Like spaghetti bolognese, it is hard to dislike Nuclear Assault, a thrash metal band who released a three well regarded albums in the mid-to-late 80’s, before internal combustion and some lesser offerings. Like spag bol, they were no nonsense, popular and easy to digest to the taste buds of all who liked their metal fast and thrashy. However, to over-extend the metaphor to the length of a string of tagliatelle, they weren’t as flavourful or complete as others, lacking the depth of ingredients in comparison to their contemporaries, and it’s very unlikely many would call NA their favourite dish.
Since announcing his impending retirement from live playing Dan Lilker has been a machine, blurring (sic) at the pace of his picking hand, bringing each of his projects to a concluding fruition, which has included the Lazarus act being applied to Nuclear Assault once again. Setting out to intentionally write “four killer old-school thrash songs”, the Pounder EP (Sidipus) is the band ramping up to a “Final Assault” tour and album in the second half of the year.
Achieving the majority of their pre-conceived idea, they have written four old-school thrash songs (well, three, and one, ‘Died In Your Arms’, that sounds as if Alan Averill was wailing along to a Metal Church outtake but not able to hear himself through noise-reducing headphones), though they’ve failed to live up to the “Killer” part of that promise. With what could kind-heartedly be called a “raw” lo-fi and DIY production, Pounder displays uncultured punky, chromatic thrash, a dearth of songwriting ideas and John Connolly’s once distinctive yelp having clearly seen better days.
One hopes this is merely the itching to get out of the blocks, let’s get something out there, false-start that serves as a irrelevant pre-cursor to a gold medal winning final sprint, but the portents don’t look promising for the final assault to do anything other than flounder and perish meekly.