Review Summary: From the fragments of a young Anthrax comes the birth of a giant.
Meet Nuclear Assault
Nuclear Assault is to Anthrax as Megadeth is to Metallica, rivals. The former Anthrax bassist, Danny Lilker, may not have been as blind to the rage of dismissal as Dave Mustaine; however, Lilker must have had some resentment towards Anthrax. With songs like Betrayal and Vengeance on Nuclear Assault’s first album the stage seems set; Nuclear Assault is going to give Anthrax a run for its money.
So who exactly is Nuclear Assault? In 1984 Anthrax had released its debut album, Fistful of Metal. By that time, though, Anthrax had gone through many line-up changes, it was about to experience another. Shortly that same year Anthrax would expel its bassist, Danny Lilker. Instead of running blind with rage around the big apple, Mr. Lilker and a former Anthrax roadie, John Connelly met thus the making of a new band. (It is amusing to think that out of the fragments of a young Anthrax, the making of a true rival would arise.) With Danny Lilker on bass and John Connelly taking duel duties of vocals and guitar, Nuclear Assault was born; and after must searching powerhouse drummer Glen Evens and guitar hero (no pun intended) Anthony Bramante finished the line-up.
With a solid line-up work on an album soon followed producing Game Over Nuclear Assault’s debut album. Released in 1986 Game over was east coast thrash in its rawest form. With 13 tracks the album runs just over 30minutes long and each song averaging about 3minutes (The track Brain Death being the only exception). Game Over displays the energy of a young band in its prime. The steady riffs of Mr. Connelly seem to resemble songs from Metallica’s Kill em’ All. Mr. Bramante’s solos are skillful and invigorating. The power of Glen Evans’ drum kit is awesome and the thick bass groves from the Lilker cements the band to a proper foundation. Now the vocals . . . Connelly is unique, not like Tony “The Cat” Martin (Black Sabbath) or Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest) unique, but . . . more like Steve “Zethro” Souza (Exodus) unique. John Connelly will not be getting any awards for his vocal duties however he makes it work, the music coming from Nuclear Assault seems to benefit with his different singing techniques.
The Album has a different sound yet, the crunch of the guitars sound familiar; it begins with a short hardcore instrumental introduction. From there after the songs seem to compete with one another to see which one will be the best on the album, which is an impossible task as each song is heavy, loud, and menacing. Most of the songs are about some kind of a nuclear holocaust or the result of one. Some tracks like My America, and “The Mr. Softee Theme” add a sense of fun to an album filled with serious concepts. Though depicting nuclear holocaust themes, Game Over could also refer to the end of Anthrax’s uncontested reign as “The East Coast Thrash Metal band”. If the former is the case then Anthrax was in danger of being dethroned.
Game Over truly puts Nuclear Assault on the map. The power of a young band rising out of the ashes of anger, produced a band capable of taking down a giant. Though the birth and legacy of Nuclear Assault might be lost to all but their make hardcore fan. For a moment, at least, there existed a rivalry with the east coast as the battlefield. Anthrax many have expelled Danny Lilker and used John Connelly’s help as a roadie, but that was not to be there purpose. With the Nuclear Assault line up of: John Connelly (Vocals/Guitar), Anthony Bramante (Guitar), Danny Lilker (Bass), and Glen Evans (Drums), set and an album under their belt it was only a matter of time for Nuclear Assault to deal the next blow.