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Catchy Humor, Dry Music - 70%

Stained Glass Assassin, March 24th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Nuclear Blast

Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.) was a side gig started by Scott Ian of Anthrax and include fellow band mate, Charlie Benante on drums and bassist, Dan Liker from Nuclear Assault. The band was an outlet of sorts for Ian’s hardcore/crossover affinity to which they included a heavy dose of fun and humorous anecdotes. They released their debut album “Speak English or Die” in 1985 and then went on a very long hiatus until 1999, when band would put out their sophomore effort, “Bigger Than the Devil”.

The sound on “Bigger than the Devil” is a straight forward brand of crossover thrash, while being sure to keep true to the hardcore side of the genre. The riffs are rather forgettable as they do little to hook the listener and even when you do recognize them, they are very catchy. There are minimal rhythms and harmonies to be had, along with a noticeable lack of shredding solos. To say the guitars were a disappointment would be an understatement. Aside from his legendary work with Anthrax, I would have expected more from Ian, as many other crossover acts such as Pro-Pain have numerous solos and catchy riffs that made their music so much more memorable.

The drumming on the other hand, is pretty solid. I will say that the beats create a nice rhythm for the majority of the songs, that carry what little force this album contains and helps keep some relevancy. Billy Milano’s vocals are a nice fit for the genre in general and are also a bright spot on the album. They are fast and fierce, everything you’d expect from the hardcore/crossover sound. I especially enjoyed the song “We All Bleed Red” as it featured, Roger Miret of Agnostic Front. As for the song writing, well the lyrics are foolish and stupid, just the way SOD intended. Even though the music does not live up to expectations, the underlying humor comes through clear enough like on “Celtic Frosted Flakes” or “King at the King / Evil”

Overall, “Bigger than the Devil” does not hold up to “Speak English or Die”. The music is is pretty bare bones, simplistic in nature and rather lacking, which makes for a dull final product. It by no means is bad, but I think this could have been so much more with a little more time invested in the song writing and instrumentation. As it is, you certainly get a chuckle out this album for all the right reasons and fans of crossover will find enough to enjoy during their listen. At the end of the day, this is humor metal in vain of a GWAR, Haunted Garage or Green Jello. Fans of either might find more in the songs than I, but other than that, I would stick with their debut.

Highlights: “We All Bleed Red” “Kill the Assholes” “Shenanigans”

Into the Abyss of Oblivion