Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nuclear Assault - Survive (IRS, 1988)

Although I do really like Municipal Waste (segue), it's hard not to think of 2 other thrash forefathers (happy 4th, y'all!) when I listen to them. One is Tankard, the original beer obsessed thrashers from Germany. And the other, at least vocally, is Nuclear Assault.

I followed most of my favorite punk bands into crossover in the late 80's, but I wasn't into a lot of straight up metal at first. The complexity, the song lengths, the operatic vocals, they didn't really speak to me. It wasn't until Slayer and Nuclear Assault that I started to get it.

Nuclear Assault was one of the thrash bands with more obvious ties to hardcore. Their style of metal was a little more aggressive than most, Danny Lilker had been in S.O.D., their name would pop up in the thank you lists of New York hardcore bands and John Connelly's lyrics dealt with a lot of social and political issues.

I remember my friends and I buying metal albums, having never heard the band, only to be totally disappointed when the vocals kicked in. Overkill and Annihilator were 2 of those for me. John Connelly and Sean Killian (Vio-lence) seem to be 2 other vocalists that a lot of people couldn't get into, but I really like their voices. Like I mentioned earlier, Tony from Municipal Waste reminds me of Connelly, but he can't really match that menacing, high-pitched shriek.

Now, my favorite Nuclear Assault album is actually Handle With Care, but since that album is still in print (and semi-recently re-released), I'm sharing their second album Survive, which is no slouch by any means. I've also punched up the volume a bit since the original CD is super quiet.

Survive features the song "Brainwashed," which was the first video I ever saw from them on Headbanger's Ball. It's interesting to think of the lyrics to the song now. Even though the internet is quickly replacing all forms of media and providing us with seemingly unlimited information and choices, are we really that much more informed, broad-minded and better off than we were in the 80's?

Radio, an insidious form, helps shape your thoughts making you conform
Programming music easy listening, help you achieve that moronic grin
Playing you regurgitated pap, selling products that are mostly crap
Rarely hearing music you want to hear, it has an effect over all these years

Why don't you think for yourself
Live in this self made Hell

Television, the idiot tube, helps to raise our children as fools
Watch the news, see what they want you to see, our awareness is limited by network VPs
Moronic sit-coms and one-sided news, alter your feeling, give you conformist views
Why can't you get that garbage out of your head, you'd be better off to read a good book instead

Why don't you think for yourself
Live in this self made Hell

Newspapers, what do they say? Not much I think when they want school kids to pray
Getting the facts from some daily news, you hate the system but adhere to its views
Blaming the dead because they can't complain, shielding officials holding them above blame
You'd better wake up and see what's plain to see, or end up a willing part of the machine