The intensity of metal, the social commentary of rap and a plethora of influences – ranging from the band's Armenian heritage to jazz to Middle Eastern melodies to the nightly news – has made System Of A Down an international powerhouse. The members' shared and diverse musical and personal experiences created such an explosive musical mine field of such volatile, incendiary ferocity that Rick Rubin elected to sign and produce the group as the first new act on American Recordings under a pact with Columbia Records. From 2004-2005 System Of A Down recorded a double album's worth of material which they released in two installments six months apart later in 2005. Both going platinum and topping the Billboard 200, Mesmerize was issued in May followed by Hypnotize in November. The latter stands as the band's final studio effort to date and is both the ideal complement to its predecessor and an epic culmination of an extraordinary body of work.