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There’s a time and place for everything, and it sure as hell isn’t college, unless it’s the sick and utterly kickass one that Sergeant D and his minions graduated from. With such noteworthy courses as dismemberment 101, tasteless humor lab, and piss off feminists workshop, one can’t help but bang his head in utter euphoria at how this album earns its B.S. for its pithy and blunt approach to pointing out society’s obsession with B.S. There are no extended audits here, nor any 3 hour seminars to fall asleep in, just the finest classes in the fine art of thrash riffing and ugly, angst-ridden attitude that enlightens like an esoteric monastic session, but with the brevity of Cliff’s Notes.
Okay, maybe I’m reaching a little bit with all these fruity metaphors, but this is literally the most intense fit of neck-wrecking, knee-slapping, hardcore experiences out there in a 28 minute package, and from an auspicious year like 1985 no less. Between the heavy as a tank guitar tone, the obnoxiously loud and ballsy bass, Milano’s alcoholic wife-beater shouts, and the colossal as hell drum assault out of Benante, this whole album takes everyone’s stereotypical idea of thrash metal and hardcore and literally relieves itself on it. There’s no beating around the bush, no screwing around with repetition or development, just the most compacted and concentrated brass-knuckle sandwich to the face in 3 riffs or less that you’ll find on the east side of the metal nation.
While one might be tempted to write this off as a few gimmicky joke songs mixed in with the same song played a dozen times, this is something that is usually done by people that get too hung up on how many riffs can be jammed into 8 minutes of thrashing. But in spite of these guys not being Dark Angel, they deliver a similar level of intensity in a much more basic passage. When taking the formulaic approach of slow park with a crunchy riff for a verse, followed by a hyper speed second for the chorus, then out, or repeating the previous step and then out, it is better to look at it as a primitive formula meant for a very specific purpose, which is to provide a basic foundation for the lyrics to make their point. Once this happens, it becomes much easier to laugh your ass off at all the zaniness found on “Speak English Or Die”, “Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues” and “Fuck The Middle East”.
Occasionally the album deviates away from the utterly predictable format and takes time to either concentrate completely on laughs, or throw a few curveballs at the listener. “What’s The Noise” is an all out laugh fest as Milano loses his cool and cusses everyone out after repeated tape scratching sounds, all but redefining the concept of studio antics in a time where we thankfully weren’t subject to the gay version of it that Limp Bizkit would subject us to, which they likely stole from here. One can’t also help but laugh hysterically at S.O.D. paying their 6 second homage to a guitar legend in “Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix” by reminding him that he’s dead. But perhaps the true kicker here is the ending of “United Forces” where Scott and Charlie actually take the last 15 seconds to give a lead guitar nod to Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman in a comical fashion by exaggerating both of their respective styles (think lots of runs for Hanneman and lots of whammy bar noise for King).
As someone who is not necessarily partial to hardcore mixing with metal, I can say with complete confidence that only someone with brain damage or no sense of humor to speak of (aka politically correct pansies in public office or their dominatrix wives) would be without this album. It might not be something that will demand ritualistic listening unless one is partial to the simpler elements of crossover, but everybody should hear this album a few times as it is about as accessible as punk can get for someone who is strictly of the metallic persuasion. For an album that came about because a bunch of New York thrashers got bored, it’s something that can easily be labeled as classic, not to mention a hilariously amusing collection of intentionally offensive jests.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 15, 2011.