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It was a grim day when the legendary Stromtroopers of Death announced they were parting ways after nearly two decades of crossover madness. The special foursome could always provide killer thrash and hearty laughs within their music, and their legacy continues to inspire countless groups across the musical spectrum. So after the split, Stormtroopers of Death decided to release one last disc entitled “Rise of the Infidels” to mark their end as a band; kind of like a goodbye party, but in a CD.
Looking back on great things that went away with a quasi-tribute will hopefully turn out positive in the end, but a few instances result in the exact opposite, like this release. “Rise of the Infidels” has two parts: a great section of unreleased songs that’s about five minutes long, and an awful live recording that takes up about forty-five minutes of space. Fortunately for us, the four new tracks are golden examples of S.O.D’s dominance with cool thrash riffing and Billy Milano’s sadistic voice in great unison. Each tune doesn’t represent any change in the S.O.D. camp, but that’s what to expect when experiencing listening to these crossover legends.
Unfortunately, that slight degree of fun is soon ruined by a huge disaster of apocalyptic proportions: a live show. Now live stuff is usually pretty cool when acting as a proper recording, but this sad waste of space desecrates the overall concept of “Rise of the Infidels,” and is just terrible throughout. For one, the production displays an uneven balance of toppling bass and vocal audio with no sign of Scott Ian’s guitar roar in sight. Honestly, you can only hear Milano’s sloppy voice over a chugging bass line for forty-five minutes; now mix some half-assed playing and you have the “bonus” material on this dumb release.
“Rise of the Infidels” is quite a lame way of saying goodbye to one of the most inspirational crossover bands ever, which is rather disappointing considering how important S.O.D. was. Sure you have four good unreleased tunes, but the live show is just an embarrassment compared to the main attraction of this release; it’s really a waste of time and space. Obviously, “Rise of the Infidels” is something S.O.D. fans might want to consider purchasing just for the unreleased tunes, but everyone else should swerve to the side and avoid.