In a six degrees of separation type of moment I’ve spent most of the afternoon listening to New York thrashers Nuclear Assault. I only thought about spending an hour or so with Dan Lilker’s mob after seeing a photo I posted in the Slammer write up where they were headlining The Astoria in London.
Nuclear Assault were formed by Lilker when he left Anthrax in 1984 and joined forces with John Connelly – and his distinctive vocal delivery, who was also briefly in Anthrax. Drummer Glen Evans joined around 1985 and that trio made up three quarters of the band thirty odd years later.
Over the years they’ve been plagued with line up changes and break ups. They recorded their last full length album Third World Genocide in 2005 and that was a dozen years after album number five, so not exactly prolific. Last year they released their first new material for ten years in the shape of the four track EP Pounder and bid adieu – to Europe anyway.
Their last show on European soil was supposedly just under twelve months ago at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting. I was under the impression that by now they’d be consigned once and for all to history after gracing the Deathfest stages in Maryland and California, but they already have a bunch of dates in Australia early in 2017.
I’ve seen the band three times over the years. First time was in 2005 with Heathen in the appalling Basement venue within Nottingham’s Rock City, where the stage is non existent and unless you are in the front two rows you see nothing. Then a decade later on the back of their retirement tour I saw them over in Dublin and what was probably their final UK show when they opened up the main stage at Bloodstock. Neither show was mind blowing, being blunt it felt like they just didn’t really want to be there and came over pretty sloppy and unenthusiastic.
Going back to their most successful phase, Critical Mass can be found on 1989’s Handle With Care long player.