Review: Soldiers of Destruction – ‘Cause and Affect’

It would be a slight understatement to say that the debut album from punk rock outfit Soldiers of Destruction was long overdue. ‘Cause and Affect’ comes some forty years after the inception of the short-lived band in London in 1981 and subsequent split a few years later, and it is definitely not to be confused with ‘Cause and Effect’, the most recent album from the insipid UK saps Keane.

With frontman Mörat being the only original member in this incarnation of S.O.D., it’s left to the “Author, Photographer & Hellraiser” and long-time friend of Lemmy to keep the flag flying (feast on his “How Motorhead’s No Remorse Tour changed my life” tale, here), albeit this time around, from the sunnier climates of Vegas.

It’s punk rock, but none of that watered-down, corporate version of punk that seems to have crawled back out from under whatever rock it was hiding for so long…remember when the mainstream music press referred to The 1975 as punk? Jesus. Kill me now. With this being old-school punk, the bass is way, way high up in the mix, and the teeth-rattling bass licks from Dave Thompson are gigantic; especially on larger-than-life moments such as ‘Cracked’ and ‘Undefeated’. ‘Cause and Affect’ doesn’t hang around and overstay its welcome, the 14 featured tracks come and go in the blink of an eye and are out back smashing windows before the needle reaches the forty-minute mark. Unfortunately, it’s also a very timely album. The band split just as the UK miners’ strike of 1984-85 was beginning, and the poll tax riots of 1990 came six years or so after the bands’ demise, but Mörat has decades of oppression and unrest to call on for subject matter, hence ‘Cause and Affect’ is an angry molotov cocktail of an album born out of the frustration that nothing has really changed over the last few decades.

For all its vitriolic hatred at the current state of the world, and worldwide mistrust in government, ‘Cause and Affect’ has some great moments that many will be able to identify with on a more personal scale. In particular, ‘End of a Rope’ is a throbbing, pulsating tour-de-force that tackles mental health issues by putting them in simple terms that are easy to grasp and understand. No fannying around or skirting around the issue, this is as direct as it gets. And just as the listener is picking themself off the floor, S.O.D. delivers the knockout blow of ‘Amphetamines’ which comes complete with backing vocals from Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, QOTSA). Other moments to single out are the guitar work from Cru on ‘Cheated’; the Booker T-ish rhythm and blues intro of ‘Drinking for Two’ and the rocket-fuelled drum sound from John Feeney once the song kicks in; the full-throttle, from-the-heart tribute to Lemmy on ‘Kilmister’; and the totally gonzo ‘Batshit Crazy’. (“…one bucket short of a fire brigade…”).

‘Cause and Affect’ is exactly what punk rock is supposed to sound like in 2021. Others need to take note.

Available now, more information here.

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