System of a Down

Last updated

System of a Down
SOADJONESBEACH.jpg
System of a Down performing in Wantagh, New York in 2012
Background information
Also known as
  • SOAD
  • System
Origin Glendale, California, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 1994–2006
  • 2010–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website systemofadown.com
Members
Past members Andy Khachaturian

System of a Down (SOAD), or simply System, 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). [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Glendale, California City in California, United States

Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,167, making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 23rd-largest city in California. It is located about 8 mi (13 km) north of downtown Los Angeles.

Serj Tankian American musician

Serj Tankian is a Lebanese-born 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.

Contents

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 came together again in 2010, embarking on a tour for the following three years. System of a Down has sold over 40 million records worldwide, and their singles "Aerials" and "Hypnotize" have both reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

B.Y.O.B. (song) System of a Down song

"B.Y.O.B." 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.

The Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance was an award presented to recording artists at the Grammy Awards until 2011.

History

Soil (1992–94)

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. [2] 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.

Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School

Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School was founded by Alex and Rose Pilibos in 1969. This school was first known as Hollywood Armenian School and is a K-12 school. Armenian language, history and religion classes are taught in Armenian, and the rest of the classes are taught in English. The school's current principal is Ms. Maral Tavitian. The school is part of St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church.

Mt. Helium was an American metal band from Los Angeles, California, formerly known as the Apex Theory. The band has released three studio albums and three extended plays to date.

Demo tapes and signing (1994–97)

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". [3] 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. [4] 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. [3]

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group is an artist development and management company and record label located in West Hollywood, California in the United States. Its current client roster includes AFI, Alice in Chains, Billy Corgan, Blaqk Audio, Code Orange, Crosses, Deftones, Korn, Night Riots, Scars on Broadway, The Smashing Pumpkins, System of a Down, XTRMST.

Ontronik "Andy" Khachaturian 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.

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). [3] Khachaturian was replaced by John Dolmayan.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known colloquially by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

<i>Toxicity</i> (album) album by System of a Down

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 the overpopulation of prisons, the CIA, the environment, group sex, drug addiction, and groupies.

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.

Armenian Genocide systematic killing of Armenians residing in the Ottoman Empire

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens within the Ottoman Empire. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople to the region of Ankara 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.

Rick Rubin American music producer

Frederick Jay Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Run-DMC, Rubin helped popularize hip hop music.

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos; also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists ; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information.

Also in 1997, the group won the Best Signed Band Award from the Rock City Awards. [5]

Self-titled album (1998–2000)

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. [3] In 2000, the band contributed their cover of the Black Sabbath song "Snowblind" to the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black 2.

Toxicity and Steal This Album! (2001–03)

Guitarist Daron Malakian met Serj Tankian for the first time in 1993 before forming the band a year later. Daron Malakian 1.jpg
Guitarist Daron Malakian met Serj Tankian for the first time in 1993 before forming the band a year later.

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. [6] [7]

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 [8] 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. [9] 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. [10] 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.

Mezmerize, Hypnotize and separation (2004–06)

Serj Tankian has gained a reputation for his large vocal range along with his unusual delivery. Serj Tankian.jpg
Serj Tankian has gained a reputation for his large vocal range along with his unusual delivery.

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. [11] 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.

System of a Down's song "Lonely Day" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance in the 49th Grammy Awards in 2007, but lost to "Woman" by Wolfmother.

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." [12] 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." [13]

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.

Reunion and touring (2010–15)

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. [14] 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. [15] 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. [16] From late February to early March 2012, they headlined five dates at Soundwave festival. [17] 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. [18] In August 2013 System of a Down played at the UK's Reading and Leeds Festivals, among other festivals and venues that year. [19]

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. [20]

Possible sixth studio album (2016–present)

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." [21]

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." [22] 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. [23]

In an April 2018 interview, Daron Malakian said that the band did not abandon the idea of making new material. [24] 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. [25] 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. [26]

Shortly afterwards, Malakian singled Tankian out as the reason no new album had yet been released. [27] 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." [28] 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. [29] 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." [30]

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. [31]

In a December 2018 interview, Odadjian said 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. [32] However, Tankian stated that there was no talk of the band recording a new album. [33]

Musical style, influences, and lyrical themes

Lyrical themes

System of a Down's lyrics are often oblique [34] or dadaist, [34] [35] and have discussed topics such as drug abuse, [34] politics [34] [36] and sexual intercourse. [34] [36] "Prison Song" criticizes the War on Drugs [37] whereas Rolling Stone describes "Roulette" as a "scared, wounded love letter". [38] "Boom!", among the band's most straightforward and unambiguous songs, lambasts globalization and spending on bombs and armament. [39] 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. [40] On Mezmerize , "Cigaro" makes explicit references to phallic imagery [41] and bureaucracy, [35] while "Violent Pornography" harshly views television [41] and degradation of women. [42] System of a Down's discontent towards the controversial Iraq War arises in "B.Y.O.B.", [35] [43] which includes a double entendre reference to both beer and bombs, [44] containing the forthright lyric "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?" [35] [41] [42] "Old School Hollywood" describes a celebrity baseball game. [42] [45] On their album "Hypnotize", "Tentative" describes war, [46] [47] "Hypnotize" refers to the Tiananmen Square events [48] [49] and "Lonely Day" describes angst. [45] The album title Steal This Album! is a play on the book Steal This Book by left-wing political activist Abbie Hoffman. [39] [50] [51] 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. [47]

Music

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". [52] System of a Down's music has variously been termed alternative metal, [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] nu metal, [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] hard rock, [62] [63] [64] progressive metal, [65] [66] [67] thrash metal, [68] [69] [70] art rock [71] [72] and avant-garde metal. [73] [71] Malakian has stated that "We don't belong to any one scene" [74] and that "I don't like the nu-metal drop-A 7-string guitar sound; it is not my thing, at least not yet." [75] 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." [76] 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." [77]

The band has used a wide range of instruments, such as electric mandolins, baritone electric guitars, acoustic guitars, ouds, sitars and twelve string guitars. [78] 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. [75] 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." [75]

Influences and comparison to other artists

System of a Down's influences include Middle Eastern music, [79] Ozzy Osbourne, [74] [79] Black Sabbath, [80] Led Zeppelin, [80] Def Leppard, [81] Scorpions, [81] Morbid Angel, [81] Death, [81] Obituary, [81] Eazy-E, [81] N.W.A, [81] Run-DMC, [81] Umm Kulthum, [81] Abdel Halim Hafez, [81] the Bee Gees, [81] Grateful Dead, [81] The Beatles, [82] Red Hot Chili Peppers, [80] Dead Kennedys, [83] Metallica, [84] Miles Davis, [84] Alice In Chains, [85] Bad Brains, [83] Slayer, [79] [86] and Kiss. [87] One reviewer claimed that their music encompasses different sounds, from sounding like "Fugazi playing Rush" to sometimes "tread[ing] close to Frank Zappa territory." [88] Malakian has stated that "I'm a fan of music. I'm not necessarily a fan of any one band." [89] Dolmayan stated "I don't think we sound like anybody else. I consider us System of a Down." [90] 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." [90]

Awards and nominations

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.

Members

Current members
Former members
Occasional contributors
Timeline
System of a Down

Discography

Studio albums

Related Research Articles

Shavo Odadjian American musician

Shavarsh "Shavo" Odadjian 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.

John Dolmayan Lebanese-born Armenian–American songwriter and drummer

John Dolmayan is an American 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.

<i>Steal This Album!</i> studio album by System of a Down

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.

<i>System of a Down</i> (album) album by System of a Down

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.

Daron Malakian Armenian-American guitarist

Daron Vartan Malakian born in Hollywood, California, 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 heavy 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 40th 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.

<i>Hypnotize</i> (album) album by System of a Down

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 as of 2019.

<i>Mezmerize</i> (album) 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.

Toxicity (song) System of a Down 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 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.

Question! single

"Question!" is a song by Armenian American metal band System of a Down. It was released in July 2005 as the second single of their fourth album Mezmerize.

Lonely Day System of a Down song

"Lonely Day" is the second single from the 2005 album Hypnotize by Armenian American metal band System of a Down. It was written by guitarist Daron Malakian, who also provides lead vocals on this track. The song received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

System of a Down discography 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.

Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway American metal band

Daron Malakian and 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.

Rebellion (song) Linkin Park song

"Rebellion" is a song by American rock band Linkin Park. The song was originally recorded by the band for their sixth studio album, The Hunting Party, where it appears as the eighth track on the album. The song features Armenian-American multi-instrumentalist Daron Malakian from rock band System of a Down, who plays additional guitar on the track. The track was released as the fourth official single from The Hunting Party on June 4, 2014 and was later released on American rock radio on October 13, 2014.

<i>Screamers</i> (2006 film) 2006 film by Carla Garapedian

Screamers is a 2006 documentary film directed by Carla Garapedian, conceived by Peter McAlevey and Garapedian and produced by McAlevey. The film explores why genocides have occurred in modern day history and features talks from Serj Tankian, lead vocalist of the American alternative metal band System of a Down, whose grandfather is an Armenian Genocide survivor, as well as from human-rights activist, journalist, and professor, Samantha Power, as well as various other people involved with genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Screamers also examines genocide denial in current-day Turkey, and the neutral trend that the United States generally holds towards genocide.

<i>Elect the Dead</i> album

Elect the Dead is the debut album by rock musician Serj Tankian, lead singer and founding member of Armenian-American metal quartet System of a Down. It was released on October 22, 2007. Alongside Tankian appears Armenian-American coloratura Ani Maldjian, drummers John Dolmayan from System of a Down and Bryan "Brain" Mantia of Primus and Guns N' Roses' Dan Monti on guitars, as well as a string section featuring Antonio Pontarelli.

<i>Scars on Broadway</i> (album) album by Scars on Broadway

Scars on Broadway is the first studio album by Scars on Broadway, a band consisting of System of a Down members Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan. The album contains fifteen tracks, all written by Malakian.

Franky Perez is a Hispanic American musician best known as a solo artist, singer of Finnish Cello-based rock band Apocalyptica, and as former guitarist for Scars on Broadway. He has released three solo albums, Poor Man's Son, My 4th of July and Addict, and performed with Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash in his live band before Slash assembled the touring band that backed him during his first full solo tour with Myles Kennedy. Perez has also collaborated with Slash's VR bandmate Dave Kushner, releasing songs under the pseudonym of DKFXP, as well as the virtual band Pusher Jones, contributing the song "Count Me Out" to The Avengers soundtrack.

The Charade (Serj Tankian song) 2010 single by Serj Tankian

"The Charade" is a song by musician Serj Tankian. The single was released prior to Elect the Dead Symphony, although the rock version was found only in the album's DVD closing credits. The orchestral version featured on the album's CD is included in the single as a B-side on some versions.

References

  1. McKenna, Dave (May 13, 2005). "System of a Down: Some Very Heavy Metal". The Washington Post . Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  2. Meyers, Ben. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood (2007), p. 14.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "OnTroniK: System of a Down Information". Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  4. "Interview With David 'Beno' Benveniste". lamusicblog.com. March 13, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  5. "Rock City Awards 1997". rockcitynews.com. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  6. Rogers, Paul (2018-03-02). "The Wraith's Dark Punk Isn't All Doom and Gloom". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  7. RAMOS, GEORGE; BOUCHER, GEOFF (2001-09-05). "Police Blame Promoter for Riot at Concert". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  8. "RIAA album certifications: System of a Down - Toxicity" . Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  9. Kaufman, Gil (March 10, 2003). "System Of A Down Bassist Sues Security Team For Humiliating Him In Front Of Fans". MTV. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  10. Mike Lancaster (March 28, 2003). "The Daron Malakian Interview". Glendale High School Newspaper-the Explosion. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  11. "System Of A Down Make It A Double With Chart-Topping Hypnotize". MTV News. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  12. Harris, Chris (May 3, 2006). "System of a Down Aren't Breaking Up—They're Going on Hiatus". MTV News. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  13. "West Palm Beach, FL — August 13, 2006 Review". soadfans.com. July 13, 2006. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  14. Karan, Tim (November 29, 2010). "System Of A Down to reunite, headline Download Festival". Alternative Press . Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  15. ChartAttack Staff (March 1, 2011). "System Of A Down Announce North American Dates With Gogol Bordello". ChartAttack . Archived from the original on March 4, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  16. "System Of A Down". www.systemofadown.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  17. "Soundwave Festival 2012". Soundwavefestival.com. Archived from the original on August 12, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  18. "Heavy TO and Heavy MTL Return with System of a Down, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Cancer Bats, High on Fire". exclaim.ca. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  19. System Of A Down, Fall Out Boy, Foals and more confirmed for 2013! Archived June 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  20. Young, Alex (November 25, 2014). "System of a Down reunite for "Wake Up the Souls" tour". Consequenceofsound.net. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  21. Kissel, Chris. "Serj Tankian Goes Symphonic — Then It's Back to System of a Down". LA Weekly . Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  22. Geslani, Michelle. "System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian says a new album is "not happening"". Consequence of Sound . Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  23. Grow, Kory. "Serj Tankian Talks New Film Scores, Chris Cornell, What's Next For System of a Down". Rolling Stone . Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  24. Grow, Kory. "System of a Down Guitarist Talks First Solo Music in Eight Years". Rolling Stone . Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  25. "DARON MALAKIAN: "I HAVE A LOT OF MUSIC THAT'S STILL TO BE RELEASED IN THE FUTURE"". Kerrang! . Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  26. wookubus. "John Dolmayan On New System Of A Down Album: "I Don't Know If It's Ever Gonna Happen At This Point"". theprp.com. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  27. Wiederhorn, Jon. "System of a Down's Daron Malakian: Band Remains at Frustrating Creative Impasse With Serj Tankian". Loudwire . Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  28. "SERJ TANKIAN Opens Up About Business And Creative Differences That Are Standing In Way Of New SYSTEM OF A DOWN Music". Blabbermouth.net . Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  29. "SYSTEM OF A DOWN Drummer Says All Members Of Band Are To Blame For Lack Of New Music". Blabbermouth.net . Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  30. Baltin, Steve. "Incubus' Brandon Boyd And System Of A Down's Serj Tankian Open Up On Fame, Music, Touring And More". Forbes . Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  31. "Tuesday, October 9th with guest: System of A Down's Shavo Odadjian". KROQ-FM . Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  32. Kaufman, Spencer. "System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian: "We Have Material That Tops Everything We've Done"". Consequence of Sound . Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  33. Grow, Kory. "Serj Tankian on Writing 'Requiem Music,' System of a Down's Creative Stalemate". Rolling Stone . Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  34. 1 2 3 4 5 Rivadavia, Eduardo (September 4, 2001). "Toxicity - System of a Down". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  35. 1 2 3 4 Begrand, Adrien. "System of a Down: Mezmerize". PopMatters.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  36. 1 2 Loftus, Johnny (May 17, 2005). "Mezmerize - System of a Down". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  37. Sinclair, Tom (January 17, 2015). "System of a Down". EW.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  38. "Rolling Stone : System of a Down: Steal This Album : Music Reviews". Web.archive.org. November 19, 2002. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  39. 1 2 "NME Reviews - System Of A Down : Steal this Album". Nme.com. September 12, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  40. Hartmann, Graham (July 14, 2014). "System of a Down's John Dolmayan Reveals Lyrical Inspiration for 'I-E-A-I-A-I-O'". Loudwire . Townsquare Media . Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  41. 1 2 3 Sinclair, Tom. "Mezmerize". EW.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  42. 1 2 3 "System of a Down: Mezmerize / Hypnotize | Album Reviews". Pitchfork.com. November 21, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  43. "Rolling Stone : System of a Down: Mezmerize : Music Reviews". Web.archive.org. June 2, 2005. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  44. "Picks and Pans Review: System of a Down". People.com. June 27, 2005. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  45. 1 2 Begrand, Adrien. "System of a Down: Hypnotize". PopMatters.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  46. "USATODAY.com - System of a Down zooms way up with 'Hypnotize'". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. November 21, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  47. 1 2 "System of a Down: Hypnotize : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Web.archive.org. November 17, 2005. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  48. "System Of A Down - Hypnotize - Review". Stylusmagazine.com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  49. "System of a Down: Hypnotize". PopMatters. 2005-11-21. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  50. "System's Stolen Tracks Compiled On Steal This Album". MTV.com. October 16, 2002. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  51. Milner, Greg (June 20, 2003). "System of a Down, 'Steal This Album!' Review". Spin.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  52. 1 2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography of System of a Down". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  53. Web Dept (April 8, 2011). "Choose System of a Down's Set List This Summer". Revolver . Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  54. Lipshutz, Jason (April 8, 2011). "System Of A Down, Deftones Team For Summer Tour". Billboard . Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  55. Grierson, Tim. "Top 10 Rock Albums of the '00s". About.com. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  56. Sciaretto, Amy (July 28, 2003). "Loud Rock". CMJ New Music Report (824): 23. ISSN   0006-2510.
  57. Udo, Tommy (2002). Brave Nu World. Sanctuary Publishing. pp. 183–185, 242. ISBN   1-86074-415-X.
  58. Weisbard, Eric, ed. (2004). This is Pop: in Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project. Harvard University Press. p. 220. ISBN   0-674-01344-1.
  59. Unterberger, Andrew (September 10, 2004). "Top Ten Nu-Metal Bands". Stylus Magazine . Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  60. Grebey, James (April 23, 2015). "Watch System of a Down's Full First-Ever Concert in Armenia". Spin . Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  61. Bella, Sarah (August 1, 2013). "Serj Tankian Nixes Talk of New System of a Down Album". Music Feeds . Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  62. Hogan, Marc (July 31, 2013). "System of a Down Hint at New Album After Denying Internal Drama". Spin. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  63. "System Of A Down To Headline Ozzfest". Billboard. January 29, 2002. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  64. "Lullaby Versions Of SYSTEM OF A DOWN Due This Week". Blabbermouth.net. October 21, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  65. Serpick, Evan (December 15, 2005). "System of a Down — Prog-metal Radicals". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  66. Cridlin, Jay (June 24, 2010). "System of a Down's Serj Tankian coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg". Tampa Bay Times . Archived from the original on February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  67. Harris, Chris (May 25, 2005). "System Of A Down Top Billboard With Mezmerize". MTV News . Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  68. "System of a Down set for NZ show". The New Zealand Herald. October 25, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  69. "System of a Down". Guitar Techniques. December 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  70. Boughen, Brendan (August 31, 2003). "Serart". The Phantom Tollbooth. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  71. 1 2 "Archive Biography". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07.
  72. Christgau, Robert. "Reviews of System of a Down" . Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  73. Harris, Chris (May 10, 2005). "System Of A Down Mezmerize NYC With Crushing 90-Minute Gig". MTV . Viacom International . Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  74. 1 2 Morse, Steve (August 26, 2005). "Pounding out a blistering attack: System of a Down lashes out at Hollywood, war, and hypocrisy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  75. 1 2 3 Perry, Megan (2004). "Daron's Guitar Tunings". Wired: musicians' home studios : tools & techniques of the musical mavericks. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 79. ISBN   0-87930-794-3.
  76. [ dead link ]
  77. DeRogatis, Jim (September 14, 2001). "They're an Armenian band". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  78. "System of a Down biography". 8notes.com. Retrieved June 26, 2006.
  79. 1 2 3 Nalbandian, Bob. "Interview with System of a Down". Shockwaves Online. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  80. 1 2 3 Liebman, Jon (January 1, 2018). "Shavarsh "Shavo" Odadjian opens up about System Of A Down". For Bass Plays Only. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  81. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Appleford, Steve (July 25, 2018). "System of a Down and Scars on Broadway's Daron Malakian: The Albums That Made Me". Revolver . Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  82. Rosen, Steven (July 6, 2018). "Daron Malakian: There Is No New System of a Down Album Planned". Ultimate-Guitar.com . Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  83. 1 2 Gabriella (November 2000). "Interview with System of a Down". NY Rock. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  84. 1 2 Alderslade, Merlin (September 4, 2016). "Serj Tankian: The 10 albums that changed my life". Metal Hammer . Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  85. Eakin, Marah (September 18, 2012). "Serj Tankian on his musical firsts and learning to love Iron Maiden". The A.V. Club . Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  86. "System of a Down's Daron Malakian on Slayer's Influence, Farewell Tour". Revolver . June 6, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  87. Chad Childers (May 11, 2012). "Serj Tankian Says System of a Down Bandmate Daron Malakian First Turned Him on to Metal". Loudwire . Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  88. Sinclair, Tom (September 3, 2001). "Review of Toxicity". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  89. "Many musical influences in System of a Down". Long Beach Press-Telegram . August 3, 2005. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  90. 1 2 "Official System of a Down MySpace". myspace.com/soad. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  91. Toxicity (booklet). System of a Down. Los Angeles: American Recordings. 2001. 86059.