System of a Down (also known by the acronym SOAD, or SoaD and often shortened as System) is an Armenian-American rock band from Southern California, formed in 1993. It consists of Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar), Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, background vocals) and John Dolmayan (drums). All four members are of Armenian descent, and are widely known for their outspoken views expressed in many of their songs confronting the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire as well as the ongoing War on Terror.
The band has achieved commercial success with the release of five studio albums. System of a Down has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and won the award in 2006 for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song BYOB. On August 13, 2006, the group went on indefinite hiatus.
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 Album Chart; it was certified platinum two years later by the RIAA. The self-titled album produced a single for the song "Sugar", which reached the top 30 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks.
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 Australia, as well as double platinum in Canada. “Toxicity” produced singles for the title track, "Chop Suey!" and "Aerials". The last of these peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks.
“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 #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, "Question!", reached the top 40 in the Ireland and United Kingdom charts.
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 #4 and #16 in 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, but it is unclear if the band will record new material.