System of a Down was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1995. Mostly due to word of mouth, they gained popularity in the Los Angeles area, and soon a demo began to circulate, not only gaining fans in America, but also Europe and even New Zealand.
The band signed to then American/Columbia records, and released their self-titled debut album in 1998, produced by Rick Rubin. The album eventually went gold, after the band went on tour with Incubus, Slayer, and even toured on the stage of Ozzfest, and set up the 2001 release of Toxicity
, a more ambitious album than their first. Toxicity
enjoyed major success for the group, going multi-platinum and dwarfing the competition.
The next year, in November, System released their third album, Steal This Album!
, after some unreleased tracks found their way onto the internet. The band released an official statement saying that those songs downloaded were unfinished, and the band re-recorded these songs, creating Steal This Album!
. In addition to this CD not having a booklet, 50,000 special copies with different disc designs were issued, each one designed by a different member of the band. The whole disc is a reference to Steal This Book
, a counter-culture Abbie Hoffman release. Michael Moore
directed the music video for “Boom!” as a protest to the war in Iraq.
System of a Down spent the majority of 2004 in the studio with Rick Rubin, which led to an epic two-part album. The first part, Mezmerize
, released in May of 2005, and Hypnotize
, the second part, hitting stores November of that same year. The two CD’s had the trademark creativity, lyrical emotion, and untamed vocal tracks that the previous albums featured.
- Serj Tankian - Vocals, keyboards
- Daron Malakian - Guitar, vocals
- Shavo Odadjian - Bass
- John Dolmayan - Drums
- Andy Khachaturian - Drums
- System of a Down 
- Toxicity 
- Steal This Album! 
- Mezmerize [May 2005]
- Hypnotize [November 2005]