System Ready to Record

Guitarist Malakian promises next set will be "heavy"

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System of a Down are planning to enter the studio early this summer to record their third studio album. The set will be the follow-up to 2001's multi-platinum Toxicity, though since that album's release, they also issued the odds and ends collection Steal This Album!

System -- singer Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan -- began writing and rehearsals for the new set in North Hollywood in January and are nearly done with the pre-production stage. The group is eying a late 2004 release date.

"Serj and I knew we wanted something different for this album," Malakian said. "One of the reasons for releasing Steal This Album! was to close the book on all of those songs and move on. The whole world's gone crazy over the past couple of years, so that's brought out a lot of emotions and affected our songwriting. We just want to make a great rock record, a record that will be heavy, but heavy in emotion, not just riffs."

As withSteal This Album!, Toxicity and System's self-titled 1998 debut, the new set will be produced by Rick Rubin.