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Megavision presents
S.O.D.: Speak English or Die Live (1992)

"The whole point of S.O.D. was we didn't give a sh*t about anything."
- Scott Ian

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 01, 2001

Stars: Scott Ian, Billy Milano, Dan Lilker, Charlie Benante
Other Stars: Jon Zazula, Marsha Zazula
Director: John Warden, Pete Konczai

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Language, violence to fruit)
Run Time: 01h:09m:22s
Release Date: October 09, 2001
UPC: 020286396024
Genre: metal

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B+B-C+ B

DVD Review

With a debut album title like Speak English Or Die, one could harldy expect a reincarnation of The Partridge Family from the Stormtroopers Of Death, better known as S.O.D. The brainchild of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, S.O.D. came into being as a lark, based on the fascist cartoon character he was creating during the recording of Anthrax's Spreading The Disease album in 1985 at Pyramid Studios in Ithica, NY. Sargent D (Sargent Death), according to the S.O.D. website, "is the epitome of all things evil, mean and generally pissed off. The incarnation of all things HATE." Filling bass and drumming roles with Anthrax cohorts Dan Lilker and Charlie Benante, they recruited local vocalist Billy Milano for the band, and recorded and mixed their debut in four days: "We just wanted to get it done," say Ian. The result was released by Megaforce Records, and within a year its brutally heavy, politically incorrect collection of metal/punk/hardcore had become a classic, but by then the group had disbanded, playing only a handful of shows.

The centerpiece of this DVD is their reunion gig in 1992 at The Ritz in New York City, formerly the notorious Studio 54. Dubbed Live at Budokon as a joke, the show was shot on video by one of the crew, who also gathered video from 3 other bootleg tapers, which were edited into this performance. Opening with perhaps the deadliest metal riff ever in March of the S.O.D. and Billy's diving off the P.A. columns into the mosh pit, the band performs all the hits from their debut album. After Kill Yourself, Pi Alpha Nu and The Milano Mosh, the carnage continues with Speak English Or Die! (tastefully incorporating the wonderous riff from Slayer's Raining Blood), Chromatic Death and Fist Banging Mania. Following their tribute to the dairy industry (Milk, parts 1 and 2), they leave no group unoffended with their tribute to Israel and Saddam Hussein with F*** The Middle East and Douche Crew. Other highlights include multiple versions of The Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix, and some flashback footage from their debut show in Dover, NJ's Showplace and Pre-menstrual Princess Blues. A series of M.O.D., Fear, Ministry and Nirvana covers follow, interspersed with Pussy Whipped and Freddy Krueger. United Forces closes the set.

The show definately has a bootleg atmosphere to it, though the sound is a board mix which remains cnsistent throughout, though I had hoped the sound quality would have been a little truer to their heaviness. The band has never been high gloss in its productions, and the essence of this live show comes through with Billy's characteristic rantings. The disc opens with backstage footage, and interview segments with the band cut between the songs, which are revelations unto themselves. This is a group of raw individuals, and the content here represents it very well. Never imagining that S.O.D. could sell a million records and last as long as they have in favor with the fans, here we have them live and loud, with a whole concert as a bonus.

The full set list is as follows:
March Of The S.O.D.
Sargent D And The S.O.D.
Kill Yourself (An Anti-Suicide Song)
Pi Alpha Nu
Milano Mosh
Speak English Or Die! (Slayer Re-mix Version)
Chromatic Death
Fist Banging Mania
The Camel Boy
No Turning Back
Vitality (Milk Part 2)
Fuck The Middle East
Douche Crew
Get A Real Job (M.O.D.)
The Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix
Livin' In The City (Fear)
Pussy Whipped
Stigmata (Ministry)
Thieves (Ministry)
Freddy Krueger
Territorial Pissings (Ministry)
United Forces

This ain't the music your mommy moshed to...

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Shot on home video cameras by the crew, this has the definate look of a good quality bootleg. Expect the usual contrast problems, dropouts and streaking associated with bootleg footage, though not in excess. The archival video is pretty bad, but home VHS wasn't exactly great in 1985. Suitable for the presentationójust don't be expecting a Bon Jovi video.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Audio on the main feature is from a board mix, and is pretty reasonable as such, though isn't nearly as heavy as the album. There is little bottom end, and the high end is pretty edgy. For a bootleg, it sounds great, but there is a definate lo-fi quality here. If you were expecting to be able to learn the lyrics by watching this you are out of luck.

Audio on the supplementary concert is pretty lacking, since it is soley captured by the camera, meaning the stereo image is always leaning to the stage side, and changes everytime the camera moves, resulting in a lot of phasing, and again limited frequency range, and excessive compression.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 27 cues and remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by guitarist Scott Ian
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. S.O.D. live in Germany
  2. Roundtable discussion
  3. In-studio footage
Extras Review: The Ritz show features running commentary by Scott Ian, who gives some interesting perpective to hairstyles, stage outfits, and the phenomenon that S.O.D. became. This is another raw, unedited recording, so it's pretty spontaneous, including gaps where he lets the guitar riffs speak for themselves.

As the first extra, we have the band's 1997 reunion show at the With Full Force festival in front of 100,000 German fans. Shot with a single home video camera, the appearance is raw, as is the sound, but we get an interesting contrast to the previous show, plus additional ballads covering more deceased musicians, and 6 songs in 6 seconds. Note how the band "hogs" the stage for the finale.

The extras section (33m:16s) begins with a round table discussion with the band and Megaforce principles Jon and Marsha Zazula present. Another single camera feature with lots of witty banter and inside tales of the band and music industry, and the band's upcoming Platinum CD release.

Next up is some in-studio footage of each band member recording bits and pieces for the new release, and Billy gives us another rendition of his William Shatner impression. Another roundtable as the band lounges around the studio's exquisite rooftop swimming pool. Ah, to be a millionaire...

My major complaint with this disc is the complete lack of time display or chapter display, despite the chapters being located before each song. This may be an issue limited to certain players, but I found it pretty annoying on my Toshiba.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

From a historical perspective, it is cool to see and hear about the origins of modern day hardcore/metal. For S.O.D. fans, this is a must own archive of two of the band's concerts, including some rare footage dating back to their debut gig. The studio footage is certainly entertaining, and if you can appreciate their sense of humor, you'll have a great time with this disc. If Tippor Gore is on your most favored persons list, stay far, far away.


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