System of a Down (album)

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System of a Down
System of a down.jpg
Studio album by System of a Down
Released June 30, 1998
Recorded November 1997– February–March 1998
Sound City
Van Nuys, CA
Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research
Hollywood, CA
Length 40:36
Label American
System of a Down chronology
System of a Down
Singles from System of a Down
  1. "Sugar"
    Released: May 24, 1998
  2. "Spiders"
    Released: February 1999

System of a Down is the debut album by Armenian American rock band System of a Down, released in 1998. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on February 2, 2000. Two years later, after the success of Toxicity, it was certified platinum.


The cover artwork is from an anti-fascist, World War II-era poster designed by the artist John Heartfield for the Communist Party of Germany, which was contemporary with and directly against the Third Reich. The text on the original poster is: "5 fingers has a hand! With these 5 grab the enemy!" This slogan inspired part of the text contained on the back of the System of a Down album: "The hand has five fingers, capable and powerful, with the ability to destroy as well as create". Later, it is written in bold letters: "Open your eyes, open your mouths, close your hands and make a fist" (used later by Serj Tankian in the song "Uneducated Democracy").


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Q Magazine 4/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[5]
Ultimate Guitar 9.5/10 stars[6]
Drowned In Sound 5/5 stars[7]

Q magazine (10/01, p. 152) - 4 stars out of 5 - "This remains an excellent starting point for this most curious band".

The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Loudwire included the album in its list of The Best Metal Debut Albums, at number 22. [8]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Suite-Pee"   Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 2:31
2. "Know"   Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian 2:56
3. "Sugar"   Tankian Odadjian, Malakian 2:33
4. "Suggestions"   Tankian Malakian 2:44
5. "Spiders"   Tankian Malakian 3:35
6. "DDevil"   Tankian Odadjian, Malakian 1:43
7. "Soil"   Tankian Malakian 3:25
8. "War?"   Tankian Malakian 2:40
9. "Mind"   Tankian Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian 6:16
10. "Peephole"   Tankian Malakian 4:04
11. "CUBErt"   Tankian, Malakian Malakian 1:49
12. "Darts"   Tankian Malakian 2:42
13. "P.L.U.C.K." (Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers) Tankian Malakian 3:38
Total length:
Japanese Edition
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
14. "Marmalade"   Tankian Malakian 3:02
15. "Störagéd"   Tankian Malakian 1:19
Total length:
Limited Edition bonus CD
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Sugar" (Live) Tankian Odadjian, Malakian 2:27
2. "War?" (Live) Tankian Malakian 2:48
3. "Suite-Pee" (Live) Tankian Malakian 2:58
4. "Know" (Live) Tankian Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian 3:04


System of a Down


Before some of the lyrics in the booklet for the album, footnotes appear.

"Your thoughts, and dreams are no longer sacred, as they are exposed to a
weapon known as remote viewing and monitoring."

  • "DDevil" :

"For those that control the central nervous system,
control society, and the world.

  • "War?" :

"We first fought the heathens in the name of religion, then Communism, and now in
the name of drugs and terrorism. Our excuses for global domination always change."

  • "Mind" :

"Mind control technology has been used by the CIA since the 1950s as part of
their non-lethal, covert weapons program."

  • "Peephole" :

"The February 18 edition of Britain's NEW SCIENTIST Magazine reports that the
Geneva-based World Health Organization suppressed, under political pressure,
a report which confirmed that marijuana is safer than either alcohol or tobacco."

  • "Darts" :

"Why do old societies hold the pantheon of 12 gods to be true,
while modern societies generally have one God?"

  • "P.L.U.C.K." :

"System of a Down would like to dedicate this song to the memory of the 1.5
million victims of the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Turkish
Government in 1915."

Booklet message[edit]

In the booklet, underneath the band member's photos, the text reads in all capitals: "Announce your anthems on the ceiling. We dance, annexed by power. Casual neckties embrace, the hungry hunger further, images rule through the media, commercial Orwellianism, producing unveiled icebergs, running transparent electrical cables, curving string ensembles, witnessed by hangings from flagpoles of souls avenged by Dr. Clock. Fresh paint, naked melting figures mixing the revolution against T.V. sentencing, at the hands of brutal men and their military business world. Let us instigate the revolt, down with the system!" This message was also found in some of the Toxicity booklets.

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. System of a Down review. Retrieved on 2010-11-21.
  2. ^ Burgess, Aaron (September 9, 2014). "10 Nu-Metal Albums You Need to Own". Revolvermag. NewBay Media. Retrieved July 21, 2015. Technically spotless, wildly eclectic, and out-outspokenly, er, Armenian, System of a Down’s 1998 self-titled debut turned more nu-metal on its ear; and with this darker and more streamlined follow-up, the band proved that it was more than just a novelty–though spastic lead single “Chop Suey” is still one of the most awesomely bizarre songs to ever get repeated play on the radio. 
  3. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (August 13, 2001). "System Of A Down’s Schizophrenia Aggravated On Toxicity". MTV. Viacom International. Retrieved April 15, 2015. The group’s self-titled 1998 debut was a striking, startling combination of speed-metal licks, quirky percussive vocals and powerhouse drumming juxtaposed against Mediterranean melodies, alt-rock flavors and textural rhythms. Their upcoming Toxicity, due September 4, is even more schizophrenic. 
  4. ^ Q (10/01, p.152) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This remains an excellent starting point for this most curious and underrated of bands..."
  5. ^ Hanson, John. "Review System of a Down". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  10. ^ "Canadian album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". Music Canada. 
  11. ^ "British album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter System of a Down in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  12. ^ "American album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]