Steamhammer/SPV Worldwide
Release date: July 1, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Live albums don’t always rule. Sometimes they suck, due to the production, how the lead singer’s goiter is acting up that night, or for many different reasons. But Bay-Area thrash mongers Nuclear Assault’s new live CD, Alive Again DOES rule. How could a CD with songs like “Butt F*ck” or “Hang The Pope” ever fail?

Nuclear Assault is back, and they released Alive Again to show us exactly what the hell that means. Formed back in the early ‘80s by Danny Lilker (who was a founding member of Anthrax, S.O.D. and Brutal Truth), you may remember them scoring big with the video “Critical Mass” on MTV’s Headbangers’ Ball. Says Lilker about modern day music, “I think the metal scene NEEDS an injection of classic thrash metal ‘cos I’ve had enough of people thinking Linkin Park is metal.” Can I get an Amen, brother? We’ll have to wait for their new studio album, but this is a rapacious “welcome back.”

The opening track “Rise From The Ashes,” answers all your questions. Does the original lineup sound as good as they did in the ‘80s and ‘90s? Damn straight. Can singer John Connelly still scream/growl as only he can? He may even sound stronger than he did back in the day. Everything radiates on this one.

The fourth song, called “New Song,” has an insanely heavy beat and breakneck vocal line. Nuclear Assault is all about SPEED, and they rip it up here. The guitars sound great, the solos are clear and frenzied, and you’ll have to just crank it up.

The true test comes with “Critical Mass.” When the bass line starts and the crowd recognizes it, they go ballistic, until the song drowns them out. Connelly’s shrieks of “Another oil spill … atomic waste displaced … another forest dies!” are just not something you are going to get from the polished turds bands like Linkin Park put out. Nuclear Assault is pure emotion; they get it. They also put the video to “Critical Mass” on the disk, and it’s a gem. (They talk about “polishing turds” on the CD as well; why WOULDN’T you buy this?)

“Butt F*ck” has to be reviewed, if only because it’s hilarious. You won’t be able to understand the lyrics, on purpose, and it goes from a speed metal spasm to a real bluesy interlude that offers the advice, “Kill the leaders. It’s an interesting solution no one is trying yet.” There ya have it.

Another classic, “Hang The Pope,” comes off great live as well. The sensitive lyrics of, “Hang the Pope hang the Pope hang the Pope, Hang him with a fucking rope,” are just as poignant today as they were back then.

There are no segues here, no slow songs, and definitely no filler. It’s raw Nuclear Assault — raw nuclear waste for your brunch. If you are a fan of the way heavy metal used to be, you have to buy it. And if you are one of the poor souls that think this new nu metal, rap-metal crap-metal is either heavy or metal, these guys will set you straight. About damn time.

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