Stormtroopers of Death

Stormtroopers of Death

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Stormtroopers of Death

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = New York, United States
Years_active = 1985–2007
Label = Megaforce, Nuclear Blast
Associated_acts = Anthrax, M.O.D., Nuclear Assault
URL = []
Current_members = Scott Ian
Dan Lilker
Charlie Benante
Billy Milano
Past_members =

Stormtroopers of Death, more commonly known as S.O.D., 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 new sound dubbed crossover thrash. They have also been the target of controversy due to their politically-incorrect lyrics, in particular a track named "Speak English or Die". The British band Concrete Sox responded to the aforementioned song with a parody entitled "Speak Siberian or Die." Another British band, Lawnmower Deth, wrote a song about Billy Milano entitled "F.A.T. (Fascist and Tubby)". Not all found them offensive, however; in 2000, the Japanese band Yellow Machinegun recorded their own version of "Speak English or Die" on a tribute album titled "Speak Japanese or Die". Finally, S.O.D. member Dan Lilker has stated: "The lyrics were never intended to be serious, just to piss people off." [cite video
people = Dan Lilker
title = Speak English or Live
medium = DVD
publisher = Nuclear Blast Records
date = 2001


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 equally, so fuck you" 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.

They recorded a 63-song demo called "Crab Society North" and set to work on an album for Johnny Zazula's Megaforce Records. The record, entitled "Speak English or Die", was recorded and mixed over three days and has since been recognised as a landmark recording. They toured the record in 1985 supporting, among others, Motörhead and The Plasmatics. Their planned follow-up, "USA For S.O.D.", was never recorded.

After the tour finished, Lilker carried on with the band Nuclear Assault while Benante and Ian carried on with Anthrax and Milano formed the spin-off band Method of Destruction, more popularly known as M.O.D. The first album by M.O.D., "U.S.A. for M.O.D.", featured many lyrics written by Scott Ian, as well as an altered version of "Aren't You Hungry", an unrecorded S.O.D. song from the 1985 tour. [cite web
title = Interview with Billy Milano for conducted by David Lee and Jinny Jerome
accessdate = 2006-12-21

S.O.D. would reform for a one-off gig in New York City in 1992, released as the live album "Live at Budokan". The record featured most of the studio album, a few songs from the demo and covers of Ministry, Nirvana and American hardcore punk band Fear.

In 1997, S.O.D. reunited again to play the Milwaukee Metal Fest. They played their first European gig at the With Full Force festival in Germany, [cite web
title = Interview with Billy Milano conducted by Sjouke Bakker
accessdate = 2006-12-21
] and in 1999 the second studio album was released. "Bigger Than the Devil", with its hardcore metal and black humor, was welcomed by fans and the band toured again in the late 90s. Bigger Than the Devil also featured the original S.O.D. version of "Aren't You Hungry".

In 2001 the DVD/video "Speak English or Live" was released. It added to the original "Live at Budokan" video by including a gig from a German metal festival and footage of the band recording overdubs for live tracks recorded in Japan. These would be included on the platinum reissue of the debut, along with two new studio tracks, to celebrate sales of one million for "Speak English or Die".

In 2002 the tour movie "" was released on DVD. Metal magazines reported in 2003 that the band was over due to disagreements between Scott Ian and Billy Milano. Benante and Ian went back to Anthrax, Milano carried on with M.O.D., and Lilker was involved with multiple other bands.

An interesting note of the band is that they seemingly released an album every seven years, and because of this, some fans were expecting a release in 2006. In 2005, Megaforce Records released a new S.O.D. live DVD, entitled "20 Years of Dysfunction", and the label's website claimed that a new S.O.D. CD "will be forthcoming in the winter of 2005". [cite web
title = Megaforce Records
accessdate = 2006-12-21
] That, coupled with Heather Lilker's statement that S.O.D. are under contract by Nuclear Blast to release one more album, [cite web
title = ANTHRAX: “Behind the Music” Lies a Very Ugly Mess Indeed!
accessdate = 2006-12-21
] lead to the belief that there would be a third record at some point. These rumors came to fruition with the release of their 2007 album, "Rise of the Infidels."

Final release

According to singer Milano, the 24-song extended "EP" of live and unreleased material called "Rise Of The Infidels", released in August 2007 on Megaforce Records, is the final release by the band. Said Milano, "(the EP) will finally be the last of S.O.D.", laying to rest rumours of another S.O.D. reunion.

The EP contains four new tracks: "Stand Up and Fight", "Java Amigo", "United and Strong" and "Ready to Fight". Three of these tracks had been released previously: "Stand Up and Fight" (under the title "Pathmark Song") and "Java Amigo" were both on the "New York's Hardest Vol. 3" compilation, and "United and Strong" appears on the Japanese version of "Live At Budokan". "Ready To Fight" is a Negative Approach cover, and "United and Strong" is an Agnostic Front cover.


* Scott Ian - guitars, backing vocals
* Dan Lilker - bass, backing vocals
* Charlie Benante - drums, lead guitar
* Billy Milano - vocals



*"Speak English or Die" (December 1985, Megaforce Records)
*"Live at Budokan" (October 24, 1992, Megaforce Records)
*"Bigger Than the Devil" (May 22, 1999, Nuclear Blast Records)
*"Rise Of The Infidels" (August 21, 2007, Megaforce Records)


* "Seasoning The Obese" (1999)

Other appearances

* "From The Megavault" (1985)
* "Deeper Into The Vault" (1991)
* "Crossover" (1993)
* "Stars On Thrash" (1998)
* "Suburban Open Air '99" (1999)
* "Death Is Just The Beginning Vol. 5" (1999)
* "Dynamit Vol. 16" (1999)
* "Nuclear Blast Soundcheck Series Vol. 18" (1999)
* "A Tribute To The Scorpions" (2000)
* "Death Is Just The Beginning Vol. 6" (2000)
* "New York's Hardest Vol. 3" (2001)
* "Death Is Just The Beginning Vol. 7" (2002)



External links

* [ Official S.O.D. Website] (no longer maintained, last updated in 2005)
* [ Billy Milano Official Website] (under construction)
* [ The official S.O.D. & M.O.D. fansite]

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