Nuclear Assault - Game Over - October, 1986
I've always felt that the New York area thrash bands wore their punk influences on their sleeves moreso than their Californian counterparts, and nowhere is this more apparent than on a Nuclear Assault album. Whether you sported long hair or a mohawk, Nuclear Assault's debut must have appealed to a wide range of punks and metalheads since it featured metal-as-fuck riffs coupled with a punk rock attitude. Add in some excellent songwriting and the howling vocals of John Connelly, and you have one of the better releases of 1986.
Nuclear Assault could play as fast as anyone, but they also played a lot of mid-paced stuff that was carried by great riffs and powerful vocals. Hearing songs like "Brain Death" and "After the Holocaust" in a sweaty NYC club in 1986 must have been quite the trip because even though they may not be the fastest songs around, they evoke a sense of turmoil that would have to make for a great live experience. Given the amount of notoriety other releases from 1986 have garnered, I'm surprised that Game Over isn't right there with them -- I mean, it's fun as fuck, and there are moments that are as punishing as anything out there at the time. Sure, the guitars are a little thin and there are some needless interlude tracks, but this is a welcome addition to the thrash metal equation.
Standouts: Stranded In Hell, Brain Death, Radiation Sickness