Revolver has teamed with Nuclear Assault for an exclusive "Combat Camo" vinyl edition of their classic album, Game Over, limited to 200 copies worldwide. Order yours before they're gone!
While Eighties thrash has become synonymous with the Bay Area scene and West Coast luminaries including Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, Testament and more, the East Coast was definitely holding it down thanks to local crews like Anthrax, Overkill, S.O.D. and Carnivore.
Nuclear Assault were also among Big Apple's finest thrashers, and their 1986 debut, Game Over, is one of the scene's most enduring records. Released on Combat Records, the album is a mix of headbanging, hardcore-influenced rippers on which the band — led by ex-Anthrax members John Connelly (vocals) and Dan Lilker (bass) along with Anthony Bramante (guitars) and Glenn Evans (drums) — explore a range of era-appropriate themes, from devil worship ("Sin") and nuclear annihilation ("Radiation Sickness," "After the Holocaust") to hilarious, punky irreverence ("Hang the Pope").
For Municipal Waste drummer, and New Jersey native, Dave Witte, the album was a revelation. The young musician discovered the band in a truly old-school, brick-and-mortar way — the striking cover art (courtesy of Ed Repka) caught his attention while he and his buddies were flipping through vinyl at a record store.
Below, Witte describes hearing Game Over for the first time, its impact on his own drumming style and why the record "stands the test of time."
DESCRIBE HOW YOU FIRST DISCOVERED NUCLEAR ASSAULT.
DAVE WITTE My friends and I were looking through the vinyl bin at Now & Then Records in Hazlet, New Jersey, and we came across Game Over. We were like "Whoa! Look at that cover! Someone has to get it." Back then we took turns buying things we didn't know about based on the cover and Now & Then was a goldmine for us. I bought the cassette version.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF GAME OVER WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY LISTENED TO IT?
We left the record store and popped it into the cassette player and were psyched on the fast intro "Live, Suffer, Die." I remember the guitar was a little less distorted [and] metally sounding, and that was different for us. Then "Sin" rolled around and we heard John [Connelly's] voice for the first time. It was like nothing we had heard back then. We were intrigued that we had found something that didn't really sound like anything else. We kept listening and were into it. "Radiation Sickness" came on and that was the moment that we were waiting for: Fuck yeah, this rules.
WHAT DOES GAME OVER MEAN TO YOU?
It stands out and definitely grooves in its own way. Glenn Evans' drumming has a lot to do with that. It also had more hardcore-punkish elements than a lot of the other stuff I was hearing at that time. Game Over was a first of its own kind for me and like I mentioned earlier, we found it on our own. It was our discovery and we were psyched about it.
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID NUCLEAR ASSAULT OR THE ALBUM INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT?
Glenn's drumming is, and was, so awesome and grooves like no one else's. He had the power, the speed and his groove had a swing to it like no other. He really worked those snare rolls and that was influence on me, for sure. They also had a sense of humor and I really enjoyed that. Actually, Nuclear Assault was the first band I ever stage-dived to in 1988 at The Club Bene in New Jersey. So they will always hold a special place in my heart. I'll never forget the night. I saw people doing it and had never seen anything like that. I had to do it. I can't count how many times I did it at the show. I did it over and over. It was the best time.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG ON GAME OVER?
"Radiation Sickness" ruled so hard the first time I heard it and it's still my favorite. I love the whole album, all the songs and all the dynamics in general are awesome, but "Radiation Sickness" spoke to me and my friends. Love it.
IS GAME OVER SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO? OR DOES IT REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR HISTORY?
Yes, I still go back to it and it's awesome every time. It stands the test of time for me. It's definitely a treasured time for me when I was discovering and learning.