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Toxicity is the second album by System of a Down. Produced by Rick Rubin, Toxicity was released on September 4, 2001 by American Recordings, debuting at #1 on both the United Statesmarker and Canadianmarker charts. Toxicity has sold over 12 million copies worldwide and is multi-platinum in the United States.

Album information

Toxicity received mass critical acclaim, making many end-of-year "best of" lists (such as being named SPIN Magazine's #1 record of the year), and earning a Grammy nomination for lead single "Chop Suey!".

It is the only System of a Down album not to feature the Parental Advisory label, with only minor profanities. However, a limited edition of the album containing a bonus CD with behind the scenes footage of the making of the album does feature the Parental Advisory label, while a different limited edition containing a DVD with the "Toxicity" music video and live footage also does not feature the label.

Several songs have been featured in various videogame soundtracks. In 2002, "Science" and "Shimmy" were featured in the games ATV Offroad Fury 2 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 respectively. The song "Chop Suey!" was featured in Rock Band 2 in 2008, and "Toxicity" has been released on Guitar Hero: Metallica and as downloadable content for the Rock Band series.

The song "X" was originally recorded for the bands' 1998 self-titled debut but it was re-worked for Toxicity.

The album is listed in Blender's 500 CDs You Must Own.


  • Rolling Stone (9/27/01, p.70) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "Both manic and schizoid, Tankian veers easily from sing-rap rhythm to Korn-ish hysterics to demonic baritone growl to doomily ruminative....the music insists on forward motion without trapping itself in a thrashy lock-step rut."
  • Spin (p.89) - "System have an undeniable nerd-prog charm."
  • Entertainment Weekly (9/7/01, pp.161-2) - "Strange and engaging....It all adds up to bizarro type of metal that has a warped majesty and strength." - Rating: B-
  • Q magazine (9/01, p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Matches Slipknot for manic intensity while employing a freeform approach to songcraft which invites comparison to the lunatic-fringe rock of the '60s."
  • Alternative Press (2/02, p.64) - Ranked #9 in AP's "25 Best Albums of 2001."
  • Mojo (p.54) - Ranked #93 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics."
  • Robert Christgau - 1-star honorable mention - "Overarrangements no prob for we who avoid art-rock like the plague this means to cure."

Track listing


System of a Down is:

  • Produced by Rick Rubin and Daron Malakian
  • Co-Produced by Serj Tankian
  • Mixed by Andy Wallace
  • Engineered by David Schiffman
  • Additional Engineering by Greg Collins and Darren Mora
  • Assistant Engineers: Darrn Mora, Al Sanderson, Ryan McCormick, Jim Champagne
  • Assistant Mixdown Engineer: Rich Balmer
  • Additional Vocals/Music by Arto Tunçboyacıyan
  • Additional Piano by Rick Rubin
  • Strings Written by Serj Tankian
  • Additional Strings Written by Marc Mann
  • Strings Arranged and Conducted by Marc Mann

  • Photography: Martyn Atkins (Studio), Glen E. Friedman (Back Cover, Water), John Dolmayan, Hallie Sirota
  • Cover Art: Mark Wakefield
  • Art Direction: Shavo Odadjian & Brandy Flower
  • Album Art Concepts: Shavo Odadjian & System of a Down
  • Inside Collage Art: John Dolmayan & Brandy Flower
  • Co Label Art: Shavo Odadjian
  • A&R direction: Dino Paredes
  • Production Coordinator: Lindsay Chase
  • Worldwide Representation: David Benveniste, Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group

  • Recorded at Cello Studios, Hollywood, CA
  • Mixed at Enterprise Studios, Burbank, CA
  • Mastered by Eddy Schreyer at Oasis Mastering, Studio City, CA

Chart performance


Year Chart Position
2001 Billboard 200 1
UK Albums Chart 13
Australian ARIA Top 50 6
Canadian Album Chart 1
New Zealand Top Album Chart 7


Year Single Chart Position
2001 "Chop Suey!" The Billboard Hot 100 76
Modern Rock Tracks 7
Mainstream Rock Tracks 12
Australian ARIA Top 50 14
2002 "Toxicity" The Billboard Hot 100 70
Modern Rock Tracks 3
Mainstream Rock Tracks 10
Australian ARIA Top 50 39
"Aerials" The Billboard Hot 100 55
Modern Rock Tracks 1
Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
Australian ARIA Top 50 36


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