Stormtroopers of Death

Live at Budokan

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S.O.D. originally began as a project for Anthrax songwriters Scott Ian and Charlie Benante to release material that their singer Joey Belladonna could not sing. That was back in 1985, so it is interesting that in 1992, only months before they fired Belladonna from Anthrax, that they decided to reunite for a concert in New York City. This is almost all of Speak English or Die! with a few covers thrown in for good measure. What is truly entertaining is the between-song banter between the audience and caustic frontman Billy Milano. His angry, funny tirades emphasize the more humorous aspects of this project. Classics like "Milk," "Chromatic Death," and "Kill Yourself" are here in all their offensive glory. The enthusiastic crowd helps the mood of the album, and certain songs are changed enough to give them an interesting spin. A good example is "Speak English or Die!," which places the opening riff to Slayer's classic "Raining Blood" in the middle of the song. The covers are good, although S.O.D. really does not add much to classics by Nirvana or Fear except for heavier guitars. The album is a little long, and without getting to see the onstage antics (the near-300 pound Milano opened the show by stage diving off of a 15 foot speaker into the crowd), it is hard to understand what they are talking about sometimes. But overall, this is a good live album for fans who had been waiting for something new from the kings of hardcore metal.

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