Saturday, May 12, 2007

SOD - Speak English Or Die Platinum Edition (2000)

* I'm sure this has been posted 100's of times elsewhere but seeing as it's The #1 Greatest Metal Album Of All Time, I had to post it here. If you don't already own this one, at least the original, there's definitely something missing from your collection! Enjoy!

One of the crucial links in the musical chain linking hardcore punk with speed metal, the Stormtroopers of Death -- known more commonly as S.O.D. -- were actually intended to be a one-off novelty side project, done as a lark during a gap in Anthrax's recording and touring schedule in 1985. Guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Charlie Benante were joined by former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker (then in Nuclear Assault) plus Anthrax roadie Billy Milano on vocals; Ian and Milano had recorded a hyperspeed demo for the project under the name Crab Society North. The resulting album, Speak English or Die, was recorded in three days and released later that year, and it gained as much notoriety for its silly, sometimes racist and sexist humor as it did for its raw musical power. The group played a small number of concerts, after which the musicians returned to their full-time projects and Milano went on to form M.O.D.

S.O.D. had ostensibly been put on permanent hiatus, but a dedicated cult following grew around the record, as well as critical acclaim for the band's freewheeling melding of heavy-guitar styles. Milano eventually spearheaded a full S.O.D. reunion in 1992, which produced the live album Live at Budokan (actually recorded in New York City), consisting mostly of Speak English or Die material mixed in with a few new covers. S.O.D. then broke up again, reconvening in 1997 for a few concerts; in 1999, they reunited once more and finally released an album of all-new studio material, titled Bigger Than the Devil. After a successful tour and a hilarious followup video/DVD (Kill Yourself: the Movie), the various members went their own ways. But when Anthrax's Behind the Music special appeared on VH1 in 2002, Milano took offense to not being included and began speaking poorly of Ian and Benante in the press. He claimed to have thought of the gimmick of wearing shorts in concert, as well as having riffs stolen for various Anthrax tracks. He even began saying that Ian had sabotaged his career by forcing him to do the second S.O.D. album when Ian was being investigated by the IRS. The Anthrax camp had no response, but Milano's press outbursts may have sealed the S.O.D. coffin for good.


S.O.D.'s Speak English or Die was an important record in the fusion of hardcore punk with thrash and speed metal, making even more explicit the connections that Anthrax's music implied. The tone of the music is crushingly loud, fast, and aggressive, but not at all serious -- the record is filled with goofy, macho humor, some of which holds up well (i.e., the three-second "Anti-Procrastination Song," an ode to "Milk") and some of which is quite racist and sexist. However, the music blasts by at such a frenetic pace (22 tracks in under half an hour) that the more offensive lyrics are often incomprehensible, so some may find them easier to ignore. Still, it's the loud-fast-rules music that made an impact, and mosh fans will quickly understand why. [In 2000, to commemorate the album's worldwide sales of one million copies, Megaforce put together Speak English or Die: The Platinum Edition, digitally remastering the original recording and appending two new studio tracks and eight live cuts recorded at a 1999 concert in Tokyo.]

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mp3 - 320kbps
rar - 118mb


the_peanut said...

CLASSIC ALBUM!!!!! Everyone should have this in their collection. Hardcore metal at its classic thrashy best. Good article!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, some of the 'mosh' parts in this are just so damn memorable!

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Anonymous said...

I saw these guys play at the old Ritz in NYC with Motorhead and Wendy O (plasmatics). I was 14.
I had no idea what I was hearing or what the hell was going on, only that i had to avoid getting my head split open by Billy Milano kicking glasses off the bar into the pit.
Thanks for sharing.