System Of A Down Doubles Up On New Album

System Of A Down's next album will be a double-disc affair with a catch: the discs will be released separately, six months apart.

Hard rock act System Of A Down's next album will be a double-disc affair with a catch: the discs will be released separately, six months apart. "Hypnotize" will arrive first in late first quarter 2005 via American Recordings/Columbia, to be followed in late summer or early fall by "Mesmerize." The discs are being produced by guitarist Daron Malakian in tandem with American chief Rick Rubin.

"Doing a two-album set never entered into our thought process," Malakian admits. "But when we looked at all the songs we had and arbitrarily tried to choose 'the best' 14 for one album, we realized we had two album's worth of really great songs, and that they all connected with each other."

At the start of recording in July, Malakian said the new material was being influenced by such diverse artists as Kraftwerk, the Zombies and the Beach Boys. "But it all fits together," he said. "It works."

Since then, the band has worked hard to match its message with the accompanying music. "There has been a great deal of upheaval ... for all of us over the past year or so," says vocalist Serj Tankian, "and that has brought forth a lot of emotional material. There's a good amount of social commentary in the new songs, as well as songs where we deal with love, with reminiscing, relationships, politics and funny experiences."

"Hypnotize/Mesmerize" will be the follow up to 2002's "Toxicity," which bowed at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 3.3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The band will likely preview new material during its six-show run on the Big Day Out festival tour of Australia and New Zealand, which kicks off Jan. 21 in Auckland.