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Beside the classic thrash metal, in the 80s we could find lots of different hardcore and crossover groups born at the beginning of that decade. The most famous ones were Suicidal Tendencies, M.O.D. and S.O.D. for example. Then, there were different bands that tried to mix both these two kinds of metal with their particular touch, one of these were Nuclear Assault. This group is quite important for those who want to know where the crossover/thrash reached the top and this “Game Over” is the manifest.
The speed, the spontaneity of the hardcore is mixed with the more complex and structured thrash metal without disliking some speed metal viruses. “Sin” is the first classic example of that with a long solo break in the middle with mid paced riffs on the background and following restarts. The melodies are quite catchy in their rawness and the Connelly’s vocals are fucking twisted in that childish touch, being quite completely detached from the instruments sound. Anyway, it’s damn personal and recognizable.
“Cold Steel” has something of Dark Angel’ “Darkness Descends” on it for the tempo and the raw riffage with the pounding bass, always so powerful. Anyway, they didn’t have that potential and strong sound. Thanks to several tempo changes and riffs that remain stuck in your head, Nuclear Assault in this album don’t result boring or annoying, always being able to capture your attention.
The tracks are not technical for sure and it’s enough to listen to the main riff on “Betrayal” and the following solos to realize that. But, in this case, who cares? They are unique in this way and I couldn’t imagine a technical Nuclear Assault! It would be so weird. The punk essentiality of lots of riffs is very important to understand how this genre was important those days for the growing grind movement that brought this essentiality to the extreme.
It’s also good and important to notice how some solos are quite melodic, forgetting a bit the classic non sense tremolo picking to focus the attention on different parts and sounds. “Hang The Pope” is the classic example of proto grindcore with semi blast beats and the sick vocals by the great Lilker. But exactly when everything seemed so extreme we have the doom, murky beginning to “Letter After The Holocaust” or the long, obscure “Brain Dead”. That’s the great thing. On the other hand we can still find a weird song like “My America” and it’s exactly here that lies the greatness of this album: it’s quite mature but essential and minimal at the same time.
This is their masterpiece in my opinion because here that formula was not abused and each influence was perfectly balanced. Great album.