pressure! This year marks the thirtieth anniversary for thrash metal legends Nuclear Assault. It also marks the year
they finally say farewell to the metal world, and bassist Dan Lilker vows that, “we’re going to go out with a bang.” It’s
been ten years too long since we heard any new material from the Big Apple
metalheads, with 2005‘s ‘Third World
Genocide’ receiving scathing feedback from fans and critics alike. Given
all this, the release of their latest EP
‘Pounder’ has a lot riding on it. Thankfully, with ‘Pounder’, the band show a return to form for one final run (or so
they say) with an all-killer-no-filler EP, for the most part.
The self-titled opening track gets to the point
quickly as brutal drums, blistering guitars and a bass with balls blast through
the speakers. With John Connelly’s
solo bringing us neatly into the following track “Lies,” we’re once again assailed with a song full of weight and
brutality, coming to an end with the words “Don’t
believe the lies they tell”, on short repetition but with powerful
delivery. The stand-out third track “Analog Man in a Digital World” shows
split single vocals and dual gang chats throughout. Lyrical context aside, the
sense of unity that guitarist Erik Burke
and drummer Glenn Evans bring begs for
this track to be heard live.
EP on the rather lacklustre “Died in
Your Arms” was a curious choice. This track takes a while to kick in, and in
the end delivers no real payoff. If this is to be the last we hear from Nuclear
Assault, they may want to reconsider their choice as their final song is neither
their strongest nor their best to leave their fans with.
Formed in 1985 and releasing records over thirty
years, and with a ‘Final Assault’ world tour planned through 2016, Nuclear
Assault have carved their own niche in Thrash Metal history. The release of ‘Pounder’ is both a cause for celebration and commiseration, with some
outstanding tracks unfortunately culminating in a weak finish. Maybe they’ll
return to the studio for one final session; who knows? “Metal stays on with the soul,” they say. No
truer words. Yet if this is to be the tour they finally hang their hats on, I
tip my hat to N.Y’s own Nuclear Assault.