'Toxicity' was released on this day (September 4th) in 2001.
An album that feels all too appropriate to be celebrating given the current political climate is the much acclaimed second album from Armenian-American alt/nu metal titans System Of A Down. Toxicity was released 19 years ago today via American Recordings and Columbia Records, featuring their most iconic single Chop Suey!.
System of a Down - Toxicity
This sophomore release co-produced by Rick Rubin launched System of a Down to international stardom. It reached number one in the US charts, thanks to the more accessible melodic sound which their massively underrated self-titled debut lacked.
It was certainly a productive recording period, with the band recording twice as many songs than they ultimately included in the record. However, the subsequent promotional shows were less positive. A huge riot broke out in Hollywood after a free concert got cancelled due to overcrowding ahead of the album's release and $30,000 worth of equipment that was left out on stage was destroyed by angry fans. Because of this, the band's following performance was also cancelled to prevent further rioting.
Disaster didn't stop there either; while on tour in the US with Slipknot, bassist Shavo Odadjian ended up receiving medical attention after being beaten and racially attacked by security while trying to enter a backstage area of the Van Andel Arena in Michigan. Still, aside from this incident, the tour was a success for System of a Down.
The real success, however, came from lead single Chop Suey!. It's a rather absurd song about drug addiction and earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance. If you're wondering about the random title; it's a wordplay on the song's original title Self-Righteous Suicide (as in "Self-right-Chop Suey-cide").
Other singles were the title track and Aerials; the former about Hollywood and the latter about our idealised individuality. Aerials was also nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance at the Grammys.
More themes from the album include prison, sex, Charles Manson, the 2000 DNC protests and the CIA. Certainly, the band have never been afraid to be a little controversial with their music which has only made them more appealing over the years - even if it's now been 15 years since they recorded any new material.