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Nuclear Assault
Getting the boot from Anthrax in 1984 was literally the moment where a life in the underground didn’t merely beckon for Danny Lilker - it became his raison d’etre. There was no Megadeth-styled story of revenge for the lanky bassist who has since grinded the low-end with the likes of Brutal Truth and many, many more. Being unceremoniously removed from the ‘Thrax was simply the push off the cliff he needed to go faster and rawer. And with a call to fellow ex-Anthrax-er, vocalist/guitarist John Connelly, Nuclear Assault was born. Pulling lyrical and musical influences from their native New York hardcore scene, the nascent Nuclear took thrash in a direction intent on breaking speed limits set by the titans of the genre. “There was no blueprint,” Lilker recalls. “We were just rolling on enthusiasm, taking the power of Slayer and combining it with the speed and intensity of Siege. We didn’t overthink it, it just happened.”

Game Over became Nuclear Assault’s footprint in the thrash landscape. Wrapped in an instantly iconic sleeve by Ed Repka, Nuclear Assault’s first full length (following their debut teaser EP, Brain Death) for Combat hit with an intensity that was still rare amongst the East Coast thrash sect. “We wanted to make a really intense record and I think we did! It has this young, desperate crazy feel to it!” Lilker states. To record the album, Nuclear Assault – rounded out by guitarist Anthony Bramante and ex-TT Quick drummer, Glenn Evans – retreated upstate to Ithaca, New York and Pyramid Sound studios where the album was overseen by producer Alex Perialas, who Lilker worked with just months before on S.O.D.’s legendarily divisive Speak English or Die LP. “Nuclear was a whole different thing than S.O.D.," says Danny. “I had a lot more invested in it.”

Nuclear Assault didn’t merely make a splash with songs like “Sin”, “Radiation Sickness” or the infamous :44 second blast of “Hang The Pope", they left a goddamn smoking crater. “Lyrically, it’s funny like an S.O.D. song, but years later, when I started meeting all these all the black metal people like Samoth from Emperor, they loved it!” Now, nearly 35 years later, Game Over has cemented its spot in thrash history. “It has that raw, fist in the face, nonstop ugly thing,” says Lilker. “And I think that was an East Coast thing that we got from living in New York and from hardcore that really set us apart.”