Nuclear Assault’s “Critical Mass” was one of those videos that just wouldn’t go away. For over a year, I saw that video weekly on Headbanger’s Ball back in the late 80’s. If you ever saw it, you’ld remember it. Along with the extremely catchy chorus, the video contained images of the band playing in the desert, Jessica Hahn sunbathing, and a one-eyed happy-face ball which bounced along with the scrolling lyrics at the bottom of the screen. Headbanger’s Ball is responsible for introducing thousands of kids to Nuclear Assault, me being one of them.
Unfortunately, the big time avoided Nuclear Assault, and in 1992 when Dan Lilker (Anthrax/S.O.D.) left to form Brutal Truth, the band quickly dissipated.
Ten years later, the boys decided to reform and play a few summer festivals. Alive Again is one of those shows, recorded live during a concert in Massachusetts. Response has been so great, that the band is planning on recording a new studio album next year, the first in over a decade.
Alive Again spans the band’s entire ten year career by including cuts from all six of the band’s studio albums. From the opening riffs of “Rise From the Ashes” to the end of “Hang the Pope,” it’s made clear to listeners that Nucelar Assault still has it.
Those who missed Nuclear Assault the first time around will be sonically transported back to the hay day of thrash music, the late 80’s. Tracks like “Trail of Tears” and the aforementioned “Critical Mass” show why Nuclear Assault became as popular as they were, and probably would have gained even more popularity had grunge not taken over the music world and kicked metal in the crotch.
Alive Again also includes a three minute interview and a three minute live video clip on the CD that you can watch on your computer. Both clips are interesting, but don’t offer enough to bring even fans back more than once or twice.
What will bring fans back, however, is Nuclear Assault. The band sounds as tight and quick as they did ten years ago. In a music scene filled with tons of genres and even more subcategories, it’s nice to hear some straight up thrash for a change. Recommended for everyone who was there at the time, and everyone else who wishes they were.