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Game Fucking Over - 88%

DawnoftheShred, May 15th, 2007

Nuclear Assault's debut is one nasty bastard of an album. Of all the classic thrash albums to come out in '86, Game Over is arguably the rawest, potentially one of the most intense, and easily the most tactless. But what it lacks in tact and refinement it certainly makes up for in attitude and sheer badassness, keeping the metal newbie and the seasoned veteran alike headbanging from riff to riff until its very end.

Things get off right away with the quick instrumental riffage of "L.S.D." before heading into the albums true songs. There's a very punkish quality to the band's playing, most notably in the shorter structure of most of the songs, but also in the frantic drumming, the relatively low-gain guitar distortion, and the quick, pounding (and quite audible) bass playing. Parallels can be drawn to S.O.D.'s debut as well as D.R.I's early output, and that crossover thrash influence is pretty evident throughout. There's even a pair of speedcore numbers thrown in for a quick 30-second or so riff-fest, though they're far less spectacular than the standard songs. Those songs, the brunt of the album, are just long enough to properly develop the mighty riffage of the Bramante/Connelly guitar tagteam, but never too long to bring down the band's massive speed high. Add in some shred-worthy lead, some simple yet effective subject matter, and the insanely energetic vocal delivery of John Connelly and you have a winning recipe for a solid thrash album.

The only truly questionable song (not counting the two short ones) is the album's epic closer, "Brain Death." The song is interesting lyrically, features a nice extended clean intro, and does have some marvellously heavy riffs in the main song section, but the bridge is just too damned drawn out. The same two riffs repeat back and forth for several minutes and there isn't even a real solo (there's a brief lead melody) or a bridge verse to make it interesting. Their hearts were in the right place, but the song just doesn't stand up to the mighty thrashers that come before it.

Oh, and the "Mr. Softee Theme" really sucks. It's unlisted on my copy and fades in right before the first side ends, so i usually just flip the record to avoid hearing it. It's dumb and a waste of vinyl.

But overall, this is a solid...no, a necessary addition to any thrash collection. It's a bit rudimentary when compared to some of its longer, more technical contemporaries, but kicks more than its fair share of ass by the day's end.