‘Mezmerize’ prized

System of a Down disc bows atop charts

This article was updated on May 25, 2005.>

“Mezmerize,” the fourth album from L.A.-based righteous hard rockers System of a Down, became the American Recordings/Columbia band’s second release to bow at No. 1, selling 453,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Disc, produced by Rick Rubin and SOAD’s Daron Malakian, is essentially the first side of a double album; counterpart “Hypnotize” is due this fall.

First-week numbers for the politically charged group’s latest more than double those of 2001 effort “Toxicity,” which entered on top with sales of 220,000.

“Mezmerize” joined four other debuts in the top 10 this past week. Toby Keith’s “Honkytonk University” (DreamWorks Nashville) moved 283,000 for the second spot, while Motown artist Kem’s “Album II” sold 140,000 copies to chart at No. 5. “American Idol” fever continues to grow as “Season 4: The Showstoppers” (RCA), in at No. 6, scanned 83,000 in the period leading up to Wednesday night’s season finale. And bowing at No. 10 is “Rock of Ages” (Mercury), a two-disc greatest-hits package from Def Leppard, marking the band’s return to the top 10 after more than a decade on the strength of 66,000 discs sold.

“Stand Up” (RCA), last week’s chart topper from the Dave Matthews Band, slipped to No. 4 with 158,000 copies sold, while Nine Inch Nails’ “With Teeth” (Nothing/Interscope), the sales leader of two weeks ago, slid to No. 12, selling 57,000 in its third session.

Other new entries in the top 20 include rapper Memphis Bleek’s “534,” the fourth solo disc for the member of the Roc-A-Fella Records stable, which opened at No. 11 with 60,000; the rap-meets-country “hick-hop” of Cowboy Troy follows on the heels of the single “I Play Chicken With the Train” with the Big & Rich-produced full-length “Loco Motive” (Warner Bros.), which bowed at No. 15 on 51,000 sold; former Houston Rockets cheerleader Natalie’s self-titled Universal debut at No. 16, also with 51,000; and the rap- and R&B-dominated Rhino collection “Totally Hits 2005,” which moved 44,000 copies to enter at No. 20.

A pair of wildly disparate recording artists represent the only other bows in the top 50 this past week. Van Morrison’s “Magic Time” (Geffen) debuted at No. 25, selling 41,000 albums, while the Insane Clown Posse EP “The Calm” (Psychopathic) landed at No. 32 with 31,000.