The curators behind Gimme Metal’s monthly vinyl deep dive detail the enduing influence and lasting impact of the 1985 classic, ‘Speak English or Die’
As fine purveyors of heavy music culture, GIMME METAL’24/7 streaming service augmented their platform with the addition of a proper vinyl club designed to give subscribers access to important releases, rare pressings, and collector quality records that fans of the genre should have.
The focus of the Gimme Metal Vinyl Club from the very start was to curate a deep catalog excavation, to unearth rare, out of print albums, and spotlight new gems that have earned the inclusion. Each monthly offering has been a limited or outright exclusive to Gimme variant, most of which have been paired with collectible merch items or killer add-ons.
As the ultimate, collector-focused, monthly club curation, the significance of the albums merits a bit of backstory. Each addition to the archive of monthly offerings is something the team at Gimme Metal takes very seriously – weighing the cultural and influential significance of each monthly installment.
For the March edition of the Gimme Metal Vinyl Club, CEO and Co-Founder of Gimme Metal Tyler Lenane details the history and impact of S.O.D.’s 1985 classic, Speak English or Die.
When I was about about 13, stuck at home in the basement of my suburban home on a Saturday night. There was but one thing to look forward to – midnight on MTV – Headbanger’s Ball.
And there was no more perfect a song that captured that excitement for me than the show’s intro song – Stormtroopers of Death’s, “March of the S.O.D.” It was the perfect dose of heaviness to get my blood moving and to keep my eyes open through yet another BulletBoys video in hopes that they might play Overkill.
In the mid to late 80’s you had a lot of cross over bands, like D.R.I. and Corrosion Of Conformity that were combining the raw aggression of hardcore with some of the technical chops of thrash metal and in the New York area you had a lot of hardcore bands that enlisted talented metal guitarists to create a special blend of crossover. Bands like the Crumbsuckers, Leeway, and Ludichrist. Even bands like Agnostic Front during the Cause for Alarm-era were combining really heavy slower parts with the speed of early hardcore.
But no one, NO ONE, did crossover like S.O.D. When you heard them, there was absolutely no doubt that Dan Lilker, Charlie Benante and Scott Ian were masters of their instruments and Billy Milano’s vocal phrasing and attitude matched the music perfectly. They could write heavy and yet catchy riffs, they appealed to the metal fans and hardcore kids equally and bridged the gap and unlike most metal bands at the time they adopted satire and humor that was mostly the domain of hardcore punk bands like the Dead Kennedys or Fear. Speak English or Die might not fly in today’s world, but with S.O.D., the tongue was planted firmly in cheek.
Speak English or Die is nothing short of legendary and that’s why Gimme Metal chose it as our March Vinyl Record Of The Month. It’s a special 30th Anniversary Edition double LP pressing that includes the full album, bonus studio tracks, S.O.D. Live in Tokyo 1999 and Crab Society North Demos.
We think Will Carroll of Death Angel summed up Speak English or Die perfectly when we asked him what he thought of the record,
“A lot of Metal albums start off with an epic, grandiose intro that takes you on a whimsical journey to fantastical realms. And then there’s S.O.D.’s Speak English Or Die. Quite possibly the greatest riff in Metal history, SEoD starts off with such bludgeoning force that it’s impossible the rest of the record is going to let you down. In ’85, not many other bands were doing what S.O.D. did. Along with groups like Cryptic Slaughter and D.R.I., S.O.D. helped pave the way for Crossover Thrash – a style of metal that’s thriving today with bands like Municipal Waste.
SEoD is one of the most influential albums to come out in the 80’s – From Scott Ian’s guitar tone to Charlie Benante’s early version of the blast beat. This record has stood the test of time and is still influencing Metal Heads worldwide. A true CLASSIC.”CEO & Co-Founder Gimme Radio Tyler Lenane
The Megaforce Records 30th anniversary edition of the album will be pressed as a Gimme exclusive variant of camouflage splatter and will include an exclusive camouflaged S.O.D. enamel pin.
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