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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.