Usually when I do these retroviews, I cover a band's entire discography, a whole scene, genre, or other broad range of albums. But sometimes you come across an album that needs to be dissected in detail, every note examined piece by piece. "USA For MOD" is just such an album, and we'll cover it in excruciating detail below!
The poor man's SOD
Clearly I am a huge fan of SOD. When I got "Stormtroopers of Death" in 8th grade, it was like a whole new world unfolded before my eyes. An ignorant, hateful, angry world full of thrash parts and mosh riffs, a world that felt like home to this young boy. I don't remember how, but somehow or another I learned that there was another band that had the same singer as SOD, and their name was... MOD?! From the name to the cover art, everything MOD did on this record was a somewhat shittier version of SOD. Yet despite being incredibly derivative, it has a certain charm that earns it a special place in my heart. It's also pretty remarkable that it's still quite offensive 22 years after being released. Not too many records can make that claim! What that in mind, I will share my thoughts on each and every track on the album.
"Aren't You Hungry?" – 3:25
They certainly started things off with a bang! I'm not sure it was the best idea to drop the n-bomb, but apparently Billy Milano did, and Megaforce thought it was a good idea to release the album. In any case, this is one of the most mean-spirited songs ever written, which makes it pretty great in my book. It's also the strongest song on the album musically. But mostly I just like it because of the line, "They want the food to grow on what they call home land. But don't you know you can't grow food in sand."
"Get a Real Job" – 2:10
Long-time readers know that here at Metal Inquisition, we love kicking people when they're down. So does Billy Milano: after picking on starving third-world kids, he focused his attention on people with shitty jobs. I used to think it was about bums, which made me like it even more. I worked next door to a homeless shelter for two years and it pretty much made me feel like the best way to deal with the homeless is to grind them into high-end food for purebred dogs. Mostly because they have a hard time controlling their bowels. For example, when I got out of my car in the morning and stepped right into a puddle of alcoholic bum shit (it was cold shit, by the way). Or when I saw a fat homeless lady pull down her pants and shit on the sidewalk in broad daylight (this was on the corner of 9th & Stewart in Seattle, a very busy downtown intersection).
"I Executioner" – 2:31
I like to think about Billy belting this one out in the studio, straining so hard that his face turns red, beads of sweat appearing on his pasty skin, clutching the microphone with his pudgy, sausage-like fingers as though it was made of solid gold. I'm guessing that he couldn't think of any more SOD songs to rip off, so he stole an idea from Anthrax and wrote a song about Judge Dredd.
"Don't Feed the Bears" – 1:03
A lot of people like this one, it doesn't do much for me. Just a kind of boring and unremarkable novelty tune (did I just describe Billy Milano's career?).
"Ballad of Dio" – 0:11
Oh I get it, it's funny because the song is so short and the lyrics are mean!! Just like "Ballad of Jimi Hendrix!" Ha ha ha!! Man, these guys don't take anything seriously, do they?! What a bunch of characters!
"Thrash or be Thrashed" – 0:51
Add this one to the thrash metal checklist: Song about moshing. Specifically, a warning to new jacks about the potential dangers associated with moshing.
"Let Me Out" – 1:39
Dumb. Nobody cares about Billy Milano's feelings. Boring song.
"Bubble Butt" – 0:43
After a few not-so-good songs, here comes this fucking gem!! Of course I must point out of the obvious absurdity of a tubby little man like Billy Milano criticizing anybody's physique, but that's beside the point. What makes this song so great is that it's a simple chant that you and your friends can get into whenever you see a fat chick. Like when Skullkrusher and I were at the mall once and I saw a fattie, I just said "Bubble butt, bubble butt!" and he finished with "She's so fat!" and we had a good laugh. Another time I was at the mall with some of my friends, and some girl walked past us (we could only see her back). He said, "Hey, what's up?" She turned around and had a hideous face, so he laughed and said "Never mind!" He ended up being in one of the later incarnations of Integrity.
"You're Beat" – 2:15
This song is dumb, too. Like a boring, uncatchy version of "Kill Yourself."
"Bushwackateas" – 0:19
I still have no idea what this song is about! It sounds vaguely racist, but the lyrics are so cryptic that I really can't be sure. But I used to think about this turd named Ryan Matlock that was a Brother's Keeper groupie every time I heard the line, "Nice ears, you look like an elf." You see, he had big ears. I can only hope that the people at whatever menial job he has now call him "Radar."
"Man of Your Dreams" – 3:40
I had to look this one up, because even though it's one of the longest songs on the album, I didn't remember it at all. Then I remembered it was a song about Freddy Krueger. How original!! I imagine Scott Ian feeling like the older brother does when the younger brother copies everything he does. Like if you get a skateboard, and your little bro makes his own out of an ironing board and rollerskate wheels and follows you around all over the place. Not only does he get it all wrong, it's embarrassing for everybody involved, but you don't tell him to stop because you know how bad it would hurt his feelings. But you know Scott must have been like, "Dude... you gotta find your own voice... we already did the Freddy thing. At least write about Jason."
"That Noise" – 0:13
Funny when SOD did it, lame when MOD did it (I know, you might as well say that about Billy Milano's entire career after "Stormtroopers of Death"). I'm sure Alex Perialis was tickled to death.
"Dead Men/Most/Captain Crunch" – 3:30
Yet another example of Billy Milano mercilessly flogging SOD's material. "Milk" was mildly amusing, but the joke was over after that. Apparently he didn't notice, though, and chose to trot it out again. Ha ha, isn't it funny that a thrash band wrote a song about cereal?! How whimsical! What an ironic contrast to the angry, aggressive nature of their music!
"Jim Gordon" – 2:39
Never got into this one, but I was never really into the whole obsession with serial killers and stuff. Probably because my dad worked in a prison for 25 years and we talked about murder and arson over dinner since as long as I can remember, so the novelty factor wasn't there.
"Imported Society" – 1:46
I think they should have called this song "Speak English or Die." Oh wait! How about, "Stealing Scott Ian's Ideas, A Book By Billy Milano?"
"Spandex Enormity" – 5:27
If we can put aside for a moment the absurdity of MOD groupies, much less the idea that some of them would not be disgusting blobs, this song is one of the best on the album. "Don't talk to me, talk to Nick!" "You fucking fat bitch, I've had enough of you!" Great song, but does it really need to be five-and-a-half fucking minutes long?!
"Short But Sweet" – 0:06
File under "Recycled, stale SOD material."
"Parents" – 1:39
Boring, don't care. Liked the Descendents song "Parents" better.
"Confusion"/"You're X'ed" – 2:48 (written by The Faith)
Boring, don't care part II.
"A.I.D.S." – 2:00
Possibly even more ignorant and shocking than "Aren't You Hungry" because unlike the title track, which I'm sure is a joke, there's a good possibility this one is sincere. Either way, it still manages to be pretty fucking offensive in the 2K9, which is no mean feat.
"Ruptured Nuptuals" – 0:13
I love this one! It's so simple yet it says so much: "You broke your vows, you dirty bitch, I'll kick you in your cunt!" It has that kind of hard-hitting directness that makes me love Death Threat so much: "I know no other way to take the pain. Instead of trying to make things better, I get fucked up everyday." Or when Dismember called their album "Death Metal." You don't know what else to do but shrug and nod as if to say, "Well, yeah, that's death metal all right..."
"Ode to Harry" – 1:31
Another novelty song. Mildly amusing, xenophobic lyrics, but not good enough to make me like the song. Whew, I'm getting fucking sick of writing about this band! Why are there so many goddamn songs on this record? I'm never doing another retroview like this.
"Hate Tank" – 2:20
When you see it coming, the shit runs down your leg! Good way to finish the album strong, especially after a stinker like "Ode to Harry." Also, any song with a reference to The Love Boat is OK in my book. I would be really excited if any readers can point to examples of thrash songs about some of my other favorite shows like Riptide, Simon & Simon, 21 Jump Street and CHiPs. For some reason I feel like Stikky had a song about CHiPs, but I may be wrong. Do kids under 25 or so know what CHiPs is? If not, it's a sad day for humanity. I love that show! I used to get up at 7AM on my summer vacation when I was 15 or 16 to watch reruns of it and Charlie's Angels every morning. And by the way, Skullkrusher looks and acts a lot like Officer Francis Llewelyn "Ponch" Poncharello.
Fuck, that was torturous! What do you guys think of this format? It's a lot of work, but I feel like it does the best job of truly diving into a classic release like "USA For MOD." I definitely don't want to do it for just any album, but for the right record, I think it's worth it. Maybe next time I will do a track-by-track review of Nocturnus "The Key" and/or "Thresholds"? There is certainly plenty of material there! Maybe I can help to explain the finer points of "Enter the Droids" for you simpletons and new jacks.