Speak English or dieeeee!!!!!!
Patrick Stott | Rolleston, Canterbury, New Zealand | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Can it really be twenty years since Sgt. D stomped into town, annoyed everyone and promptly left again? What started as Scott Ian's Hardcore/Metal brainchild became Billy Milano's lovechild. S.O.D.'s vocalist has become its biggest fan, and pieced together its recorded history like a fan would.
'20 Years Of Dysfunction' celebrates the anniversary of the release of the venomous `Speak English Or Die'. Recorded in three days, this relatively short album created huge waves in both the Metal and Hardcore scenes at the time.
Like Metallica's seminal `Cliff `Em All' video, the live footage here is mostly bootlegged, although generally of a better quality than the Cliff Burton memorial due to technological improvements.
This is an incredible compilation. For sheer power and head banging, fist pumping enjoyment, there is no better way to start any show than with "March Of The S.O.D/Sgt D & The S.O.D." Scott Ian stomps about the stage like a short, bald Godzilla, destroying buildings and eardrums with his flaming six-string. His polar opposite Dan Lilker is anchored to the stage, skinny and hirsute, head in a THC cloud, sub-sonic bass strung impossibly low. Charlie Benante sits at his drumkit, akin to a manic alchemist, turning gold leaden, amazing all with the dark arts of his craft. Enter Billy Milano. Larger than life in both persona and build, Milano bellows like a wild rhino, and like a rhino looks both comic and dangerous at once.
The ballads are a definite highlight. The original "Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix" provides the template for the rest of the ballads: steal a riff from a dead person, play it twice and shout "you're dead!" Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Small, Frank Sinatra, INXS and Jim Morrison all get the treatment. Offensive? Of course. Hilarious? You bet!
Another prime moment of comedy was Milano encouraging a stage diver to jump, so he does- up and down on the spot...
The package includes extensive extras. Pick of the bunch is an interview with producer Alex Perialas, he of "What's That Noise?" infamy. There's an interview by Metal Maniacs reporter Liz with Billy, which covers all things S.O.D. Surprisingly, Billy also included a 9/11 tribute. All New Yorkers were affected by the 2001 terrorist attack, and he witnessed the World Trade Center towers collapse. For someone so often derided for being an insensitive, politically incorrect oaf, Milano's tribute is both thoughtful and poignant.
The largest part of the extra features is the raw material from which the main feature is cut. There are five mini-concerts from around the world, captured during the `Bigger That The Devil' tour, but featuring only `Speak English Or Die' songs.
The audio CD is the infamous `Pussywhipped', bootlegged in 1985 during one of S.O.D.'s initial seven shows. The quality is dodgy, as you'd expect, but it's been cleaned up a little, and the vitality and energy of the original performance remains intact.
The 21-year-old Billy Milano is like a kid whose dreams have all come true at once. Here he is, a singer with limited ability, little different to the assembled audience, backed by three of the world's top Thrash musicians. He gives his performance absolutely everything, and it's quite possible to picture the veins bulging, the sweat flying, the fists and eyes clenched as he shouts his way through "Milano Mosh", "Milk", "United Forces", or any of the other tracks. His performance as a screaming harridan on "Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues" is hilarious
As in all S.O.D. performances, there are some priceless moments of spontaneity: Charlie was supposed to play the lead on "United Forces", but it was a little difficult from behind the drum kit; Scott broke his guitar on "Kill Yourself", which forced Dan and Charlie to improvise while he fixed it; and Billy's idiotic introductions to pretty much every song.
The best thing about the inclusion of `Pussywhipped' is that it's a small but important slice of Metal history, which is far better presented in this format than on some twelfth generation cassette tape, and the band might finally make something from it.
This is an extensive collection of S.O.D. memorabilia, presented raw and unpolished, just how the band was. The volatility of the relationships between the band members may be such that there might never be any more output from S.O.D. ever again, but the snarling, cigar chomping skull Sgt. D will be remembered forever."
Handsome Pete | Milltown, NJ USA | 07/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD/CD combo package is just great. If you're a metal or hardcore fan then this is for you. A great package compiled by Billy Milano. The cd is really cool as it is SOD's third gig. The DVD has two new videos (F**K The Middle East and March Of The SOD/Sgt D & The SOD) which are really cool. They will never get played on MTV of course, but are just really well done videos. There are 5 mini concerts in addition to the Main Feature. The packaging combines images from other releases by the band, to make a real nice new image. The art was done by the webmaster of the Official SOD & MOD Fansite ( sod-mod.com ). On the back is a new collage featuring the homosexual looking Sgt D action figure from Japan. The band has called this figure gay looking & I don't know why they were even produced. It takes a mean, cigar smoking zombie & makes him look like he could be on children's anime. Hopefully McFarlane toys will release a true SGT D figure. The DVD is worth buying. BUY IT!!!!"