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The devil must've shrank a bit since 1985. - 71%

hells_unicorn, January 17th, 2011

This is a difficult album, not so much to get into in and of itself, but to accept as the follow up to such a unique classic as “Speak English Or Die”. It’s a victim of its time in virtually every respect, being informed fairly noticeably by the groove metal craze that still had Pantera and Anthrax firmly in its grasp, particularly in the vocal performance and guitar tone. But in stark contrast to the sentiments of most who panned this as a pretentious cash crab by 4 burned out thrashers who hadn’t done much of late, “Bigger Than The Devil” is both worthy of the S.O.D. name, and ironically something of a grower in terms of its content.

The same jokes are never as funny the second time, but interestingly enough, this brand of tasteless and uninhibited humor has some staying power. One can’t help but be tickled pink and simultaneously amazed at how well this outfit satirizes Celtic Frost and INXS so goofily within this medium, not to mention fail to avoid busting out laughing at King Diamond ordering a whopper in his signature character on “King At The King/Evil Is In”. But aside from the usual smatterings of 4 to 30 second gimmick songs, there are some fine renditions of high speed mayhem from their mid 80s roots in “Kill The Assholes”, “Shenanigans” and “Aren’t You Hunger”, all of which are unmarred by the Phil Anselmo tendencies in Milano’s vocals and the somewhat overly distorted guitar tone.

The album doesn’t quite go off into full fledge sucking Machine Head style per say, but at times a lot of what would be solid songs are held back, some more than others, by the groove conventions being employed. “Make Room, Make Room” and “Movement Of Truth” kick a fair amount of ass, hard core mosh style, but get bogged down in these overlong groove intros that are wholly unnecessary. Though on a certain kind of album this can slip by with little notice, because of the needed brevity in this style, a 3 minute song with a 1 minute groove intro can turn into drudgery instantly. “Bigger Than The Devil” and “The Crackhead Song” could almost be labeled throw away songs given that they never level groove territory and sound like nothing more than Pantera rip-offs without the solos, not to mention that they kick the album off on a very poor note.

Despite some glaring problems that need not have come up, this is a worthy purchase, though preferably one that is made at $10 or less. There’s still plenty of unfettered and profane mockery, neck-wrecking riffage, slaying thrash and blast beats, muddily distorted bass intros, and the same pissed off, drunken goodness that we’ve come to expect from Billy Milano, albeit with a bit of “Far Beyond Driven” influences around the edges. It could be called a reprieve of sorts for all the musicians in congress, given the lack of impressive output on any of their parts at this point and time. It’s as good as it could’ve been, I suppose, and I guess that’s good enough, though quite far from being a successor to the original.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 16, 2011.