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What was it that made “Speak English Or Die” so unique? One might ask this question with an eye to one of the 4 individual members, but with this sort of music there isn’t necessarily one intricate part of the whole that makes the rest work. The thing that made it unique was the completely unfettered attitude of everyone involved and how their combined outlook resulted in such an ugly, unrestrained beast as Sergeant D reaping havoc upon every so-called member of decent society. There’s something truly magical about 4 guys getting together and just saying “Screw it, let’s just have fun and maybe a few cheap laughs while we’re at it!”, and that’s pretty much what S.O.D. brought to the table.
By way of comparison, after said band’s demise, the logical step for Billy Milano was to keep the spirit going, and that is precisely what “U.S.A. for M.O.D.” is, a continuation. The humor, the formula, and the attitude remain the same, and are all but perfectly revisited with a different flock of instrumentalists backing him up. There is a slightly restrained character to the guitar and bass sound, the former of which is a little less pounding, the latter a little less muddy, but in terms of ambitiousness both see a solid uptick in activity. Likewise, the songwriting on here is a bit more adventurous, as a little more time is paid to constructing rock solid riffs and some elaboration in overall presentation. There are many comparisons that could be made to early Exodus and Slayer, alongside the obvious influences coming out of Discharge and Agnostic Front.
The strong points of this album are pretty much the same as its predecessor, although the weak parts a little greater in number. Pretty much whenever this band keeps their songs between 1 and 3 minutes long, they really bring some clobbering riffage and mean gang choruses, but whenever they go under 40 seconds of too long above 3 minutes, they start running into problems. “Spandex Enormity” kind of meanders around and only brings the neck wrecking goodness about 20% of the time between extended breakdown sections. Likewise, the brief novelty songs like “Ballad Of Dio” and “Short But Sweet” tend to lose their punch after a couple of listens, but they are short enough that they can be suffered through without being bothered with the skip button. The real goods around found on songs like “Parents” and “Hate Tank” and “I Executioner” where the band brings the fury and keeps the slower sections short and to the point rather than having over a minute of introductory material before they get cooking.
While not quite the undisputed classic that it came after, this is definitely in the essential category for anyone who lives for that middle ground between thrash and hard core where the songs are short, the jokes are offensively hilarious, and the attitude is enough to kick your ass without the need of physical hands. It’s about as hard hitting as it can get for 1987 without veering into the emerging death/thrash scene that was being ushered in by Possessed and Kreator, and it’s more fun that a dumb ass getting mauled to death by a pack of hungry bears (though that actually happens here too). If nothing else, it proves that while Billy Milano wasn’t the only thing that made S.O.D. great, he definitely was capable of recreating it’s spirit on his own.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 19, 2011.
With the landmark Speak English or Die out of their systems, the members of crossover pioneers S.O.D. went back to their day jobs. Scott Ian and Charlie Benante returned to their more serious work in Anthrax while Danny Lilker went back to thrash it up in Nuclear Assault. This left vocalist Billy Milano out of a job, so he decided to carry on the spirit of the S.O.D. with his own project, Method of Destruction. Though most of the albums released from this new ensemble ended up being fairly forgettable, M.O.D. were not entirely fruitless. Their debut, entitled USA for M.O.D, is a worthy companion piece to Speak English or Die; sharing many of its highlights and inside jokes, though also sharing its flaws.
The biggest problem with this album is that, like the famed S.O.D. offering, there are plenty of throwaway tracks. All the songs that are less than a minute in length are useless after the first listen (“Ballad of Dio,” “Bubble Butt,” “Bushwackateas,” etc.). There’s usually only a riff or two for any of these and the lyrics are absurd, but not particularly funny. Some of the slightly longer ones aren’t much better, leaving maybe eleven or twelve of the album’s twenty-three tracks as legitimate songs, a weak ratio if you ask me. GWAR is much less serious than these guys and yet they kick way more ass per square kilometer with far less bullshit integrated.
And, unsurprisingly enough, it’s when they stop dicking around with little joke bits and actually thrash that M.O.D. actually manage to kick some ass as well. Tracks like “Aren’t You Hungry,” “I Executioner,” and “Man of Your Dreams” are competent thrashers, full of quality riffs and occasionally some pretty fast fucking drumming. Milano is actually the weakpoint here; while the instruments benefit from the better production this album has (again, I’m comparing it to Speak English), Milano sounds much less fearsome than he did before and actually starts to get annoying pretty quickly. He does have his moments though, like the mock singing in “A.I.D.S.” (hearing is believing) and a few other over the top-isms. Overall, the ‘long’ songs are pretty damned effective and a bit more Exodus than S.O.D. at times. If only there were more of them, my skip button is getting a lot of unnecessary wear.
Fans of crossover can probably purchase this without reserve, but I wouldn’t pay full retail price for this one. It is to date the most successful attempt at recreating the off-color magic of the Stormtroopers of Death (something S.O.D. themselves cannot claim with their disappointing comeback effort), but it’s not nearly as good as Speak English or Die, musically or comically.
Highlights: “Aren’t You Hungry?” “Man of Your Dreams,” “A.I.D.S.”
I believe that S.O.D. has left an undeniable sign in Billy Milano’s life. The crossover genre was violently running through his veins and after the seminal Speak English or Die and the S.O.D. break, he decided to form his own band, M.O.D. in order to let flow all his ideas about this genre in an even more free way. The first album, this U.S.A. For M.O.D., is the most representative effort by this band and also the better done. The crossover was like a trend in that period and it was marching parallel to the thrash metal.
Now, let’s describe a bit this album. The sounds are just what you can expect from a release like this one, so very loud, unclean and minimal. The bass drum especially is not polished but the guitars are crunchy. The vocals by Billy are just great with that schizophrenic but powerful touch. The main difference between M.O.D. and S.O.D. is the way they play the instruments because it’s hard to follow the same style of musicians like Ian, Benante and Lilker. They are far superior than the ones in M.O.D. line up but, by the way, they are always good and convincing.
If “Aren’t You Hungry” and “Get a Real Job” are more crunchy and mid-paced, “I Executioner” shows faster parts. Everything is essential and minimalist. As always, the choruses of the songs are well audible and cast because it’s a characteristic of this genre. The punk influences are mixed with thrash riffs and this mix works well on this album. On this album we have less memorable pieces for this genre than on S.O.D. debut, but there are always good songs and it’s better to listen to them without making comparisons with other bands, in order to enjoy the music.
“Don’t Feed The Bear” and “The Ballad of Dio” are the first, real examples of the ironic brutality, as well as the faster final part of “Thrash or be Thrashed”. “Bubble Butt” is just the most hilarious song of this album… ‘Bubble butt! She’s so fat!’. The twenty seconds of “Bushwackateas” follow the same style while we can find far more thrash metal oriented riffs on the mid-paced tunes, like on “Man Of Your Dreams”, “AIDS”, or just in some parts of “Spandex Enormity”(the faster, punk restarts are very good and they are like real explosions). The form of the song is more respected on these ones while the other, shorter outputs are just pure displays of brutality united to catchiness and funny styles.
Overall, this album has all the ingredients to be considered a good crossover example. It’s less fast than Speak English Or Die, just to give an example and has more thrash metal passages. That’s very good to me and this effort should be at least well-known by everybody in this music.
Right, simply said we have got ‘Spreak English Or die’ part 2 here. A bad thing? No, of course not. Nothing wrong with having more of that yummy crossover. When finally the real second S.O.D. album was released in 1999, I loved ‘USA for MOD’ even more. And you get my meaning I assume. There are only two things missing here that prevent this album from being just as good as Speak English was. First of all: Ian, Benante and Lilker. Their sound remains unequalled in terms of heaviness and tightness. Ballone, McMurtrie and Davis are good, but not THAT good. And secondly: the element of surprise.
The version of ‘Aren’t You Hungry’ found on this album is actually the second version of it, without all the riffs Scott Ian later used for the Anthrax song ‘Imitation of Life’. ‘Ballad of DIO’, ‘Short But Sweet’, ‘Bushwackateas’ and ‘Ruptured Nuptuals’ are the extremely short tunes this time and all great and different. I always found ‘That Noise’ rather obsolete by the way. That joke was funny only once. The Ballad ‘Ode To Harry’ still makes me laugh after all these years. Of course there are lyrical moments that go too far in the eyes of some (‘Get A Real Job’, ‘Imported Society’) but the emphasis is really on comedy here. Try ‘Spandex Enormity’ and ‘Bubble Butt’ for instance. I know it’s cheap, but laughing at fatties always works. Thrashing along with ‘I Executioner’, ‘The Hate Tank’, ‘Thrash or Be Thrashed’ and ‘A.I.D.S.’ is possible as well.
It was a pretty complete album, incorporating everything you expected and hoped for. So all you could complain about was predictability, but not about the quality.
After the proclamied funniest thrash/crossover album, Speak English or Die, Storm Troopers of Death (SOD) decided not to come out with any more albums. The singer of SOD, Bill Milano formed a new band, Method of Destruction (MOD). There first release, this album continued the thrash/crossover type songs. The lyrics are very funny, with added sound effects. Hell some of the songs last only a couple seconds!
Is this album any good? Yes, in many ways it is. Some people don't like MOD because of there short songs and silly lyrics. Take as is, I guess. I think sometimes it is great to get away from dying lyrics and listen to songs about wearing Tina Turner wigs and Jim Gordon. What makes the lyrics even better is that they have added sound effects. For example in the song Don't Feed the Bears, at the end of the song it goes "And Don't Feed the Fucking Bears" (bear growl). Silly? Yes! But interesting, and worth a laugh or two. One song, called That Noise, isn't even a song, just a funny skit where something goes wrong and stuff, funny shit!
Besides silly lyrics and short songs, sometimes containing a sentence, this album has potential. If you look at it in a musical perspective, getting away from the humor part, then you can see so much more. When you blast this album for the first time you will notice that we are blasted with an awsome killer thrash riff. SOD was always known for its punk/ thrash riffs, but MOD definetly took on a complete thrash style of riffing. There are a lot of great thrash riffs, bass intros, and super fast drumming that gives this album a great musical appearance! I recommend this album for people who want to laugh and escape the reality of life. Also get it if you like Anthrax type thrash, er....just plaing out thrash!!!