Review by Sonny for Nuclear Assault - Game Over (1986)
I have only had a limited exposure to Nuclear Assault over the years. I did see them support Slayer on the South of Heaven tour in the UK and the main thing I remember about their performance was them taking the piss out of hardcore for about five minutes by making lengthy introductions to songs that only lasted ten seconds or so. Their Handle With Care was also one of the first of those new-fangled CD things that I bought in the early nineties and was one of those albums that was kinda OK, but didn't exactly blow me away.
Game Over was the NY thrashers debut released in 1986 and is a more immediate and vital release than Handle With Care. It obviously has a hardcore/crossover influence with quite short track lengths in the main and an urgent, punkish delivery that conjures up images of frantically flailing bodies hurling themselves into seething mosh pits. Consequently the tracks tend to blur together and the album does have a breakneck runaway train quality to it and I don't say that as a criticism. They occasionaly thrust their tongues firmly into their cheeks as presumably a track like Hang the Pope is not to be taken too seriously, or at worst was designed merely to bait the PMRC (no bad thing that).
The guitar tone is not the best, it's a bit harsh and, in all honesty is a bit hard on the ears. Conversely Dan Lilker's bass manages to underpin the tracks and the ex-Anthrax bass man provides a solid foundation upon which the rest of the band can wreak their nuclear-fuelled destruction.
I must admit I enjoyed this much more than Handle With Care, despite the mediocre production job and it's energetic thrashing is just the thing if you want to work out some aggression. The band's fascination with nuclear annihilation is in full flow on Game Over and the album's best tracks are those Mutually Assured Destruction-themed tracks - Nuclear War being my personal favourite, but Radiation Sickness and After the Holocaust are both very good tracks. Ultimately a pretty good debut that I enjoyed for it's unapologetic aggression from a band that are really only seen as peripheral in the thrash metal history books.