(Century Media Records)
I just remember the notice... the bass player of ANTHRAX, Danny Lilker left the band to get into a heavier and more extreme Metal band. Wow! That was just enough for me to follow his deeds. I mean, he was basically the guy who was the 'extreme' one of the aforementioned NY band. The fact is that, after all these years, Danny was more into extreme Hardcore and Punk (which were more or less the roots for Thrash and Speed Metal) and that showcases in this new band. NUCLEAR ASSAULT was considered since day one more like a Thrash / Crossover band. Also as their name, their lyrics reflect a sign of protest, dealing with politics, social issues, and why not, some twisted black humour. With an orange-yellow Ed Repka cover art depicting a nuclear explosion (what were you expecting, really?) this debut album is a really fast paced assault, with very short songs (except the last one 'Brain Dead' which for their standards is almost an epic one). Describing their music for a Metal fan who had no idea of Punk / HC is definitely a big task, but then back in 1986, any Metal fan was aware of bands like D.R.I., CORROSION OF CONFOMITY, UNIFORM CHOICE, CRO-MAGS and many more, which had a metallic edge in their sound. Well, NUCLEAR ASSAULT was a bit like the band that brings together the energy and short-burst songs with more influences from Heavy Metal bands like VENOM, MOTÖRHEAD and JUDAS PRIEST to name a few. At least a big difference from Hardcore and Punk bands was John Conelly's approach to vocals. He is actually a very capable singer, with a high pitched tone, but that fits very well the style of the band. The strength of the band lies within the power they had to compose with very 'catchy' riffs and that although the named influences are definitely in there, they always lean a lot more towards the Heavy / Thrash / Speed Metal zone. Just the way this one starts with the intro 'Live, Suffer, Die' and then the great 'Sin' with a great chorus, or the Speed Metal anthem in 'Betrayal' (with few lyrics but a strong message!) the humorous 'Hang The Pope' (at just 00:46 long!) the fast 'Vengeance' or the catchy 'Stranded In Hell' makes this album a very strong debut. Probably the only minor detail would be the sound of the guitars in the album, which could be better, but it is really no great deals (which by the way get a bit fixed by this re-issue mastering work). I also must mention that Glen Evans drumming is very intense, and that also adds some more neutrons to the music. This new edition is called the 'Radioactive glow' series, as it comes in a glow-in-the-dark slipcase, with a massive 20 page booklet, with all the lyrics included, and it includes the whole "The Plague" EP which continues in the same tradition as the album (although with a noticeable change in the songs length, they are now all over the 4 minutes mark) and also 5 live songs (from their show and live album at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon on April 10th, 1989). The fact that the sound has been given a lift up, and that the actual release is a milestone in the Thrash / Crossover field, combined with such a great package for a re-issue makes this an essential purchase if you already don't have this one. The band is still going on, but as many other old bands, their strength is only to be found in their early release, being this debut one, their best so far. The follow up "Survive" is also quite enjoyable, and "Handle With Care" is ok. The rest, I just really don't care. With this one is more than enough. www.centurymedia.com.
- NUCLEAR ASSAULT - Atomic Waste! Demos & Rehearsals - by Sergei Pismeny
- NUCLEAR ASSAULT - Handle With Care - by Nathan Shapiro