Stormtroopers of Death

Bigger Than the Devil

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Fourteen years later, S.O.D. finally returns with its second studio album, and they're still as subtle as a sledgehammer both musically and lyrically, which is good news for Speak English or Die devotees. Bigger Than the Devil keeps the group's power-drill sonic attack going full speed ahead, mosh-worthy riffs slamming into an occasional nod to (or, more often, parody of) death metal. Although much of the metal world has caught up to S.O.D.'s innovations -- fusing hardcore and metal was something of a standard practice in the late '90s -- S.O.D. still do it better than the competition, thanks in large part to the fact that they simply have more musical chops; plus, since most alternative metal bands tend to ignore speed metal, it's refreshing to hear the influence creeping in as part of a larger sound. The lyrics skewer pop-culture figures, political correctness, prejudice, and various social concerns, and although the over-the-top humor again isn't for everyone, the occasional racist and sexist undertones have been done away with this time out (not that S.O.D. is anything but politically incorrect). For fans of the first record, Bigger Than the Devil is well worth the wait, and it sounds contemporary enough to win the group some new fans as well.

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