Usually, when a vault-scouring collection like this burbles to the surface, you can figure out exactly who in the band was behind on a few truck payments and needed to get something released quick. But with the seemingly irreparable schism between S.O.D. members Scott Ian and Billy Milano, it's tough to tell just whose bright idea this was. Given that Milano had to at least go in and re-record one set of vocals, and that the sloppily-edited liner notes match his style of rant, the money's on him — but given the state of ANTHRAX these days, it could just as easily be Scott or Charlie Benante shaking the last few ducats from the poor, plucked money tree growing out of Sargent "D"'s grave.
Think I'm being a dick? Here's what you get for your purchase — two "new" songs, already released six years ago on a relatively obscure compilation called "New York's Hardest", with the lyrics to "Pathmark Song" changed to "Stand Up and Fight". Two cover tunes, apparently recorded around the same time, which at least do justice to AGNOSTIC FRONT and NEGATIVE APPROACH. And a bootleg-quality live recording from a Seattle show (note the playing of "The Ballad of Kurt Cobain" — twice — who said S.O.D. weren't the masters of subtlety?) The guitar is audibly out of tune during the encore, and the sound quality varies from passable to total crap throughout the live show.
Of course, an S.O.D. show kinda should sound like a truckload of shit, interspersed with Milano occasionally insulting Seattle scenesters' haircuts and telling people to shut the fuck up. And since this is being billed as a ludicrously long EP, instead of a full-length, chances are it'll be cheap to pick up. And hey, how often do you get to add new STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH material to your collection (shame on you, whoever just said "who needs to")? You can own the band's complete discography, including this release, for less than what some dudes pay for the import vinyl singles from one IRON MAIDEN album.
Bottom line — it's fun, it's mostly pointless, and it won't register a blip on the radar to the 90% of the world for whom "Speak English or Die" remains the be-all, end-all (ha!) of S.O.D.'s existence. If you bought the second pressing of 1999's "Bigger Than the Devil" just so you could get "Seasoning the Obese" on CD even though you already had the split 7" with YELLOW MACHINEGUN, though, this little nugget of collectable joy is right up your alley. Buy it, spin it, then clear the decks for yet another Milano-led new M.O.D. lineup and ANTHRAX's, well, whatever the hell it is they're doing.
On second thought, somebody put some Miracle-Gro around the roots of that money tree, will ya? Come back, Sarge! All is forgiven!