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Revisiting the Debut Album of the Band Nuclear Assault Called "Game Over"

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The album called Game Over by New York City thrash metal band Nuclear Assault released in 1986 is this band’s debut album and since more than 35 years have passed since the release of it, it is then worth it for us to revisit this album and see how it has aged over time. The album is a sort of mishmash of thrash metal combined with Mercyful Fate style riffs without the lyrical references to Satan.

A Good Album for Its Time But Not as Good As Master of Puppets for Instance

Just because this album was released in 1986, the same year as the legendary Master of Puppets album, it doesn’t mean that it matches up just the same as that one. On the contrary, Game Over is a good album if you can get used to the sometimes sub-par vocal job but it is nowhere near legendary status on par with the name of the album we just mentioned. With better lead vocals, this album might have a chance to be ranked in the 90s if we use the 100 point scale.

A Brief Analysis of the Songs In "Game Over"

The album begins with a furious beginning riff as the raw, fast short instrumental song called “Live, Suffer, Die” starts this debut. “Sin” was the song that was the hardest to get used to because of the vocal style. “Cold Steel” is a good Mercyful Fate style influenced song because you can really notice this influence in the song’s primary riff. “Betrayal” is a song that is lyrically pretty much easy for anyone to notice. Sometimes, some people just cannot be trusted to be loyal friends for us. “Stranded in Hell” has one of the most memorable choruses certainly in this band’s history. “Stranded in hell, ring Satan’s bell” are the two catchiest lines of this chorus. Then there is the song that ends this album called “Brain Death.” This song was a really creative idea by these guys as the beginning of it shows the progressive style of it with the acoustic guitar similar to how a few of the songs on Ride the Lightning were constructed. The song is lyrically about someone that is dragged into what seems like a hospital but it is maybe just a torture chamber rum by people that are licensed to do we know what.

This Album Is Not Perfect However

One of the cons of the album is the short 46 second track called “Hang the Pope.” The song if you can call it that seems to be some early punk influenced shouting similar to Napalm Death’s debut album called Scum. These guys are not some cheesy punk band so this track just doesn’t belong in an album which was trying to bring awareness to the effects of nuclear war.

Final Thoughts

In terms of thrash metal albums released in 1986, Game Over does not have the heaviness of many thrash metal albums released that year. It has a rawer feel to it with good bass play by Dan Lilker. He makes this album better just by his bass playing contributions. In spite of the album’s title, the game or the musical journey for Nuclear Assault was just beginning with this album. Given the amount of competition that these guys were facing they did well for the most part with this album. If you get rid of the really short tracks and improve the vocals, the album could have been ranked as one of the best metal albums of 1986. Analyzing this album in 2022, it just might be the best album of this band even with the really short tracks that were mentioned. Those are not long enough to really ruin the album. The first song is not included in these short tracks even though that one is short as well.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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