Stormtroopers of Death - _Bigger Than the Devil_
(Nuclear Blast, 1999)
by: Paul Schwarz (8 out of 10)
Fourteen years ago, SoD's _Speak English or Die_ made a major pile up of a dent on the thrash metal scene of the time, and helped to lay the foundations for the crossover style with hardcore. SoD split up soon after with only a few live shows under their belt. Three odd years ago SoD reformed to play live, but the word was that things were soon to end again due to Billy Milano's worsening bone marrow condition. Then last year the word came that SoD were fully back on the horse and that a new album and more live play was on the way. Convincingly following up as spontaneous a classic as _Speak English or Die_ would have been near impossible three years later; fourteen seems pretty much out of the realms of possibility. SoD have done OK considering. The production is perfect for the music, which is a very good start, and the band thrash hard and endearingly through cool tracks like "We All Bleed Red", "Moment of Truth" and my personal favourite, "Shenanigans". Though thrash is still a fair classification for them, it must be said that SoD have a whole heap o' punk and hardcore in here too, which shows through when they aren't purposefully parodying another band's style. The next most important factor for an SoD album, or maybe the most, is the humour. This shows itself in virtually all the lyrics and maybe a quarter of the music. _Bigger Than the Devil_ is funny, tracks like "Celtic Frosted Flakes" (a kind of tribute to Celtic Frost) and "King at the King" (which alludes to the idea of King Diamond ordering a Burger King meal, while at the same time ranting satanically) particularly, but much of this humour is tantamount to rehashes of the first album's jokes ("Ballad of Michael H." and "... Phil H" vs. "Ballad of Jimi Hendrix"?) and it isn't riotous that much of the time in any case. _BTtD_ does feel a little pieced together, but it does present you with a good bunch of SoD quality songs to enjoy and, in many cases, be amused by. Ultimately, this is just another SoD album, though; it isn't breaking any barriers like _SEoD_ was, but it is 23 more songs in more or less the same style. It's up to you if you want it, but if you don't have _SEoD_, I suggest you get that classic first, and then decide.

(article published 7/7/1999)


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