Godhead with Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Linkin Park, Taproot, Hed Planet Earth, Saliva, and many more. The soundtrack also contains songs from their previous studio albums.Hypnotize (album)
Hypnotize is the fifth studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down. It was released on November 22, 2005, six months after the release of its companion album Mezmerize. Mezmerize and Hypnotize both debuted at number #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, making the band one of the few to achieve this with two albums in the same year. Hypnotize is the band's most recent studio album to date.John Dolmayan
John Dolmayan (born July 15, 1973) is an American-Armenian musician, songwriter and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of System of a Down. Dolmayan is also the drummer for the band Indicator and former drummer for Scars on Broadway. Loudwire listed him as one of the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Drummers of All Time, with Dolmayan being ranked at number 31.Mezmerize (album)
Mezmerize is the fourth studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on May 17, 2005 by American Recordings and Columbia Records. Upon its release, the album received widespread acclaim from critics.Ontronik Khachaturian
Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian (born May 4, 1975) is an American musician, producer and DJ. He is known for being the original drummer (1993–1997) of metal band System of a Down and founder/lead vocalist (1999–2002) of the alt-progressive rock band The Apex Theory, as well as the member of his band VoKee.Serj Tankian
Serj Tankian (Armenian: [ˈsɛɾʒ tʰɑnˈkjɑn]; born August 21, 1967) is an Armenian-American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet and political activist. He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, and occasional live rhythm guitarist of the band System of a Down, formed in 1994.During his musical career, Tankian has released five albums with System of a Down, one with Arto Tunçboyacıyan (Serart), as well as the five solo albums Elect the Dead, Imperfect Harmonies, Harakiri, Orca, and Jazz-Iz-Christ. A live orchestral version of Elect the Dead incorporating the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra named Elect the Dead Symphony was released. In 2002, Tankian and Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello co-founded a non-profit political activist organization, Axis of Justice. Tankian also founded the music label Serjical Strike Records, and is represented by Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group under System of a Down. On August 12, 2011, Tankian was awarded the Armenian Prime Minister's Medal for his contributions to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the advancement of music.He is widely considered and ranked as one of the greatest vocalists in metal history, with praise given to his unusual delivery and his wide vocal range. Serj Tankian is currently listed as one of the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, ranked at number 26. A study conducted by VVN Music found Tankian to possess a moderately-high and diverse vocal range, not only in metal, but in all of popular music, with a range of 4.2 octaves. This range is comparable to Rob Halford, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Anthony Kiedis, Hansi Kürsch, and Steven Tyler (range of four octaves and one note).Shavo Odadjian
Shavarsh "Shavo" Odadjian (Armenian: Շավարշ "Շավո" Օդաջյան; born April 22, 1974) is an Armenian-American musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, music video director, and painter. He is best known as the bassist, backing vocalist and occasional songwriter of the Grammy Award-winning metal band System of a Down. During the band's hiatus from 2006 to 2010, Odadjian collaborated with Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA on a project called AcHoZeN, which contributed a number of songs to the motion picture Babylon A.D. A compilation album was released in 2015. Odadjian is also credited with the musical scoring of the film, alongside The Rza and Hans Zimmer. He originally used Gibson Thunderbird basses, a Fender Jazz Bass, an Ibanez BTB bass guitar, and a Music Man StingRay, but has since moved on to Warwick basses.Steal This Album!
Steal This Album! is the third studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on November 26, 2002 by American Recordings and Columbia Records. Produced by Rick Rubin and Daron Malakian, the album peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard 200.Sugar (System of a Down song)
"Sugar" is a song by Armenian American heavy metal band System of a Down. It was released as a single and EP in May 1998 and was taken from their album System of a Down (1998).System of a Down (album)
System of a Down is the debut studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on June 30, 1998, by American Recordings and Columbia Records. The album was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on February 2, 2000. Two years later, after the success of System of a Down's next album, Toxicity, the album was certified platinum.System of a Down discography
System of a Down is an American rock band formed by musicians of Armenian origin: vocalist Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan in the mid-1990s. They have released five studio albums, 16 singles, and 11 music videos. By the end of 1997, the group had signed to American Recordings, then distributed as Columbia Records. The following year, they released their eponymous debut album, which peaked at #124 on the United States' Billboard 200 and #103 on the United Kingdom's UK Albums Chart; it was certified platinum two years later by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and gold by Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Their eponymous debut album produced a single for the song "Sugar", which reached the top 30 on the Billboard mainstream rock songs and alternative songs charts. Their follow-up album, Toxicity (2001), topped the US and Canadian charts, and also reached the top 10 in Australia, Finland, and New Zealand. The album was certified triple platinum in its home country, and triple platinum in Australia by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), as well as double platinum by CRIA in Canada. Toxicity produced singles for the title track, "Chop Suey!", and "Aerials". The last of these peaked at number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs and Alternative Songs charts.Steal This Album! (2002) failed to repeat the same success as its predecessor, reaching the top 20 in only the US and Australia. Three years later, the group produced a double album, with the two sections released six months apart. The first, entitled Mezmerize, was released in early 2005; it peaked at number one in nine countries, and certified triple platinum in Canada, platinum in the US and Australia. This album's first single, "B.Y.O.B.", peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 26 on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, "Question!", reached the top 40 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Later that year, the group released the second part, Hypnotize. Like its predecessor, the album peaked at number one in the US, Canadian, Finnish, and New Zealand charts. System of a Down is the first band since The Beatles to release two chart-topping albums in the US in the same year. Hypnotize was certified platinum in US, and gold in Australia, Germany, and Switzerland. It produced two singles, the title track and "Lonely Day", which reached No. 4 and No. 16 on the Finnish chart, respectively. In 2006, the group went on a hiatus, and since then, all members had begun work on side projects. A reunion was announced on November 29, 2010, and according to drummer John Dolmayan, there may be a new album.Toxicity (album)
Toxicity is the second studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on September 4, 2001 by American Recordings and Columbia Records. Featuring the heaviness and aggression of their 1998 eponymous debut, it features more melody, harmonies, and singing than the band's aforementioned album. Categorized primarily as alternative metal and nu metal, Toxicity features elements of multiple genres including folk, progressive rock, jazz, Armenian music, and Greek music, including prominent use of instruments such as the sitar, banjo, keyboards, and piano. It contains a wide array of political and non-political themes, such as mass incarceration, the CIA, the environment, group sex, drug addiction, and groupies.
Toxicity was recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood, California. Over thirty songs were recorded, but the band narrowed the number of songs on the album to fourteen. The album peaked at number one on both the Billboard 200 and the Canadian Albums Chart, sold 220,000 copies in its first week of release, was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in November 2002, and has sold at least 2,700,000 copies in the United States. All of Toxicity's singles reached the Billboard Hot 100. The final single, "Aerials", went to number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts. Toxicity received mainly positive ratings and reviews from critics, among them perfect ratings from AllMusic, Kerrang!, and Blabbermouth.net. Many critics praised the album's sound and innovation.
The promotional shows for Toxicity resulted in a number of controversial incidents. A six-hour riot ensued at a free concert in Hollywood the day before the album's release as a result of the show's cancellation due to an overcrowded show; the crowd in attendance was estimated to be at least twice the size which was expected. Another scheduled System of a Down performance was cancelled to prevent a similar riot, and the band then toured with Slipknot. Bassist Shavo Odadjian was harassed, ethnically insulted, and physically beaten by guards when he tried to enter backstage at a concert in October 2001. Regardless, the tour was successful, and System of a Down later co-headlined a leg of Slipknot's Iowa World Tour.Toxicity (song)
"Toxicity" is a single by Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down, released in 2002. It was originally released on the album of the same name. The writing credit for the song is Malakian/Odadjian/Tankian. It is known for its dynamic chorus, aggressive vocals, and prominent drum beat. The song is predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/4, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/4 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part ("somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep") makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge. The song was ranked number 14 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs, and was called a nu metal classic by Stylus Magazine.
System of a Down