Nuclear Assault - Something Wicked review


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Band: Nuclear Assault
Album: Something Wicked
Release date: 1993

01. Something Wicked
02. Another Violent End
03. Behind Glass Walls
04. Chaos
05. The Forge
06. No Time
07. To Serve Man
08. Madness Descends
09. Poetic Justice
10. Art
11. The Other End

Out went Lilker and Bramante with the crossover leanings, and in came DiPietro, Metaxas with a slow groove sound. Something Wicked is the last Nuclear Assault album before they called it a day for the first time. While nowhere near the level established by the likes of Handle With Care, Something Wicked does have some good moments within its sonic walls.

Easiest way to summarize this record? 80's thrash band try to reinvent themselves for the 90's; Nuclear Assault try but fail at their attempt to evolve and ultimately die (for a few years anyway). Something Wicked isn't the worst album I've heard from a thrash band trying to reinvent themselves in the 90's but it isn't the best either. The band doesn't go out with a thud but the sound of the band imploding, which drowns out any bangs Something Wicked produces.

While not powered by the same primal urgency of old, the thrashier tracks can still kick ass. With primal power replaced by way of groove leanings, tracks like "Chaos" and "To Serve Man" show the band hadn't fully cut their ties with the past and were still the same band, only now changing lanes on the same motorway. The cream of the thrash offerings though would be "Poetic Justice", finding the band reintroduce the crossover roots for what would prove to be one hell of a glory ride.

The newfound groove sounds aren't without merit, with tracks like "Something Wicked" and "Madness Descends" showing the band could evolve and not sound stale while maintaining a good level of quality. In fact, the best song on the record is one of the groove tracks; "Behind Glass Walls" is a crushing thumping track that makes you realize the band were far from a spent force when everything clicks.

What is probably the most jarring element of this record isn't the change in genre but the change in sound; gone is the frantic rough-yet-heavy production of old, and in its place the band sound refined and smoothed out. Tuning down and distancing themselves from the raw sounds that gave the band their identity, it takes some readjustment. While I can't say the production is bad, it does rob the band of one of their more attractive qualities; rather than sounding unique the band sound just like any other band.

"Art" is the band fulfilling their obligatory short sharp track, and this point just seems like a tick box exercise; with no effort put into it, it just seems like the band forgot to do one and threw whatever popped into their head at that moment onto the record. The real nadir of the record is "No Time"; while the acoustic sounds work well, the band struggle to balance their inclusion in the song and in the end you come out with a muddled mess of ideas that sound good on their own but don't gel together.

Nuclear Assault would ultimately go the way of so many 80's thrash bands, finding themselves unable to maintain a high level of quality in the uphill battle to remain relevant in the changing times of the 90's. Something Wicked is worth a listen if you're curious or you're a big fan of the band, but you won't be missing out on much if you decide to pass on it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 6

Written by omne metallum | 27.07.2020


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