System of a Down is the eponymous debut album by System of a Down, first 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.

Album Information[]

The cover artwork is from a poster designed by the artist John Heartfield for the Communist Party of Germany during the Third Reich. The text in the original poster is: "5 fingers has a hand! With these 5 grab the enemy!". This slogan inspired part of the text contained in 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".

The album differs greatly from System of a Down's next 4 albums, the music being mostly influenced by heavy metal.


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

Track Listing[]

# TitleLyricsMusic Length
1. "Suite-Pee"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:32
2. "Know"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian, Tankian 2:56
3. "Sugar"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian 2:33
4. "Suggestions"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:44
5. "Spiders"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:35
6. "DDevil"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian 1:43
7. "Soil"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:25
8. "War?"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:40
9. "Mind"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian, Tankian 6:16
10. "Peephole"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 4:04
11. "CUBErt"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 1:49
12. "Darts"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:42
13. "P.L.U.C.K."  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:37
Japanese Edition
# TitleLyricsMusic Length
14. "Marmalade"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:02
15. "Störagéd"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 1:19
Limited Edition bonus CD
# TitleLyricsMusic Length
1. "Sugar" (Live)Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian, Tankian 2:27
2. "War?" (Live)Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:48
3. "Suite-Pee" (Live)Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:58
4. "Know" (Live)Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Odadjian, Tankian 3:03


System of a Down:

  • Daron Malakian: guitars, background vocals
  • Serj Tankian: vocals, keyboards/samples
  • Shavo Odadjian: bass
  • John Dolmayan: drums
  • Produced by Rick Rubin with System of a Down
  • Mixed by D.Sardy
  • Engineered by Sylvia Massy
  • Engineer/assistant engineer: Greg Fidelman
  • Additional recording/finishing touches: D.Sardy
  • Assistant engineers: Sam Story, Nick Raskulinecz
  • Assistant mixdown engineers: James Saez, Greg Gordon, Andy Haller
  • Second assistant mixdown engineer: Bryan Davis
  • Extra noise by Eric "Statik" Anest
  • Extra piano by Rick Rubin
  • Photography: Anthony Artiaga
  • Cover art: John Heartfield
  • Art direction: Frank Harkins & System of a Down
  • A&R direction: Dino Paredes, Sam Wick
  • Management: Velvet Hammer Management, David "Beno" Benveniste
  • Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, CA
  • Vocals and additional recordings at Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, Hollywood, CA
  • Mixed at Record Plant Studios, Hollywood, CA & Hollywood Sound, CA
  • Mastered by Vlado Meller at Sony Studios, New York, NY


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

  • Before "Spiders" is:

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

  • Before "DDevil" is:

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

  • Before "War?" is:

"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."

  • Before "Mind" is:

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

  • Before "Peephole" is:

"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."

  • Before "Darts" is:

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

  • Before "P.L.U.C.K." is:

"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[]

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!"

Chart performance[]


Year Chart Position
1999 The Billboard 200 124
Top Heatseekers 1


Year Single Chart Position
1999 "Sugar" Mainstream Rock Tracks 28
Modern Rock Tracks 31
2000 "Spiders" Mainstream Rock Tracks 25
Modern Rock Tracks 38


Template:System of a Down