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4.14 | 15 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1988


1. Rise From The Ashes (3:07)
2. Brainwashed (2:41)
3. F# (2:28)
4. Survive (2:59)
5. Fight To Be Free (4:26)
6. Got Another Quarter (0:20)
7. Great Depression (3:32)
8. Wired (3:05)
9. Equal Rights (2:57)
10. PSA (0:10)
11. Technology (3:14)
12. Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin cover) (2:15)

Total Time: 31:21


- John Connelly / vocals, guitar
- Anthony Bramante / guitar
- Danny Lilker / bass
- Glenn Evans / drums

About this release

I.R.S. Metal, June 13, 1988.

The original vinyl pressing didn't include "Good Times, Bad Times".

Recorded & mixed January & February 1988 at The Music Grinder, Los Angeles, CA.
Additional recording at Tracks Records.

Thanks to Unitron, UMUR for the updates


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A thrash band covering Led Zeppelin? Yes, it happens here, but Nuclear Assault's Survive offers more than that. Although it isn't quite fully-fledged crossover thrash, it does borrow enough from hardcore punk - and shares enough political anger with that scene - to offer a fresh take on thrash, more direct and furious than the more intricate and technical takes other groups were developing at the time. Nuclear Assault in particular have learned brevity from the hardcore groups they were taking in - the album is barely half an hour long, and original pressings which didn't include the Good Times Bad Times cover dip under the 30 minute mark. Nuclear Assault clearly understand that outstaying your welcome is absolutely fatal.
Conor Fynes
'Survive' - Nuclear Assault (8/10)

It may have been rough around the edges, but "Game Over" was a great start for NYC thrashers Nuclear Assault. On top of being considered an underground classic for thrash metal, it also holds a special importance for me as an album that helped me open up to what the genre has to offer. However ambitious it may have been, "Game Over" had some juvenile traits about it that held it back. In keeping with my expectations, Nuclear Assault's second album "Survive" addresses this issue and more. It's fairly usual for a band's second time around to me more mature, but with this added sense of maturity, a new level of aggression and heaviness has been reached. This exchange sacrifices some of the catchiness and fun of the first record, but Nuclear Assault are better for the change; "Survive" is an album that feels complete.

Both "Game Over" and "Survive" are fine examples of thrash doctrine, yet in the short years between the two, it's clear Nuclear Assault changed up their approach quite a bit. The debut was laced with a progressive quirk that screamed Voivod, and though I would not say Nuclear Assault have thrown that sound away completely here, they've certainly taken some steps towards the more speed-oriented realm of Slayer. It could be a matter of my own personal taste and musical experience, but this change makes Nuclear Assault's second album a bit more challenging to get into. There aren't the same amount of standout tunes this time around, but the songwriting is more concise and consistent.

Although the riffs are not as immediately impressive as they were on "Game Over", virtually every other aspect of the band has improved. Most notably, frontman John Connelly's vocals sound incredible. His style rests somewhere between an aggressive clean voice and thrashy bark. The most impressive part of his delivery lies in the range. The album's most memorable tune "F#" is a testament to his high-pitched screams; he not only hits the high note, but pulls it off with the same fierce intensity one hears throughout his vocals on the album. Although his drumwork on "Game Over" never really stood out to me, Glenn Evans offers a thunderous rhythm to this soundtrack of atomic warfare.

"Survive" is usually the album that I hear mentioned whenever Nuclear Assault is discussed. Although I'm not sure whether I personally prefer "Game Over" more- if only for sentimental value- but "Survive" is a definite improvement in regards to its success as a start-to-finish album. Even the Led Zeppelin cover "Good Times, Bad Times" feels right at home, given a radioactive do-over. If one was to nitpick, the ten-second 'interlude' "PSA" sounds out of place (I swear it sounds like it could have been heard on Blasphemy's "Fallen Angel of Doom!"), but the lame 'short' tracks that de-railed the debut have been largely phased out of the formula this time around. It's little over half an hour long, but there's enough energy here worth many a listen.
Survive was the second full-length studio album by the East Coast Thrash Metal band Nuclear Assault, released in 1988, following up on 1987’s excellent The Plague EP and their classic 1986 debut album Game Over.

Nuclear Assault are a superb band that every Thrash fan at least has to try out and whom many will love. The band featuring Dan Lilker of Anthrax, S.O.D and Brutal Truth on bass. Their lyrical style is a mixture between occasional humour and primarily socially conscious or political themes.

They play a Thrash Style closer to D.R.I than to Slayer, but still big on guitar solos and speed and unmistakably on the Metal side rather than on the Punk side. They are big advocates of gang-chanting backing vocals and alongside their Thrash, add in some almost ahead-of-their-time grooves and some proto-grindcore bursts of blasts occasionally as well.

This is one of the most overlooked and underrated Thrash albums of all time in a way, as it has in a sense fallen into obscurity due to a lack of reissues over the years, but in another way it is a cult classic and is beloved and spoken fondly of by many true fans of the band and the genre. No Nuclear Assault concert after this album’s release would ever be complete without at least a quarter of the track listing making the set.

Stylistically, it is something of a midway point for the band, sitting less in the crossover/punk scene than the band’s earliest days, but not as fast and heavy as the band’s more extreme follow up album ‘Handle With Care.’ This allows for a memorable and diverse set of well-written and expertly performed songs, which is improved upon yet further with a slightly better production job than their previous work.

Songs like the single ‘Brainwashed,’ ‘Rise From The Ashes’ and ‘Fight To Be Free’ are some of the bands most memorable and enduring tracks, and tracks like ‘PSA’ and the Led Zeppelin cover add variety to the album, keeping the otherwise concise and focused thirty-minute record from sounding too samey.

If you can get a copy of it, and you like the band or are a fan of Thrash in general, this is a seriously enjoyable album that you really ought to at least check out. It isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, for example some people seem not to care for John Connolly’s vocal style, or dislike the Crossover influence, or find the political lyrics a turn-off, but if you suspect you might like it then I’d urge you to give it a shot. Its been one of my favourite albums for long time, to the point of having owned multiple t-shirts sporting it’s artwork and having an extra signed vinyl copy mounted on my wall for decoration.

In summary, Survive is a concise yet interesting album full of memorable songs which sits at an interesting moment in the career of a greatly under-appreciated band who Thrash Metal fans should really consider checking out.

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  • Unitron
  • Necrotica
  • H-K
  • jahkhula
  • milosshomi80
  • Woutjinho
  • Diogenes
  • luanpedi
  • ultmetal
  • Fantacide
  • slow man
  • Charcaroth

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