Stormtroopers of Death, more commonly known as S.O.D., formed in New York in 1985. They are commonly credited as being among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal into a style sometimes called "crossover thrash". They have also been a subject of controversy due to their politically-incorrect lyrics, in particular a track named "Speak English or Die".
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" 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 on vocals.
After Anthrax finished recording Spreading the Disease, there still was some studio time left, so Scott Ian and Charlie Benante called some friends, practiced some songs, and recorded it all within a week. It was released in 1985 and re-released on the Megaforce label in August 1995. A platinum edition of the album was released in February 2000. Dan Lilker has stated, "The lyrics were never intended to be serious, just to piss people off."