Nuclear Assault

Alive Again

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After an ugly demise and eight years of dormancy, Nuclear Assault launched its reunion in 2002 with original members John Connelly (guitar/vocals), Anthony Bramante (guitar), Dan Lilker (bass, alumnus of S.O.D., Anthrax, and Brutal Truth), and Glenn Evans (drums). The live album Alive Again was meant to mark the (somewhat) influential New York City thrashers' triumphant return, but instead comes off messy and rushed -- slightly pathetic, even. Reading the liner notes, one learns that Connelly suffered from an allergic reaction just prior to taking the stage the night of the recording, and had to touch up his nasally vocal wails after the fact. What's boggling is why the Nukes didn't scrap the idea entirely, considering the sloppy execution of the songs (mostly "golden era" Nuclear Assault, that is, heavy on the Game Over, Survive, and Handle With Care albums). The mushmouth mix doesn't help much either, guitar riffs buried in so much sonic rubble that the band sounds a touch under-rehearsed in the process. Still, one is reminded of the Nukes' punk-thrash power during memorable cuts "Trail of Tears," "Rise from the Ashes," and "Critical Mass," but by the time the group meanders into a sad blues jam during "Butt F*ck," even the most dedicated fan will nod off. Alive Again isn't awful per se, but to be blunt, it isn't a whole lot of fun either, leaving one left only with the hope that an oft-promised new studio album would mark a more cohesive return to the fold.

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