Almost every band has that album: you know, the critically and/or commercially reviled dud in an otherwise passable-to-radical back catalog. Well, every Wednesday morning, a Decibel staffer or special guest will take to the Deciblog to bitch and moan at length as to why everybody’s full of shit and said dud is, in fact, The Shit. Today, former fucking intern Frank Lemke gets stupid for S.O.D.‘s Bigger Than the Devil.
This album was bad timing for me.
I was in seventh grade when it happened. Besides all the drugs, my friends and I had begun to experiment with heavy metal. Then, it turned out that my distant cousin Mitch, a fat yuppie, was a closet metalhead. I guess my mom told him I liked heavy metal or something, because that year at Thanksgiving he dumped his unwanted crap collection on me. Things like Danzig III, The Brown Album, Down on the Upside and Bigger Than the Devil. The little gears in my head spun, and for some reason I thought that big Mitch was doing me the ultimate solid, hooking me up with the hidden jewels. Right.
I went face first into those albums, and I can tell you that Bigger Than the Devil is a good one. I guess you’ve never had a dirty black summer, either? Fuck off. This album is goddamn fucking aggressive and heavy, and catchy as hell. What else? What is the problem here? Speak English or Die? I don’t even listen to that one. I’m not racist.
Nah man, it’s all about the Devil. It’s a great follow-up to Speak English, anyway. It’s similar enough; it’s not Cold Lake or Load or something. It’s pure solid metal, pure solid stupid, not a single bad song. D-beating, blasting, breaking down, still doing it better than anyone else and still just for a laugh. OK, it’s more polished. That’s it. Lilker’s tone is filthier and louder, and it sounds great. The moshes and oranges are undeniable. Try and deny any mosh or orange on this fucking album.
Every song rocks, bringing either a killer riff or a headbanging break or a decent laugh. Most do all three. That first riff, “Bigger Than the Devil.” Shit. When that song kicks in, semen squirts out of my tear ducts because my brain is cumming. Strange but true. And the lyrics really made an impression on me. I was getting over Jesus, and I was highly receptive to Billy taking a massive shit on all religions and then Schindler’s List, too. Now carve that fucking swastika into your head.
“Crackhead Song,” come on, it’s a completely classic S.O.D. riff. Definitely slamming. “Kill the Assholes” proves that they didn’t progress at all; they’re still doing the same thing! “Charlie Don’t Cheat,” a blasting clinic for kicks. “The Song That Don’t Go Fast”—pretty fucking stupid, very fucking funny, down to the last note. “King at the King/Evil Is In” has a hilarious fucking intro before the blackened riffery and battery. “Black War,” a simple hateful D-beat blasterpiece.
“Free Dirty Needles”? Yes please. Even songs that should be a miss, like “Monkeys Rule” or “We All Bleed Red,” have redeeming riffs and moments of genius. For example, the lyric “Pakistan and India, your dots are so alike.” Ha! Songs like “Every Tiny Molecule” and “Aren’t You Hungry” would be forgettable… if they weren’t so fucking heavy and angry. Perfect crossover. Twenty-five songs in 40 minutes, entirely relentless. And a few more ballads for posterity? Sure, why the hell not.
The cover art is good, too. Though I didn’t get the Number of the Beast reference at the time, it was another crucial push towards Satan. And we can’t forget the inside art: portraits of the band as Simpsons characters.
Then there’s all the awesome bands and music you can segue to through this album: all of their other projects plus Celtic Frost. Score. And of course, any excuse to mention the song “A.I.D.S.” by M.O.D. is very, very welcome. And here it is. That song is hysterical.
But yeah, by next Thanksgiving I had listened to Bigger Than The Devil a hundred times and I loved it, and I finally got to ask Mitch why he got rid of it. “Because it fucking sucked,” he told me. “I thought it was going to be good, like the first one… but it fucking sucked.”
1. “Bigger Than the Devil”
2. “The Crackhead Song”
3. “Kill the Assholes”
4. “Monkeys Rule”
5. “Skool Bus”
6. “King at the King/Evil Is In”
7. “Black War”
8. “Celtic Frosted Flakes”
9. “Charlie Don’t Cheat”
10. “The Song That Don’t Go Fast”
12. “Dog on the Tracks”
14. “Make Room, Make Room”
15. “Free Dirty Needles”
17. “Noise That’s What”
18. “We All Bleed Red”
19. “Frankenstein and His Horse”
20. “Every Tiny Molecule”
21. “Aren’t You Hungry?”
23. “Ballad of Michael H.”
24. “Ballad of Phil H.”
25. “Moment of Truth”