- Anvilicious: The band are quite political, though even fans who agreed with them had their patience tested when they started doing long rants during shows. "Prison Song", a song about the prison system and how it incarcerates people for minor drug offenses, features heavily hamfisted (but well-researched) stats about the prison system that barely fit in with the rest of the song, even compared to the schizophrenic lyricism the band usually exhibits.
- Americans Hate Tingle: Aside from the fact they have never scheduled a show in Turkey, their political stances and Armenian roots have resulted in the band gaining a considerable Turkish Hatedom.
- Awesome Music
They were crying when their sons left
- "Chop Suey!", of course. The closing verse in particular echoes through your soul.
- "Soldier Side (Reprise)" from Hypnotize not only brings Mezmerize to completion back where it all started, but is an Nth degree Protest Song.
God is wearing black
He's gone so far to find no hope
He's never going back
They were crying when their sons left
All young men must go
He's gone so far to find no truth
He's never going home.
- All of "Streamline": as depressing as it is, it's also insanely awesome, and Serj's ultra-epic high note at the end of the song is impossible to hear without instantly getting chills.
- And "Highway Song".
- "Psycho" is a live favorite for fans thanks to always closing with the breakdown between Daron's guitar solo and Serj's keyboard solo.
- Hearing the whole audience say in unison "They're trying to build a prison" when they play "Prison Song." You can almost feel the walls shake.
- Broken Base: There's some disagreement among the fandom about Mezmerize/Hypnotize, mainly due to Daron's more prominent vocals and the slightly more comedic edge.
- A good way to determine which of their discography you'll like more is to listen to Steal This Album!. If you like the first half more, you'll enjoy their first two albums more. If you like the second half more, you'll like the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums more. If you like both halves, you will like all their material.
- Covered Up: SOAD's cover of Berlin's "The Metro" is more widely known than the original, due to Berlin's version only being a hit in the US and SOAD's fanbase being unlikely to listen to new wave music anyway.
- Crazy Awesome: Is their music insane? Yes. Is it also awesome? Also yes.
- Creepy Awesome: Daron is the weirdest and creepiest man on the face of the earth, but he's also a damn fine guitarist and song-writer.
- Ear Worm: "She's Like Heroin", "Attack", "B.Y.O.B.", "Chop Suey!", "Toxicity"... fuck it, every SoaD song qualifies for this for someone, even the weird stuff like "Violent Pornography".
- "Old school...Hollywood...baseball...Old school Hollywood baseball!!!"
- "Sugar", "Bounce", "Lonely Day"
- And "Aerials", "Revenga" and "Sad Statue".
- Ensemble Dark Horse: They are one of the few Nu Metal bands (if you consider them such, at any rate) that many metalheads will admit to liking (Deftones perhaps being their main company here). This is likely due in no small part to their quirkiness and willingness to experiment with their sound; they don't in fact fit cleanly into any one genre of metal and their sound remains all but impossible to pigeonhole.
- Epic Riff: "Chop Suey!", "Aerials", "B.Y.O.B."
- Also, that weird intro riff to "Suite Pee".
- "Sad Statue". So refreshingly retro.
- And it's immediately followed by "Old School Hollywood" to boot, which features an equally epic riff.
- Face of the Band: Serj Tankian, and to an extent Daron Malakian.
- Harsher in Hindsight: "Sad Statue" in itself has continued its relevance into the New 10's. With the line about "a generation that didn't agree" being less about an apathetic generation and more about a generation that has had peaceful protests reacted to with violence by the dominant powers. The lyrics are ever relevant twelve years later.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Misattributed Song:
- "The Legend of Zelda" was never performed by System of a Down. It doesn't really even sound like them. Of course, a whole lot of people THINK it's System of a Down (or just Serj, their lead singer). It's actually by Joe Pleiman, from an album called The Rabbit Joint; and is toplisted on the TV Tropes Misattributed Song page.
- "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" is by Drowning Pool. And it's called "Bodies".
- Disturbed's song "Down with the Sickness". It's not called "Down with the System".
- Also, any time one or more members of the band collaborates with another band, it's labeled as a SOAD song on bootlegs and YouTube:
- "Don't Go Off Wandering" is the most egregious. It's a demo of a Limp Bizkit song, with a brief appearance by Serj Tankian. Granted, the released version (from Limp's Significant Other album) doesn't have Serj, but that still doesn't make the demo a SoaD song.
- "Starlit Eyes" is by Serj Tankian and the band Snot, recorded in tribute to Snot's singer, Lynn Strait.
- "Feel Good" is by Hed PE, with additional vocals by Morgan Lander of the band Kittie and Serj Tankian. Serj is singing from "the sky is falling and I don't care", the rough growling is by Morgan, and the rapping is by Hed PE's vocalist Jahred Gomes.
- "Mushroom Cult" is by Dog Fashion Disco, with a guest appearance by Serj Tankian. It has no one else from SoaD.
- The title makes it even more confusing, since the chorus of "Sugar" also includes references to a mushroom cult.
- Narm: Some of their more Anvilicious lyrics have a tendency to utterly destroy the power of the songs. Especially since they're often spoken instead of sung, as if the band wants to make sure you know what they're trying to say.
- Narm Charm: No other band could write a heavy metal song that contains the line "All research and successful drug policies show that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences!"
- Nightmare Fuel: "Dam" in its entirety.
- "Mind", which pretty much could be considered "Dam" if it were heavier and 1000x more schizophrenic and hateful sounding. From the opening Mood Whiplash ("Look at each other... Look at each other... GO AWAY! GO AWAY!"), to its lyrics about molested children, random guttural vocals and let's not forget Serj screaming "GONNA LET YOU MOTHERFUCKERS DIE!" over and over at the end. And yet it's still awesome.
- Temper, which has sedate verses and a Mood Whiplash grindcore chorus, meant to wake up the general public from their apathy towards serious issues.
- "P.L.U.C.K.", a song about the Armenian genocide.
- Thetawaves is also very creepy.
- No Export for You: All members being Armenian or of Armenian descent, the band refused to play a show in Turkey in 1998, because of the country's government denial of the Armenian genocide of 1915. They have never rescheduled a show here since.
- Signature Song: "Chop Suey!", "B.Y.O.B.", "Soldier Side" and "Toxicity".
- And to a lesser extent, "War?" and "Fuck the System".
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "Prison Song" is about as subtle as a clown with its cock out and Narmy as hell as the post above says, but everything it says is true and something that really did need to be talked about at the time. And still does, really.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Many fans of Dragon Ball Z will tell you that their song "Marmalade" sounds eerily similar to the Leitmotif of one of the series last villains, Super Buu.
- Tear Jerker: A few of their songs, including "Lonely Day", "Soldier Side" and "Roulette".
- "Holy Mountains" as well, if you know what the lyrics are about (the Armenian Genocide and the significance of Mount Ararat in relation to it).
- "Streamline". Enough said.
- "Chop Suey!", when it's not being aggressive and loud, is heartbreaking, both with its Bible-quoting lyrics and mournful instrumentation, especially Serj's vocals and Rick Rubin's piano.
- "Lost in Hollywood," which is about somebody being discovered by Hollywood, becoming a big star, and then fading away in favor of the next "big thing." Having nowhere to go afterwards.
- Tough Act to Follow: The band and its entire catalog qualify. Are four other Armenians going to get together to form another band? No famous band has—so far—followed in SOAD's footsteps close enough to be described as a clone or a spiritual successor. Then again, no famous band has really tried.
YMMV / System of a Down