The 10 best System Of A Down songs, as chosen by Chrysalis

System Of A Down
(Image credit: Bob Berg\/Getty Images)

When it was revealed last year that System Of A Down were working on a new album, the metal world went into overdrive. It’s been over a decade since their last record, and we really thought a new full-length would be with us in 2017 – especially with a Download headline set lined up.

Sadly, SOAD bassist Shavo Odadjian announced in July that the new album wasn’t happening right now and doesn’t know when it’s likely to arrive. Which is a shame. But it won’t stop us listening to their frankly ridiculous back catalogue!

One band who worship at the altar of System are Cali alt-metallers Chrysalis, who say that SOAD have always been a favourite because of their versatility, adding that “they are fun and emotional; sometimes in the same song.”

But which songs do Chrysalis rate as the best? We asked them to pick the ten best System Of A Down songs…


“This song contains all the different elements that make System Of A Down beautiful; it’s melodic, heavy, spontaneous and even goofy at times in the vocal delivery. The clean guitar tone carries a hint of Middle-Eastern influence that adds to the exotic nature of the band’s style.”


“This is the follow-up single that helped put System on the road map. It was a departure from their first single in that it was moody and emotional as opposed to funny and free. It’s also where we got to hear lead singer, Serj Tankian, using his powerfully operatic vocal ability.”


“Right off the bat, System let us know what we were in for. And it was like nothing we’d ever heard before in metal – it was free to explore the eccentric personalities of the band members themselves. What we heard was a new creative philosophy of being 100% true to your own nature.”

Chop Suey!

“If you can remember when this song came out, then you remember how exciting it was. The perfect mixture of catchy and WTF! It was apparent at this point that this quirky metal band were bringing their unique energy into the mainstream. And it was here to stay.”


“What we love about this song is that it took all the mainstream attributes System had and put them into a neatly-arranged package. Good bands know how to write radio-friendly tracks without losing their uniqueness. It’s an art in and of itself, and they nailed it with this one. ‘Why don’t presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?’”


“This was the perfect way to wrap up what was System’s most energetic album – it’s much slower and has more feeling. SOAD showed that they hadn’t forgotten the more musical side that had constructed Spiders. The mainstream influence this song had was unexpected – there really isn’t a guitar player out there that doesn’t know how to play the opening riff.”


“A true headbanger’s track. Cigaro told us that this band hadn’t lost anything as a result of their massive success. If anything, it showed they were still crazy and juvenile with the first vocal line ‘My cock is much bigger than yours’ but musically more sophisticated at the same time. Who knows how they accomplished this duality!”


“Lyrically, this is one of the band’s most positive messages: ‘Science has failed to recognise the single most potent element of human existence.’ Spirituality is an important aspect of the band’s lyrics and this one was delivered with so much conviction. The track itself is very old-school metal in its approach. The guitar riff in the chorus might remind an experienced listener of Iron Maiden.”


“What an interesting and progressive single this track is! The acoustic guitar intro is ominous and harp-like. The bass takes the rhythmic front on the verse and slides around, while the acoustic guitar remains in the back as texture. It was also nice to hear that the band were remaining spiritual rather than just political.”

Lonely Day

“This song was particularly exciting due to guitar player Daron Malakian taking lead vocals for the first time on a single. It was proof that System Of A Down can do whatever they want musically and still be just as good – if not better. They have never been afraid to explore new territory and try new things. Most importantly, they have never been afraid to be themselves.”

Chrysalis’ new album Reminder is out now and available to order from Amazon. You can watch their latest video for Atlas below.

What do old people think of System Of A Down?

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.