by Martin Popoff

I asked Charlie to explain the continued relevance of the short, sharp shock attack known as Stormtroopers Of Death. After all, with a mere two records in 16 years (the seminal debut, Speak English Or Die, selling over a million pancakes worldwide), you'd think memories might fade.

"To be honest with you, I think before we went on tour with it, there was this cool mystique about S.O.D.. People knew us from other bands, but they didn't know us as a unit. No one had ever heard or seen these songs performed live. And I guess what that video did was spark an interest. And then about two years ago we went on tour and hit a lot of places and it offered the chance for people to see us right in their face. And I guess that took some of the mystique away but it also satisfied a lot of people who wanted to be there and hear these songs coming off a stage, being a part of it and letting all the 15 years of built-up SOD aggression, let it out for that one night, you know?"

"Back in the old days, Billy (Milano - vocals) was a little bit more of an enigma," explains Benante, when asked about the personalities within the band, and how they've changed over the years. "Now being on the road with him, I kind of got a sense what the inside was about. When Billy is around a group of people, he's one of the funniest people ever. And Scott (Ian - guitars), I see Scott a lot, of course. Scott is a showman. When he has to be on, he's on. Danny (Lilker - bass), I think more or less the music and riffs start with Danny Lilker then it bounces off of us. Or I'll have an idea and I'll bounce it off them, or Scott."

But no new S.O.D. plans are afoot at the moment, Benante and Ian turning their attention to Anthrax. Benante explains the recent John Bush-era reissues, as well as commenting on the next, er, spread. "Well, what we have going now is that we've re-released our two records, Sound Of White Noise and Stomp 442, with all sorts of b-sides and it's a killer package we put together for it. Plus we're continuing to write this new record which so far is coming together as a really good collection of music. A friend of mine who was in the studio with us the other day was listening to the songs and we were playing them live and he was just telling us how heavy it was coming out. I didn't even take notice of that, but after listening back, I can hear where he's coming from. We just want to write the best songs we possibly can and I don't want to say it's this type of music or that kind of music. But I can definitely tell you it's definitely not tuned-down and it doesn't sound like Korn."