Bigger Than The Devil


Nuclear Blast Records, 1999 › wiki › Stormtroopers_of_Death

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For a "one-off" band, Stormtroopers Of Death (S.O.D.) is sure building up a discography.

Last we heard from the guys who made "P.C." persona non grata, they staged a brief reunion, released as Live At Budokan. Recorded seven years after they forever left their mark on metal with Speak English Or Die, Billy Milano and crew proved that they still knew how to deliver the goods and make a punch in the face seem like the highest pleasure.

Now, seven years after Live At Budokan, Milano, guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Danny Lilker and drummer Charlie Benante return for S.O.D.'s long-awaited sophomore studio effort, Bigger Than The Devil. While there still is a lot of the outrageous tongue-in-cheek humor that has been the characteristic of this band, it also reflects a group that is 14 years older, wiser and - dare I say it? - mature.

First, a warning: you have to have either a sense of humor or a knowledge of who S.O.D. really is before listening to this. If you take any of the more outrageous statements personally, you need to get a life. For that matter, click the "back" button on your browser, and check out a different review. This one would just get your blood pressure raised.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now, then... Milano proves time and time again he is one of the most powerful hardcore singers/screamers in the business, and the years have not diminished his menacing bellows. From the opening bars of the title track, you know that Milano means business.

Musically, S.O.D. hasn't slowed down a beat - that is, until you get to "The Song That Don't Go Fast," a great inside joke. S.O.D. gives us the chance to watch them laugh at themselves, notably on "Shenanigans," which makes reference to the incident where Ian was arrested after breaking into the New York Yankees spring training facility.

Like the previous works of S.O.D., Bigger Than The Devil contains a lot of material that, if taken out of context, would offend a lot of people. But if you take the time to listen to the music and read the lyrics, you'd be hard-pressed to take the more outrageous stuff serious. Tracks like "Free Dirty Needles," "The Crackhead Song" and "Make Room, Make Room" are prime examples; no doubt some politician is going to go on the air and decry these songs as a sign of society today. Allow me to be the first to say: SHUT UP!!!

But if you think S.O.D. is all fun and games, the band dares to turn serious in the moshing with tracks like "We All Bleed Red," a disrespectful ode to the great melting pot of humanity that many people don't want to recognize. Who woulda thunk it - S.O.D. with a message?

While the playing is excellent on this album and it is well worth checking out, there is something missing from Bigger Than The Devil that was on Speak English Or Die. Whether it's a total "devil-may-care" attitude (no pun intended) because it was just a fun, goofy side project, or it's a sense of urgency to the music because of limited studio time, I'm not sure. But there is something missing in the equation that was there before - and the album does suffer a little because of its absence.

Still, Bigger Than The Devil is a reminder not only that hardcore is still alive, but that music can still be fun and doesn't have to be serious all the time. S.O.D. have made their career spreading that message, and with this album, they dust off the Doc Martens to do it again.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.