Billy Milano is 53. Let that sink in a while. If you grew up worshiping S.O.D. and his later offshoot act, M.O.D., or had the pleasure of being annihilated by him in the mosh pits of L’Amour Brooklyn, it’s almost impossible to imagine the man as anything but the loud mouth, barrel chested bruiser he was back in the 80s and 90s. We all grow up though. We all get older, change and evolve. All except Billy, that is. Busted, Broke & American is the first M.O.D. album since 2007s Red White and Screwed, and if you’re expecting a wiser, more restrained Billy, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This is vulgar, angry New York hardcore crossover metal and it’s not subtle or nuanced in the least, and I can’t imagine it any other way with Mr. Milano involved. It’s also a veritable cross-section of the hardcore and classic punk genres with numerous nods to the style’s legendary acts. But does the M.O.D. sound still resonate all these years after their creative peak?

Going back and listening to the old M.O.D. stuff, it’s shocking how offensive the lyrics actually were. Racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic, they offended everyone and anyone, and in my youth, I soaked it all in and found it hilarious. Busted lacks the obvious put downs of minority groups and gays, but it’s still plenty vitriolic. Billy’s wrath now seems focused on the American government, society and the economy, with frequent tirades about poverty and broken dreams. Opening with a speech from President Eisenhower decrying the military-industrial complex and ending with a speech from President Kennedy warning of secret and closed societies, this might seem a more cerebral foundation than the typical M.O.D. fare. Fear not though, as it gets plenty nasty very quickly. Opener “The Final Declaration” is a savage, thrashy call to arms with more aggression than many youthful thrash acts could conjure up, and the chorus is surprisingly powerful and compelling. It has an Agnostic Front vibe and its punky energy is infectious like conjunctivitis. “You’re a Fucking Dick” is a throwback to the band’s older material with hardcore speed mixed with tongue-in-cheek goofiness. It’s plenty juvenile but amusing nonetheless.

The remainder of Busted is cynical, hostile and boisterous, with the title track delivering both a screed against the U.S. economy AND high-end coffee-house culture replete with the immortal line “You’re a frappuccino fucking asshole.” The song has a huge Murphy’s Law influence but it’s way more hostile than those cornball cutups ever were. “Hooligan” channels The Misfits when it’s not trying to d-beat your face in, and the seemingly autobiographical “Shattered Dreams and Broken Glass” also utilizes that bouncy, oddly catchy style despite the thrashy delivery. Billy even attempts some Danzig-esque hollering here with semi-respectable results.

Most of the songs are under 3 minutes and by its nature the album roars past like a drive by, lasting just over 32 minutes. While Billy’s vocals are recognizable for the most part, this doesn’t sound all that much like the classic M.O.D. material except for an occasionally familiar sounding riff or silly vocal choice. A lot of the lyrical subject matter devolves into talk of fights and street beat downs, which is less convincing coming from a guy in his 50s, but the hardcore attitude is there and it sounds legitimate more often than not. That said, it’s not really breaking any ground in hardcore or metal and though it’s a painless spin overall, it pales in comparison to the band’s classic material.

Billy himself sounds surprisingly powerful and bellicose. He has a strong, hoarse roar and sounds convincingly pissed off for much of Busted. His attempts to sing are not as bad as you might expect, but they’re not exactly technically proficient either, especially on the finale of “Go Go Revolution.” His backing band is competent and at times impressive, as on “The Final Declaration,” and they successfully pay homage to punk acts like Mucky Pup and D.R.I. with some of their riffs and rhythms (not surprising as drumming is handled by Felix Griffin of D.R.I. fame).

Billy has said this will likely be the last album he’ll ever do, and as a finale to his on-and-off-again career as a hardcore icon of sorts, there are worse ways to go out. Busted, Broke & American is better than much of M.O.D.‘s 90s and 00s material, and there’s definitely a defiant, fuck the world attitude that makes for a fun listen,  but it’s still a mixed bag of punk crud. Not as riotous and comical as the old stuff, not as deadly serious as hardcore heavyweights like Agnostic Front or Madball, it’s off in its own little crossover bubble. Not essential, but way more youthful and pissed off than most 53-year-old dudes could ever pull off. Kudos, Billy. You’re one of a kind.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Megaforce Records
Websites: milanomosh.comfacebook.com/methodofdestruction
Releases Worldwide: July 7th, 2017

 

 

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  • themetalyears

    Headbangers Ball

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I never pegged you as the hardcore type, Steel. I thought proto Metal and classic Doom were, and still are, your early loves. Were you one of the lucky ones that frequented CBGB in its heyday?

    Billy’s an interesting fellow. I hope I have as much piss and vinegar when I’m his age.

    • I was into the hardcore crossover scene in my teens as well as metal. I did go to CBGBs a few times for the ritual ass kicking that came with it, but mostly stuck to metal clubs like L’Amour, Sundance and The Ritz.

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Why do guys who constantly bitch and moan about minorities, government conspiracies and other assorted ‘old man’ nonsense never seem to care how unhealthy they are or look. Jesus maybe someone would take your 2 cents more serious if you had a bit more pride in your appearance.

    • Drew Music

      Considering how much energy the dude has put into sonically beating traditional modern society to death, there’s a good chance that he is proud of his appearance. It clearly isn’t in line with the image you have of someone who is to be taken seriously, and to each their own there as individual biases are what dictate such preconceptions as it is, but my own inappropriately groomed two cents would wager that his image is very much in line with what he’s hoping for it to be.

      • I tend to agree. It’s not really going to work for Billy to wear a suit and be well quaffed and still deliver this kind of material.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I think you might be onto something… Just look at what happened that one time Dan Lilker took a shower and the effect it had on his career.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/67b86aff482e93f89733004be8eafea05669edb298cde3358e96fb5e644fa579.png

      • He really cleans up when he’s Yanni.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        Ugh, Dan Lilker looks like somebody ran over Dee Snyder with a steamroller.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          More a garbage truck than a steamroller, don’t you think?

  • wayne the devil

    A passing observation….I was just whistling “Ode to Harry” right before I read this review…weird man, weird….anyone remember the crank call to Billy that Alex and Max included on the Nailbomb album….it captures BIlly’s attitude pretty well I thought……

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    Well worded and thought out review, looking forward to checking this out especially after those name drops.

  • Bas

    Ah.. Mucky Pup.. My first concert ..

    I’ll check this album.. Havent listen to MOD/SOD in ages (not to Mucky Pup either, but not feeling such an urge to check it out at the moment).

  • Nukenado

    What is it with bands calling themselves _.O.D.?

    • GardensTale

      Not to forget the true masters of brutal slamcore, P.O.D.

      • Nukenado

        I deliberately didn’t mention them! Why?!

  • Wilhelm

    Something about this guy doesn’t sit well with me, I remember an old MOD interview where he was using racial slurs and saying all this offensive stuff, saw him live saying the same shit…and apparently he’s an outspoken Republican (go figure) – a far cry from the ideology of the punk/hardcore scene. I enjoyed the SOD album in my youth but that’s about as much as I can take from this guy.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      There’s plenty of racism on the MOD records themselves too. Billy Milano’s always been the lowest common denominator and his bands are an embarrassment to both the metal and hardcore scenes. Just sad, stupid, ugly, and useless.

  • Patrick Bertlein

    I saw MOD with Crisis. let that sink in.

    And yes, I mean the band which I think at the time the only white dude in the band was the new drummer, who had black and I believe Asian and Middle Eastern members, and a female singer that focused more on kicking ass than being a female singer.

    I bet Billy is reaalllly racist and sexist, right? Toured with the same band that had a song called Sweething, but booo hoo your feelings were hurt by an interview. Fuckers.