S.O.D.: Kill Yourself + The Movie


Kill Yourself + The Movie

Nuclear Blast America

The video story of the most enigmatic band in the world, Stormtroopers Of Death, or simply “SOD.” Enigmatic they are, because they cannot be figured out. They cannot be tamed, they cannot be stopped. SOD comes together only once every seven to ten years, they record an album and maybe do a couple of shows. Then they split, never to be heard from again.

Not really, as half (Scott Ian, guitar and Charlie Benante, drums) of SOD is in Anthrax, the frontman, Billy Milano, used to be in M.O.D., et al., and on bass, originally from Anthrax, then Nuclear Assault, then Brutal Truth and Exit-13, now the Ravenous and Hemlock, is Danny Lilker. Their music is heavier beyond heavy, pushed the state of the art in thrash metal, and frankly is harder than hardcore can possibly be. The movie, named after one of their songs (that would be their anti-suicide paean “Kill Yourself”), chronicles the band’s 1999 “Bigger Than the Devil” world tour — unusual because they did, in fact, tour to support one of their albums — and leaves nothing out, not the story of the band’s formation, the band’s purpose and the band’s dedication to their fans.

I finally got to see them live at CBGB’s in November 2000, and I nearly was in tears as they started with “March of the SOD,” played nearly their entire catalog (which isn’t hard, because a lot of their songs aren’t more than a minute and a half long), and ended with “United Forces,” the most moshable song ever written. The energy of their live show, including the full set, is captured on Kill Yourself, and will bring a tear to your eye at various moments when you realize: hey, these guys were on a mission to advance the status quo of metal and succeeded. The tear-jerking part is that they were just a bunch of crazy kids during the Reagan years… The story Scott Ian tells of playing the raw tapes of “some riffs I came up with” to the guys in Exodus — on a park bench in Washington Square Park circa 1984, no less — and his description of the look on their faces… Well, put it this way, if you’ve ever created a “monster” and knew it…. Damn! I’m jealous! What the hell was I doing with myself? I should’ve been part of this! I should’ve had the coolest friends in high school and we all should’ve formed a punk or metal band… Oh well…

It’s all here, the origin, the future, the ballads of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Frank Sinatra, Freddie Mercury, whatshisface from INXS (“don’t hang yourself when you’re beating off,” says Billy), and Walter Payton. The last one not going off too well during their Chicago tour… This is a treasure, and belongs on the shelf of all fans of metal and punk out there. You suck if you don’t like it. I got the video for free to review, but I’m going to buy the DVD; I don’t give a rat’s ass if I help make them rich (they aren’t already?), this is the soundtrack to the war inside my head. Check ’em out at Stormtroopers Of Death dot.com.

Nuclear Blast America, 1453-A 14th Street #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404, http://www.nuclearblastusa.com

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