October 28, 2012

John's Album of the Week: M.O.D. "U.S.A. for M.O.D."

Guest post by John Ross

Billy Milano was out of work in 1987. S.O.D. (Stormtroopers Of Death), the band Billy sung for, was officially defunct. Guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Charlie Benante had returned to their full time jobs as members of Thrash band Anthrax, while Bassist Dan Lilker had gone on to form Nuclear Assault. S.O.D had been a fun side project for the boys from Anthrax (Lilker was an early member). They had recruited Milano as singer and the band recorded a quick politically incorrect Crossover Thrash album SPEAK ENGLISH OR DIE. After the band went their separate ways, Milano decided to form his own band M.O.D. (Method Of Destruction) and decided to continue the legacy of (some might say rip off) S.O.D. with 1987's U.S.A. FOR M.O.D.

To say U.S.A. FOR M.O.D. was a bit politically incorrect is an understatement. The album actually might be more offensive today than it was in '87, yet somehow it's hard to take anything Milano says/growls seriously. The album consists of 22 songs averaging about two minutes each. The songs usually fall into one of two categories short and jokey or short and offensive and usually sung/talked/growled over a simple but heavy Thrash groove. Some of my personal favorite songs on the album are "Don't Feed the Bears" - a one minute tale of why you shouldn't feed the bears (hint: it gets bloody), "Dead Men/Most/Captain Crunch" - a 3.30sec Thrasher about munching on the breakfast cereal, "Ode to Harry" (with Scott Ian on acoustic guitar) - a ballad about a dude who drives a Volkswagen Rabbit, and "Hate Tank" - the closer clocking in at 2:20 of moshing mayhem based around a Hate Tank (it's the opposite of a love boat). I must confess to thoroughly enjoy some of the more offensive songs as well. "Spandex Enormity", the band's epic 5-minute ode to a fat groupie, never fails to crack me up with its refrain "Don't talk to me, talk to Nick talk to Nick", and though their song "A.I.D.s" may be one of the more offensive and homophobic songs ever written, Milano's cheesy falsetto singing on the chorus makes me laugh every time (I'll even sing it aloud if I'm sure I'm in the car alone).

So all this begs the question: is U.S.A. FOR M.O.D. a good album? Or is my picking of it just indicative of some nostalgia I have for something juvenile I listened to as a teen. Probably a bit from column one and a lot from column two. The lyrics and subject matter may be puerile, racist and homophobic, but mostly Billy Milano's verses come off more as a Metal Walter Sobchak and we're The Dude just staring on in, stunned in amazement at the idiocy coming out of this guy's mouth (that's a BIG LEBOWSKI reference, guys). Oh yea, and there's about two or three killer little Thrash riffs per song if that's your thing. Perfect if you feel like checking your brain and getting your mosh on and, really, some days that's all I'm after. How 'bout you?

Choice Cut: "Captain Crunch"

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  1. I remember my friend lending me this tape when I was a kid. I waited until my parents went out for dinner and then I cranked it in the living room. Nothing like 14 year old angst moshing and stage-diving onto the couch.

  2. "Short but sweeeeeet." M.O.D. was the shit.