Nuclear Assault

Survive

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Almost overnight, Nuclear Assault had become East Coast thrash metal contenders (to a throne pretty much owned by Anthrax) thanks to their politically charged metal fodder. For the most part, their second album, Survive, shows progress, notching up some of the band's most accomplished, lyrically controversial material to date with the title track, "Rise From the Ashes," and the anti-mainstream media rant "Brainwashed." Another highlight, "Fight to be Free," is surprisingly melodic, and though it no doubt caused some thrash purists to cry "foul," actually shows a more refined side of the band with a penchant for surprise. On the downside, the album's very muddy mix (courtesy of the usually reliable Randy Burns) leaves much to be desired, and vocalist John Connely's piercing whine (reminiscent of a rabid hyena) sounds even more irritating than usual. Concurrently, some of the album's other tracks ("F#," "Wired") are just plain repetitive and directionless. A surprising, if hardly exhilarating, cover of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" brings the opus to an end. Ultimately, Survive is certainly not Nuclear Assault's best effort, but should appease hardcore fans only.

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