S.O.D. - Speak English Or Die [re-issue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Speak English Or Die [re-issue] (2004)


It's S.O.D.

I could really leave it at that, but unlike this band, I suppose this review needs an intro. In the mid-80's members of Anthrax decided that they wanted to start a band that played fast, if somewhat simple music. With this in mind, and armed with tons of sarcasm, they founded Stormtroopers of Death, or S.O.D. What just started out as a fun project ended up producing Speak English Or Die, an extremely influential album that helped further blur the line between hardcore and metal. Even though they came around a few years after D.R.I., S.O.D. helped further bridge the gap. Although you can still find this in stores, Megaforce decided to re-issue it on some sweet looking blood red vinyl.

The first time I heard this band was about six years ago, my friend's brother was heavily into metal, and he acted as if this album was the gospel. I hadn't heard anything about S.O.D. before that point, but he assured me that it was more intense than any of the bands I was currently listening to. With this in mind, he lent me a tape. Yes, that's right, a tape. So, after do a little searching, a came across my old walkman, and finally got a chance to hear this band. He was right, it was intense, and I finally understood what he had been raving about. While S.O.D.'s sound was rooted in metal, it also had decidedly hardcore undertones. The songs were short and to the point, but they hit hard. The song that really stood out for me was "Milk," which just blew me away. No song on here reaches the three-minute mark, but they make good use of the time they have. Aside from the obvious influence they caused by blending metal and hardcore, S.O.D. was also one of the first bands to use blast beats. This is a fact, although often disputed, that has endeared the band to many a fan of fast music.

. S.O.D. was off and on for many years, playing shows here and there, but tensions from within have pretty much killed any chance of them reuniting. Most notable is the dispute between Billy Milano and Scott Ian, which was sparked by VH1, of all things. Still, Speak English or Die left an undeniable mark on music, and is still appreciated by many to this day, which is pretty impressive for a band that basically started out as a way to kill some time. If you like hardcore or metal at all, you really need to own this, whether it's on CD, vinyl, cassette, 8-track, whatever; pick this up.