Stormtroopers of Death
|Origin||New York City, United States|
|1985-1986, 1992, 1997-2002, 2007|
Stormtroopers of Death (abbreviated to S.O.D.) were an American crossover thrash band formed in New York City in 1985. They are credited as being among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal into a style sometimes referred to as crossover thrash. The band is also known for reuniting Anthrax members Scott Ian (guitars) and Charlie Benante (drums) with their former bassist Dan Lilker. The song "Chromatic Death" from their 1985 debut album, Speak English or Die, was the Headbanger's Ball intro anthem for many years.
The band were the source of some controversy due to their deliberately offensive lyrics. Scott Ian described the songs on Speak English Or Die as "ridiculous" and "just a big inside joke", adding: "Some people thought we were racist, and those people are stupid."  Bassist Dan Lilker stated: "The lyrics were never intended to be serious, just to piss people off." The band had several periods of inactivity following their formation in 1985. According to singer Billy Milano, the 24-song extended play of live and unreleased material called Rise of the Infidels, released in August 2007 on Megaforce Records, "will finally be the last of S.O.D.," laying to rest rumors of another reunion.
After finishing his guitar tracks on the Anthrax album Spreading the Disease, Scott Ian would draw pictures 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 the 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 album, titled Speak English or Die, was recorded and mixed over three days and has since been hailed as a landmark album that was among the first to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal. They toured in support of the album in 1985, opening for Motörhead and The Plasmatics, among others. Their music served as the theme of the '80s incarnation of MTV's Headbangers Ball. They planned a follow-up titled USA For S.O.D.,, which was ultimately scrapped and never recorded.
After their tour ended, Lilker carried on with the band Nuclear Assault while Benante and Ian continued with Anthrax. Milano formed the spin-off band Method of Destruction, known as M.O.D. The band's first album 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 played during their 1985 tour.
S.O.D. reformed for a one-off gig in New York City in 1992, which was recorded and released as the live album Live at Budokan. The record featured most songs from the Speak English or Die album, a few songs from the demo and covers of Ministry, Nirvana and 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, and in 1999 they released their second studio album, titled Bigger Than the Devil. Its hardcore metal and black humor was welcomed by fans and the band toured again in the late 1990s. Bigger Than the Devil 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 Speak English or Die, along with two new studio tracks, to celebrate one million copies of Speak English or Die sold. In 2002, the concert film Kill Yourself: The Movie was released on DVD.
Heavy metal news outlets reported in 2003 that the band had split up due to disagreements between Ian and Milano. In 2007, however, S.O.D. reconvened and released its third album, Rise of the Infidels. The album consists of previously unrecorded material and live recordings. However, Milano said that the album would be the band's final release.
In October 2011, Scott Ian was asked by UnRatd Magazine if there was any chance of another reunion, to which he replied:
"No. I think I can safely say that, yeah. It was never supposed to be any thing 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 members of Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die), 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."
In July 2015, Horns Up Rocks reported that S.O.D. would reunite again in celebration of their 30th anniversary. However, bassist Dan Lilker said that there were no plans for an S.O.D. reunion, and added that Billy Milano did not "consult anybody else that played in S.O.D. He just kind of announced something."
In 2017, Lilker formed a new version of S.O.D. under the name Not S.O.D. - Fist Banging Maniacs, with Brazilian musicians João Gordo, Cléber Orsioli and Guilherme Cersosimo filling in for Milano, Ian and Benante respectively.
|1992||S.O.D. Live At Budokan (VHS)||Megaforce Entertainment|
|January 23, 2001||Kill Yourself: The Movie (DVD or VHS)||Nuclear Blast Records|
|September 25, 2001||Speak English or Live (DVD)||Megaforce Entertainment|
|July 26, 2005||20 Years of Dysfunction||Nuclear Blast Records|