The 30th-anniversary edition of STROMTROOPERS OF DEATH’s classic debut album, “Speak English Or Die”, will be made available on November 27 via Megaforce. The set is expected to include the original album as well as the demo recordings from the pre-STROMTROOPERS OF DEATH project CRAB SOCIETY NORTH.
STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH, better known as S.O.D., was a crossover thrash band formed in New York in 1985. They are commonly credited as being among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal into a style sometimes called “crossover thrash.” The track “March Of The S.O.D.” from “Speak English Or Die” was the “Headbangers Ball” intro song for many years.
After finishing his guitar tracks on the ANTHRAX album “Spreading The Disease”, Scott Ian would draw pictures of the face of a character known as “Sargent D.” The pictures would be accompanied by slogans such as “I’m not racist; I hate everyone” and “Speak English Or Die,” and Ian would write lyrics about this character. He decided to form a hardcore band based on Sargent D, so he recruited ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, ex-ANTHRAX bassist Dan Lilker, and PSYCHOS bassist Billy Milano on vocals.
In a recent interview with Ireland’s Overdrive, Lilker stated about the possibility of a S.O.D. reunion concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Speak English Or Die”: “A girl from the label was asking about a show. I am fine to do it as long as it didn’t conflict with anything else on my schedule. ANTHRAX always seem to be busy all the time, you know. Never say never, but there is nothing I know about at the moment. Actually, the only thing with S.O.D. is the re-release of ‘Speak English Or Die’ with the CRAB SOCIETY NORTH stuff on it. We pre-dated ANAL CUNT and all that shit by a few years as far as just having seven-second songs of just pointless blasts of noise. We didn’t use regular instruments either, we used on a cassette case with a screwdriver and a drum stick. The old tape decks, they had a microphone in-level and you could set the level to get your desired sound and when you put it to 10 it just was like a fucking jet engine. It was awesome. Anyway, all that stuff will be on the ‘Speak English Or Die’ re-release.”
Asked if he thought an album like “Speak English Or Die” could be released for the first time in this day and age without controversy — especially in light of how hyper-sensitive and politically correct the world has become — Lilker said: “It probably would be too over the top for now. Some of it is still relevant, like ‘Fuck The Middle East’ is still relevant. But, you know, when we did it, it was [meant to be] tongue and cheek — ‘Let’s take the piss’ — and we wanted to see what people would say. It was directed at people who had no sense of humor and had a stick up their asses. It’s kind of like that Bonnie Raitt song, ‘Let’s give them something to talk about,’ and we did!”
In October 2011, Ian was asked by UnRated magazine if there was any chance of another S.O.D. reunion, to which he replied: “No. I think I can safely say that, yeah. It was never supposed to be anything more than it was. As far as I’m concerned, we did too much with it. It started out as a comic book strip that I drew in the studio and then turned into this record that we made, but you know, that’s all that it is for me. It’s the opposite of THE DAMNED THINGS [a supergroup featuring Ian alongside FALL OUT BOY and EVERY TIME I DIE members]. For me, it was never meant to be a real band with a schedule and making records and touring. S.O.D. was supposed to be the ‘anti’ of that, it was supposed to just be about having fun and never having it turn into something real where all of a sudden it’s not just fun anymore — it becomes a job, it becomes a business. And I’m glad everyone around the world got to see it at least once because in ’99 and 2000 we played everywhere and I don’t feel the need to go out and do that again.”