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Dictated? Why, a Dick Made It - 22%

DawnoftheShred, July 16th, 2013

I do not know Billy Milano personally, so it’s somewhat of a stretch for me to assume that he’s a dick only on the basis of his outlandish lyrical ranting. My main evidence towards this point is that despite a 20+ year recording career, Mr. Bill could never keep a lineup together past any given full-length album. With the exception of Dave Chavarri, who occupied the drum stool on three consecutive releases up until ‘96’s ill-fated Dictated Aggression (which also featured one-off guitarist Joe Young), it seems to me that nobody was really hankering to keep working with the guy. And given the actual quality of the man’s recorded output, who could blame them?

Dictated Aggression is mostly a cop-out compromise between the various “post-thrash” employment opportunities of the mid-90’s. Most prominent is the hardcore position, “jock-core” I’ve heard it called from those more into punk than I, which the band had been playing near exclusively on the albums Rhythm of Fear and especially Devolution. Tracks like “Shot Glass,” “U.S. Dreams,” and “Dictated Aggression” are just as Pro-Pain-ful as anything else M.O.D. were playing in the 90’s and just as ignorable. Continuing onward, there’s a touch of groove metal in the Pantera/Prong template, “Stand or Fall” and “One was Johnny” being typical offenders, emphasis on “typical.” New to Dictated Aggression are the groovy rock-oriented songs, such as “Silence Your Sin” and “Hippypotamus,” that recall the “sell-out” eras of Metallica and Testament as well as 90’s rock like The Offspring, a strange comparison I can’t help but make when hearing some of the intended hooks that stick out among this uninspired riff landfill. Lots of non-descript chugging, usually of the slower variety, form the flimsy backbone of these Black Album rejects and there’s more lazy pentatonic “bluesy” licks than it takes to get to the center of this metal pop. From what I can reckon, Milano himself wrote all these songs himself; it shows. He even rips off a Kill ‘Em All riff in here, bet you can find it in no time. And, if the record wasn’t unpleasant enough, as the album wraps up (good word choice –ed.), there’s even a fresh nu-metal take to leave you smiling all the way to the trash can as you remove this lumpy turd from your previously unsoiled CD collection.

Lyrically the record is pretty across the board too. Lots of half-hearted political discontent, ninny social qualms, and the mandatory MTV rant common to bands that weren’t regularly featured there. Dictated aggression? Try predicted aggression. To his credit, Milano does manage to revive some of the humor that made him infamous, something he failed to do on his other 90’s albums. Good thing too, as it’s the only redeeming factor in his performance. His vocals have degenerated into a toneless growly, shouty sort of thing that grates on the ear long before he adds distortion to it. If his goal was to piss off his listeners, he certainly succeeds here.

Despite having been active for only ten years at this point, M.O.D. had already released more crap albums than decent ones. Whatever momentum Milano had been riding on based on his Speak English or Die reputation was long exhausted and the band subsequently folded for the first time. Reboots of both S.O.D. and M.O.D. would eventually follow, to the delight of no one.

It's albums like this that make me regret digging deeper into the M.O.D. catalogue. Don't make my mistake.