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Music / Stormtroopers of Death

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"He'll make you wish that you didn't exist, 'cause Sergeant D is coming and you're on his list..."

"You think that you're really hard
You'd better wear armour you fucking fool
We mosh until you die!
We mosh until you fry!
You think that you can try!? But can you!?"
Milano Mosh

The Stormtroopers of Death or SoD were a crossover thrashnote  band from New York active in the 1980s, and briefly re-emerged in the 1990s. The band was a side project and brainchild of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, and former bassist Dan Lilker, and featured a local musician called Billy Milano on vocals. It spawned after Scott Ian drew comics about a character called Sergeant D while recording Spreading the Disease with Anthrax. In his own words, he did not know how to have a comic book created of the character, but as a musician he could get a record made, so he made an album about him instead. He called up some friends, wrote some songs and had the album produced within a week.


The band's lyrics are all tongue-in-cheek and very, very offensive, with their debut album Speak English or Die a prime example. However, Milano's vocals are so fast they put rappers to shame, and luckily the most offensive lyrics are unintelligible. Due to their punk origins, the band's biggest priority was making hardcore music to mosh to; their tunes are all Epic Riffs and none of their studio songs go beyond three minutes. Their debut album lasts half an hour, but has over twenty songs, the longest lasting 2:32. Despite having two studio albums to their name, the band were very influential (they are credited as being one of the creators of crossover thrash) and their debut LP is considered a masterpiece of thrash metal.

The band had two studio albums to their name:


  • Speak English or Die (1985)
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  • Bigger Than the Devil (1999)
  • Rise of the Infidels (2007 - although it is officially counted as a studio EP by the band, it is mostly a compilation of live performances and previously released songs)

SoD provides examples of:

  • Badass Beard: Scott Ian's is one of the most iconic in metal.
  • Badass Boast: The song "Sergeant D" is a mixture of this and really violent threats. "Once you meet him, there's no time to pray" is a good example of the former.
  • Ballad of X: Quite a few - but never about "people we love or people that we miss", but people that are "fucking dead". See the Never Speak Ill of the Dead entry below.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: Bigger Than the Devil is named after this. The title track advertises a religion centred on band mascot Sergeant D, warning the Devil (as well as the big religions) that his cult is inferior to Sergeant D's.
  • Black Metal: Parodied on Bigger Than The Devil with "King at the King", the first two lines are sung in a traditional black metal style:
    I'll have a whopper with no pickles,
    An apple Piiiieee, I'll take it to go.
  • Character Signature Song: "Sergeant D and the SoD".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pretty much all the time.
  • Colonel Badass: Sergeant D, except he's a sergeant.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Billy was known for his onstage banter - especially whenever the band would play their infamous ballads.
  • Groove Metal: Bigger Than the Devil, being released in the late 1990s, well after thrash metal had bitten the dust. As a result of both its time and the band's friendship with Pantera, the album (especially the title track, for example) sounds like something the latter band would have come up with.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Quite a few of their tracks are only seconds long. Compared to most bands, their usual songs last roughly two and a half minutes anyway, but that's Epic Rocking compared to some of this band's hits:
    • Anti-procrastination saaaaawwwwng! at 6 seconds, "Diamonds and Rust (Extended Version)" at 2 seconds.
    • "The Ballad of Jimi Hendrix" at 5 seconds consists of one riff followed by "You're dead".
    • A live show called "Six songs in nine seconds", made entirely possible by this trope.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A downright 9, possibly verging on 10. At the time (mid eighties), they must have been the Up to Eleven example.
    "Ruthless and vicious, he'll stomp on your face
    Deadly, malicious; stay out of his space
    He'll rip your eyes out, so just look your own way
    And once you meet him, there's no time to pray"
    • Yes, the song gets worse than that.
  • Motor Mouth: Billy Milano's only vocal style, but "Kill Yourself" is probably the best example.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted without fear with their ballads. The basic formula would be to take a brief piece of music from a dead musician's work, and then end it abruptly by shouting "you're dead!". Their first studio album has the five second "Ballad of Jimi Hendrix" (with the riff from Purple Haze), and Bigger Than the Devil has "the Ballad of INXS" and "the Ballad of Phil H". but they've also recycled it into:
    • "The Ballad of Kurt Cobain", which Billy Milano proudly boasted to playing in Seattle and pissing off "everyone in Seattle".
    • "The Ballad of Jim Morrison"
    • "The Ballad of Frank Sinatra".
    • "The Ballad of Freddie Mercury"
    • And finally in the Bigger Than the Devil era, they did ballads for literally anyone who had recently died, regardless of whether or not they were musicians - including "The Ballad of The Midget From Kid Rock", "The Ballad of Walter Matthau", "The Ballad of Benjamin Orr", and "The Ballad of Charles Schultz". The band also jokingly alluding to wanting to play "The Ballad of Princess Di" on a few occasions, but were unable to since "we couldn't fit a car wreck onstage".
      • A subversion occured in "The Ballad of The Scorpions", where Billy simply chanted "they are bald" over the main riff to "Rock You Like a Hurricane".
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Shout-Out: The song "Freddy Krueger" to Nightmare on Elm Street.
  • Singer Namedrop: The band is named in "Sergeant D and the SoD".
    "With his Stormtroopers of Death
    He will come to your town"
  • Something Blues: "Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues" from Speak English or Die.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Every single lyric. Listen to "Kill Yourself" without reading the lyrics and it will sound like "cantikitnaculdtamanendawishaculdigaholeinagraund KILL YOURSELF, KILL YOURSELF!".

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