The 10 most viewed System Of A Down videos on YouTube

System of a Down press shot overlaid with the YouTube logo
(Image credit: System of a Down | YouTube)

System Of A Down joined YouTube in early November 2005 and since then, have gained over 6.5 million subscribers. Their often provocative and always thought-provoking promo videos and audio clips have been streamed over 4.7 billion times. 

Here, then, are the Los Angeles-based foursome's most watched videos according to YouTube. 

10. Boom!

"On February 15, 2003, 10 million people in over 600 cities around the world participated in the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world. Because we choose peace over war, we were there too."

This video saw the Los Angeles quartet team up with documentarian and political activist Michael Moore for this powerful snapshot of widespread non-violent disobedience in protest of the Iraq war. The video – which has been viewed 23 million times on YouTube – opens with a series of vox pops filmed around the world, and features handheld footage of the global protests and an animation featuring George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden straddling missiles as they wreak havoc on innocent civilians. The video was banned by MTV Europe. Its message remains bleakly prescient two decades later.

9. Question! 

Taken from the band's fourth album Mezmorize, the promo for Question! was co-directed by bassist Shavo Odadjian and Howard Greenhalgh (who helmed Iron Maiden’s Different World, Rainmaker and Wildest Dreams videos). Based on a nightmare the bassist had, the suited-and-booted band perform the song in the old Los Angeles Theater, while a narrative involving berries and an ill-fated couple unfolds. The video has been streamed over 96 million times since it was uploaded in 2009.

8. Spiders

One of the lead songs from their self-titled debut, the promo for Spiders was directed by Charlie Deaux. Like a Tool video come to life, it features a group of humans in states of water suspension while an old woman appears to do battle for one unfortunate's soul. It's been watched over 117 million times, possibly while fans attempt decipher the story's deeper meaning.

7. Sugar

"The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences..." In other words, you'll have to sign in to watch this affecting, disturbing promo for Sugar. Directed by Nathan 'Karma' Cox (Metallica's epic I Disappear video), the video (128 million views and counting) begins with an agitated newscaster losing the plot before the band perform in front of the Stars and Stripes, interspersed with war footage, Holocaust deaths and the USA's Operation Upshot–Knothole nuclear bomb tests. Like YouTube says, viewer discretion is advised.

6. Hypnotize

Hypnotize opens with a shot of a helicopter circling a city, dumping clouds of dark red gas into the streets below. The video – directed by Shavo Odadjian – then pans into the foyer of an empty venue where the band wait to perform the title track from their fifth studio album. It then cuts to a live show filmed at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September 2005, intercut with an animated painting. This simple promo clip has earned 187 million views thus far.

5. Lonely Day

This 2006 single from Hypnotize begins with the band rolling through New York City in their tour bus as parts of Manhattan's bustling street gently burn. Daron sings to himself, John listens to his iPod, Serj reads while Shavo doodles next to a chess board. As the clip unfolds, the small fires turn into what NYFD would describe as "a problem". Billboards are consumed by flames and trees perish while pedestrians remain oblivious to the destruction around them. The video for Lonely Day – directed by Xander Charity and Josh Melnick – has racked up 326 million views so far.

4. Aerials

Aerials begins with a shot of a dusty, far-off planet and reveals a circus tent. Inside, the band sit while noticing a mischievous, childlike alien sneaking around. If you're of a certain age, you might remember Playstation's 1999 TV ad featuring a young woman with similar distorted features. The short protagonist becomes the star of the hip-hop style video, shot on location in Hollywood. Cue lots of bouncing cars and lots cash thrown into the air. This video was co-directed by Odadjian and David Slade (30 Days Of Night (2007), Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018) and a handful of Muse promos). To date, this 2002 clip has been viewed 397 million times.

3. B.Y.O.B.

This chaotic clip features a riot squad marching into a house party hosted by System Of A Down. There's heavy-handed police brutality and dancing while Daron Malakian delivers his spit-flecked backing vocals with a wild-eyed energy from the balcony of an opulent home. This 2005 video was directed by Jake Nava, who would go onto be responsible for Beyoncé's iconic Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) promo three years later. View count: 422 million.

2. Toxicity

Directed by Shavo Odadjian and Marcos Siega, this single was the follow-up Chop Suey! Opening with a grainy tracking shot of Hollywood's Walk Of Fame, the video flits between a stark white room and a dark stage, where the band become living canvasses for projected footages of homelessness. A cracking circle pit breaks out halfway through the song too. The clip pulls out to reveal a wide shot of the Milky Way, because we are all mere specks floating around in the great nothingness at the end of the day. Looks pretty, though. To date, this is the band's second most popular video with 752 million views and counting. 

1. Chop Suey!

The first single from Toxicity was released a few weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States of America. Chop Suey! – which features the lyrics 'I don't think you trust in my self-righteous suicide, I cry when angels deserve to die' – was placed on a list of inappropriate songs by Clear Channel Radio. The video, shot in the grounds of a Los Angeles motel before an estimated 1500 fans, was directed by Marcos Siega (Blink-182's What's My Age Again?, plus blood-soaked TV favourites Dexter and You) and was the first metal video to pass the billion views mark on YouTube. To date, it has been watched an incredible 1.2 billion times.

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.