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The year was 1985. Anthrax was in the midst of recording Spreading the Disease and Scott Ian sat bored in the studio. With guitar tracking complete, Ian began drawing cartoons. From these doodles, the world’s most wretched pile of hate-mongering filth was born. Dubbed Sargent D, this fascist villain began his ascent to world domination.

Sargent D Black

A living skull in an army helmet, Sargent D puffed on a cigar as he spewed words of hatred. Phrases like, “I’m not prejudice, I hate everyone equally” and “Don’t smoke, I’ll rip your lungs out for you,” were captured in comic book style balloons. Of all these early slogans, one in particular would become his signature message of hate. “Speak English or Die.”


Ian soon began writing songs about Sargent D. His legendary exploits are immortalized in “Sargent D and the S.O.D.”

Ruthless and vicious, he’ll stomp on your face
Deadly, malicious, stay outta his space
He’ll rip your eyes out, don’t you look the wrong way
And once you meet him, there’s no time to pray

He’ll rip your heart out, make you eat your own lips
He’ll crack your elbows and crush fingertips

He’ll make you wish that you didn’t exist
‘Cause Sargent D is coming and you’re on his list

sargent d
Sargent D’s violent tendencies are only a fraction of his twisted psyche. The second verse reveals the true nature of this undead psychopath.

Don’t cut the line ’cause he’ll cut off your legs
Don’t waste your time or you’ll spend time with the dead
Don’t try to trick him ’cause he’ll fill you with lead
Don’t beg for mercy, he’ll piss on your head

He’ll kill your sister, then mail back the tits
He’ll beat you senseless, then break out the whips

He’ll make you wish that you didn’t exist
‘Cause Sargent D is coming and you’re on his list

Yes, Sargent D will piss on your head. He will not simply kill your sister, but hack off her breasts and mail them to your front door. Anyone that took the album title seriously completely missed the point. Sargent D was a comic book character, and like the band that would sing his songs, a joke.

sargent d doll

Assembling a band was easy. Fellow Anthrax member Charlie Benante assumed the drum kit and Danny Lilker was recalled from Nuclear Assault to round out the rhythm section.

Although most of the Fistful of Metal line-up was re-united, the music sounded NOTHING like Anthrax. It was faster. Heavier. Yet, one problem remained. What man could possibly possess a voice capable of channeling Sargent D? This man would not be found in the metal scene, but rather, at a hardcore show.

Billy Milano

A bouncer at CBGBs, Billy Milano had the physical presence to intimidate. A bassist with no vocal experience, Ian instinctively knew that Milano was the man for the job. He was right. When Milano sang, his voice was as angry as Sargent D himself. S.O.D. was now complete.

s.o.d. 1985

speak english or die

With Sargent D gracing the cover, Speak English or Die was released in 1985. After a short tour, it was back to Anthrax and Nuclear Assault. Milano would keep the spirit of S.O.D. alive by forming M.O.D. While his name is never uttered, the spirit of Sargent D can be felt throughout that band’s first album.

usa for mod

Years slipped away. Many discovered Speak English or Die. Yet, it was widely known that S.O.D. would never rise again. Then, in 1992, the unthinkable happened. S.O.D. reunited.

s.o.d. 1992

In true S.O.D. fashion, the reunion lasted a single show. Fortunately that concert was documented in a live album and video. The show may have been in New York, but it was an event of such magnitude, the record was titled Live at Budokan. Of course Sargent D graces the cover.

live at budokan

Poised as Godzilla, throngs of Japanese people run for their lives as Sargent D wreaks havoc upon the city. Still puffing away on his cigar, Sargent D remains comically villainous.

Again, S.O.D. slipped away. Years passed, but a precedent had been set. Would there be another reunion? In 1999, S.O.D. reformed once again. This time the band released a new album of studio material.

Sargent D loomed larger than ever. He now boldly took on another famous mascot. The cover of Bigger Than the Devil mocked Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast. Instead of Eddie pulling the strings of the devil, Sargent D reigns supreme.

Bigger Than The Devil

Another famous album cover was desecrated when S.O.D. released Kill Yourself: The Movie. The cross from Appetite for Destruction was inverted as the faces of Scott, Dan, Charlie and Billy took the place of GN’R members. Naturally Sargent D stood front and center.

kill yourself

Will we get another visit from Sargent D? It’s not likely. Then again, S.O.D. was never meant to exist beyond Speak English or Die. Though band members have made it clear that there will be no reunion, one can always hold out hope. Never say never!

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