From the Atomic Waste! liner notes:
The demo recordings on this slab are a snapshot of metal evolving. Speed metal becoming thrash metal becoming crossover. The longhairs and the shorthairs each realizing that maybe
they weren't so different from one another. Nuclear Assault was a key
band in this movement, extending their hand to other bands in an effort to push music forward. Faster, heavier, better.
-David Karl Endlichhofer
30 Years & Counting in the Life
of Metal Veteran Dan Lilker
Before any embarrassing international pants-wetting incidents ensue, be sure that this is NOT the highly anticipated new studio offering from one of metal's "Big Five." Tracks presented on 2012's Atomic Waste! are, in fact, all demo recordings from the band's early days and exemplify a production caliber that most bands would fight to prevent fans from ever hearing. But then again, Nuclear Assault has never been a conventional band.
Groundbreaking throughout the 1980s and into the '90s, Nuclear Assault merged punk, thrash, hardcore and speed successfully to create a unique brand of metal that many have copied, but few have matched. Their music created a powerful ripple effect that continues to be felt today.
But at its core, Nuclear Assault is a superb metal band. Their musical prowess equaled or surpassed ALL of their contemporaries. Anthony Bramante is every bit the badass lead guitar phenom as other more acknowledged golden gods, while drummer Glenn Evans is hands-down the mightiest of his peers — observations validated even through the lo-fi grit of Atomic Waste! Yet despite the audio limitations of many of the master recordings used, "The Plague," "Vengeance" and "Cross of Iron" showcase the band at its neck-breaking best — tunes on which frontman John Connelly shines brightest.
Pioneers of politically incorrect punk, "Hang the Pope" and "Lesbians" are musically and lyrically as authentic as it gets. And although Nuclear Assault became known for this rather edgy lyrical content, founder and bassist Dan Lilker contributes fresh insight in the liner notes. "Initially, the lyrics were secondary to the music," Lilker admits. "(The lyrics were) just something to fill the gaps." Hence, Atomic Waste! offers instrumental demo versions of "Live, Suffer, Die," "Great Depression," "Brainwashed," "Survive" and "Fight to be Free."
Nuclear Assault - Atomic Waste!
(An impressive, photo-packed CD booklet)
Despite the perception created by the "Demo and Rehearsals" subtitle, the production quality of several tracks, including "Radiation Sickness," "Betrayal" and "Demolition" is actually as good or better than previous, properly produced Nuclear Assault records.
However, for the most part, it is what it is — a collection of garage-type demos — many culled from cassette tape master recordings. And in that regard, "Stranded in Hell," "Nightmares" and "Cold Steel" represent some of the dodgier-sounding tracks.
In addition to the CD format, Atomic Waste! also is available in black, white and "nuclear" green vinyl — exclusively through Germany's High Roller Records. As a longtime staunch proponent of the European metal scene, lead guitarist Anthony Bramante boasted recently about the band's newfound label. "Colored vinyl! Only from Germany, right? Fuggedaboutit!"
Although it certainly lacks the cohesiveness of such Nuclear Assault releases as Survive and Handle with Care, Atomic Waste! does serve as an impressive time capsule — offering longtime diehards a delightful and long-overdue kick in the sack.
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