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We have lift off - 90%

morbert, May 21st, 2007

With this album being unleashed Nuclear Assault immediately reached out to the world and solidified their importance in thrash metal history. Of course their best work was still to come and they still had to crystallise their own sound but Nuclear Assault already had enough character going on here to put them on the map in a very crowded scene.

Not only did Nuclear Assault differ from (most) contemporary thrashers in sound (John Connelly has a very specific voice), but also their lyrical content which was on the socially aware side of the thrash metal spectrum instead of singing about bikes, studs, babes or mr. Satan himself. Contrasting with their PC lyrics Nuclear Assault also were in the mood for a joke and each album features some.

On ‘Game Over’ Nuclear Assault isn’t always Nuclear Assault yet. At times one can hear the band searching for their own sound and incidentally incorporating some generic speed and heavy metal ideas. ‘Sin’ and ‘Stranded in Hell’ weren’t pure thrashers but on the aggressive side of speed metal. Songs with a more than obvious touch of old (Fisful-era) Anthrax. Which obviously is no surprise considering Dan Lilker’s history. This does not take away the fact that these are just great songs! However ‘Cold Steel’ and ‘Vengeance’ are of lesser quality and somewhat generic but still enjoyable since especially ‘Cold Steel’ has a great chorus.
‘Betrayal’ is by far the least impressive song with long dull mid tempo parts and a mediocre vocal melody.

‘Radiation Sickness’ and ‘After the Holocaust’ are high quality thrashers that indicate the path Nuclear Assault would choose on later albums. Something which also could be said about the anthemic classic ‘Brain Death’ with the exception of its slightly overstretched mid paced middle section. What becomes most obvious on Game Over is that Nuclear Assault simply sound at their best when playing at full speed. Even though John Connelly has the ability to mix screaming with what might be called vocal lines, he excels when the whole band speeds up.

And when discussing Dan Lilker one cannot deny, apart from the Anthrax history, that the Crab Society and S.O.D. days had left their mark, resulting in the funny short tunes ‘Hang The Pope’, ‘Mr. Softee Theme’ and ‘My America’. The addition of short funny songs was kept on their next releases even though none of them would ever touch the brilliance of the highly DRI-influenced S.O.D.-ish song ‘Hang The Pope’ which remained a staple live song.

‘Game Over’ introduced John Connelly’s manic vocals to the world and some Nuclear Assault classics. Something we al should be happy about. The album was very good but they even got better on their next two full lengths!