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. Here are all of System of a Down’s albums ranked.
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5. Steal This Album! (2002)
“SOAD’s third album, and one of my personal favorites from their catalog, is a diverse ride. Perhaps more so than previous and following efforts Steal This Album epitomizes System’s sound as a whole. From the dadaist take on marketing and consumerism that opens the record to it’s emotionally charged finale the album covers every facet of the SOAD sound in its purest form. More than any selling point, however, I love this album based on how much fun it is to listen to. The majority of the tracks are super driving and bouncy in that nu-metal meets middle eastern funk vibe the band wears so well. The songs that vary from this formula also hit significantly harder here, Mr. Jack, Roulette and Ego Brain being great examples of this interplay.”
4. Hypnotize (2005)
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“While the first eight tracks of Hypnotize lack the kind of manic creativity that “BYOB” exuded, the band takes a more focused and sober approach which works especially well. However, much to our surprise, after the climactic “Holy Mountains”, the CD is derailed by three subpar songs, each sounding progressively worse than the other. The silly “Vicinity of Obscenity” completely kills the mood that “Holy Mountains” set, an exercise in Zappa-style surrealism in the same vein as Mezmerize‘s “This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I’m in the Song”, but for all of Tankian’s hollering of “Banana banana terra cotta pie!” the song sounds needlessly tacked on.”
3. Mezmerize (2005)
“Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time. Well, you will have a good time listening to ‘Mesmerize’. ‘Toxicity’ pushed SOAD’s unique combo of thrash combined with classical movement and injected with Serj’s Bowie-like, off key, sexy vocals, and ‘Mesmerize’ brings back the full impact of SOAD’s talent. ‘Steal This Album’ was a tiny bit disappointing, with the exception of ‘Streamline’, but ‘Mesmerize’ brings back the fun, the talent, the uniqueness, and the power of SOAD, along with their poignant and truthful political messages.”
2. System Of A Down (1998)
“SOAD’s debut album is considered by many fans to be their best offering. While I don’t reside in this camp I do believe it’s an excellent album, full of creative songwriting (Peephole, Darts, War?), heavy bangers (Sugar, Know, Ddevil) and surreal, almost Dadaist lyricism. The overall impact is immense, with walls of sounds both heavy and subdued fighting it out for the listener’s attention. While the dynamic interplay may not be as nuanced as future SOAD albums the record presents a very solid glimpse into the band they would eventually evolve into. Unpredictable, driving, melodic, moving, aggressive, political, off kilter, avant garde and a similar flurry of adjectives.”
1. Toxicity (2001)
“You know the album. You probably grew up listening to it. Now, you are thinking, “Should I add this to my record collection? Is it a good pressing?”. Let me tell you. “Yes! Yes!.” The nostalgia hit me like a wave. This album hits exactly where it should and continues to stand the test of time. Even if you are new to SOAD this is a wonderful introduction to their catalog and essential if you need to blow off steam or crank it up to 11.”