|After finishing his guitar tracks on the Anthrax album Spreading the Disease, Scott Ian would draw pictures of the face of a character known as "Sargent D". The pictures would be accompanied by slogans such as "I'm not racist, I hate everyone equally, so fuck you" and "Speak English or Die", and Ian would write lyrics about this character. He decided to form a hardcore band based on Sargent D, so he recruited Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, ex-Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker and Psychos bassist Billy Milano.
They recorded a 63-song demo called Crab Society North and set to work on an album for Johnny Zazula's Megaforce Records. The record, entitled Speak English or Die, was recorded and mixed over three days and has since been recognized as a landmark recording. They toured the record in 1985 supporting, amongst others, Motörhead and The Plasmatics. Their planned follow-up, "USA For S.O.D.", was never recorded.
After the tour finished, Lilker carried on with the band Nuclear Assault while Benante and Ian carried on with Anthrax and Milano formed the spin-off band Method of Destruction, more popularly known as M.O.D. The first album by M.O.D., U.S.A. for M.O.D., featured many lyrics written by Scott Ian, as well as an altered version of "Aren't You Hungry", an unrecorded S.O.D. song from the 1985 tour.
S.O.D. would reform for a one-off gig in New York City in 1992, released as the live album Live at Budokan. The record featured most of the studio album, a few songs from the demo and covers of Ministry, Nirvana and American hardcore punk band Fear.
In 1997, SOD re-reunited to play the Milwaukee Metal Fest. They played their first European gig at the With Full Force festival in Germany, and in 1999 the second studio album was released. Bigger Than the Devil, with its hardcore metal and black humor, was welcomed by fans and the band toured again in the late 90s. Bigger Than the Devil also featured the original S.O.D. version of Aren't You Hungry.
In 2001 the DVD/video Speak English or Live was released. It added to the original "Live at Budokan" video by including a gig from a German metal festival and footage of the band recording overdubs for live tracks recorded in Japan. These would be included on the platinum reissue of the debut, along with two new studio tracks, to celebrate sales of one million for Speak English or Die.
In 2002 the tour movie Kill Yourself: The Movie was released on DVD. Metal magazines reported in 2003 that the band was over due to disagreements between Scott Ian and Billy Milano. Benante and Ian went back to Anthrax, Milano carried on with M.O.D., and Lilker was involved with multiple other bands.
An interesting note of the band is that they release an album every seven years, and because of this, some fans were expecting a release in 2006. In 2005, Megaforce Records released a new S.O.D. live DVD, 20 Years of Dysfunction, and the label's website claimed that a new S.O.D. CD "will be forthcoming in the winter of 2005". That, coupled with Heather Lilker's statement that S.O.D. are under contract by Nuclear Blast to release one more album, it does appear that there will be a third record at some point.
There is an extended EP of live material and unreleased songs called Rise Of The Infidels which was released on August 21st 2007 on Megaforce Records. According to singer Milano "(the EP) will finally be the last of S.O.D.", laying to rest rumours of a S.O.D. re-union. The EP will contain four unreleased tracks; 'Stand Up and Fight', 'Java Amigo', 'United and Strong' and 'Ready to Fight'. Three of these tracks have, however, been released previously; 'Stand Up And Fight' and 'Java Amigo' were released on the New York's Hardest Vol. 3 compilation, whereas 'United And Strong' can be found on the Japanese version of Live At Budokan. To further complicate matters, 'Stand Up And Fight' was called 'Pathmark Song' on the New York compilation. 'Ready To Fight' is a cover song originally by Negative Approach. 'United and Strong' is a cover song originally by Agnostic Front.