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Stormtroopers Of Death – at the time featuring vocalist Billy Milano, guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Dan Lilker, and drummer Charlie Benante – put out their debut album Speak English Or Die in 1985. Twelve tracks into the album came “Milk”, where Benante changed the metal world by offering up the first-ever recorded version of a blastbeat.

In an interview with Drumeo, Benante said his blast stemmed from Lilker asking for “more of a fast paddling” beat behind one of the riffs in “Milk”. As for who blasted first, you can argue that Asocial did it or D.R.I. did as Benante points out, but Stormtroopers Of Death was arguably the most popular one in metal to have to done it up that point.

“There was this one song called ‘Milk’ and the riff was really fast, and Danny Lilker the bass player, he said he wanted to be more of a fast kind of paddling. So not just like [a skank beat], he wanted it to be like [more of what we know as a blast today]. So it’s basically a one foot blast.

“When we recorded it, we had so much fun doing it, and then when we would play it live it would kind of evolve into… instead of a one-foot blast it became [different types of double kick blasts]. The the blast was something that… I think it’s the first time it appears on a record. I think D.R.I. had something similar on the Dirty Rotten EP, but I think this specific song, and this specific band influenced a lot of bands to come.

Benante then talks about the drummers that picked up blasting after “Milk” was released, noting that Nick Barker‘s performance on Dimmu Borgir‘s 2001 album Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia was the one that left his jaw on the floor.

“I think the first time I heard it was maybe Pete Sandoval [with] Morbid Angel, and then Cannibal Corpse, Paul [Mazurkiewicz] was doing it. Then of course the black metal band started to pick up on it. They did it a little differently, more of the two foot, more independent.

“I think the best one for me was on the Dimmu Borgir record, the first one with Nick Barker. I think that’s when the blastbeat became like, ‘what the fuck is that?’ Especially for me hearing that record for the first time, I was completely blown away by his playing and and just the style and the band itself. Then it started to become very popular popular and then it started to get into the drumming kind of the vernacular. Now you got little kids and their mother doing the blastbeat.”

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