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Supergroup, Superalbum - 82%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, February 7th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Nuclear Blast America

A long time ago I was just screwing around on iTunes looking for new music when I came across S.O.D’s “Bigger Than the Devil.” I knew already that members of M.O.D, Anthrax, and Nuclear Assault, were in this supergroup of sorts, so I decided to check them out. I was immediately drawn to the album cover, due its amusing parody of the “Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden. Not only was the message that S.O.D’s music is “bigger than the Devil,” but the S.O.D. mascot is literally bigger than the Devil on the album art. It made me laugh so damn hard I fell off of my chair. Too funny. This album’s songs made me laugh as well. Compared to Ian and Benante’s previous and more serious work with Anthrax, this was like a group of high school friends that decided to make the most vulgar and hilarious collection of songs with a political message behind it. Lines like the one bellow sum up the album pretty well:

"Thanks to crack you can get a blow job for a buck
VCR with remote if you have good luck
You can find most anything at a bargain price
Courtesy of the crack heads who roam your streets at night”

The lyrics brought to light the dangers of real life, with a comical twist to them. Good song structure, good thrash. As I listened to the songs in order, I noticed the nice mixture of super sludgy riffs like the opening riff to “King At the King/Evil Is In,” to the high pitched middle verses of “Aren't You Hungry.” “Black War,” “Aren’t You Hungry,” Bigger Than The Devil,” “Kill the Assholes,” Make Room, Make Room,” “The Crackhead Song,” “We All Bleed Red,” “Shenanigans,” “Free Dirty Needles,” “Monkeys Rule” “King At the King/Evil Is In,” and “Moment of Truth” are all complete songs, but the remaining eleven songs were somewhat jokes in comparison. “Speak English or Die” was already joking around enough, but this record was way too laid back at times. The remaining 4 minutes and 44 seconds could have been made into a couple of good songs, but were instead put to use by making fun of dead musicians (Michael Hutchins) and poking fun at Celtic Frost, although, that is quite amusing.

When it comes to production on a thrash/crossover album, the production should be more on the raw side, but not terrible sounding. I loved the way that the drums were miced. The bass drums sound like a dampened “lub lub” versus the more metallic “thump thump.” Benante’s mounted toms were tuned perfectly, the snare was bright and crisp and the cymbals/hi-hat had nice clarity. Lilker’s bass was a little bit too fuzzy and muddy for my liking. It is interesting that Dan Lilker’s tone is fuzzed out due to the fact that he picks and doesn't pluck or use his fingers. I prefer Billy Milano’s vocals on this S.O.D. release more than any other. They are gritty, for the gut, and kick and scream through the wall of noise that the band creates. They matched the songs attitude perfectly. Last, but certainly not least is Scott Ian. Possibly the greatest rhythm guitarist in metal, Ian’s shredding on this record is great. He is always perfectly in-sync with Lilker and the tone quality he produces is beyond professional. Kudos to Nuclear Blast Records. They produced my favorite sounding drum kit out of any recording that I’ve heard.

“Bigger Than the Devil’s” overall mood and vibe is the right mate for itself. It allows you to have the opportunity to either take a serious topic seriously or lets you make a mockery of it if you wish. It always makes me want to take my sticks out and start beating on my drum set till the skins break. That is a mood few albums can capture. Although not as groundbreaking as “Speak English or Die,” “Bigger Than the Devil” does this supergroup justice.