Nuclear Assault were among thrash metal's most socially aware groups, making room for serious subject matter (and occasional goofs) in their careening speed metal riffing. They also remained closer to the world of hardcore than most of their peers, and at their late-'80s peak released some of the most uncompromising thrash metal offerings of the time. After performing on Anthrax' 1984 debut Fistful of Metal, bass player Danny Lilker decided to jump ship and search for a more aggressive outlet for his music. Lilker formed Nuclear Assault with vocalist and guitarist John Connelly (also briefly a member of Anthrax in its formative years) in 1985. Guitarist Mike Bogush and drummer Scott Duboys only lasted a few months before being replaced by guitarist Anthony Bramante and ex-T.T. Quick powerhouse drummer Glenn Evans. One of the Big Apple's few challengers (along with Anthrax and Overkill) to the Bay Area dominance of all things thrash metal, Nuclear Assault became immediate contenders due to the cumulative sum of its parts — not to mention, their extreme nature and their ability to back it up with solid musicianship. Produced by metal stalwart Alex Perialas, their first album, 1986's Game Over, was regarded as a breath of fresh air with its potent speed metal tinged with hardcore overtones. In the process, fans and critics alike instantly accepted it and the band was quickly off to the races.
The following year The Plague E.P. was an even more intense aural experience, but also managed to introduce Nuclear Assault's dark sense of humor with an ode to Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil (fresh off his vehicular manslaughter rap) on "Butt Fuck" (later retitled "You Figure It Out"). With constant touring making up for their obvious commercial limitations, the band continued to hone their craft in the studio, beginning with 1988's greatly improved Survive and culminating in 1989 the outstanding Handle With Care. The latter proved that the group could refine their political speed metal and songwriting without compromising their anti-establishment stance, and was supported by successful Euro tours with thrash titans Exodus, and later U.S. jaunts with Testament and Savatage. 1990s Live at Hammersmith Odeon video celebrated this great phase, and the band came off the road having won a healthy dose of new believers. Shortly afterwards the band released “Out Of Order” and in 1992 Dan Lilker left to pursue Brutal Truth. The band released one more album (Something Wicked) and broke up.
In early 2002 the band was approached by a mutual friend to reform for a couple of shows. Their first reunion show was a the Metal Meltdown in April and there they found out that their was a demand for the band to continue. They played the classic NYC venue CBGB in May along with a show in Massachusetts that was recorded for a live album to be released on Screaming Ferret Wreckords in early 2003. After a triumphant performance at the infamous Wacken Open Air festival in Germany in August, original guitarist Anthony Bramante left the band due to commitments at home and was replaced by Erik Burke. In September 2002 the band returned to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where they had played back in 1989 with the then fledging Sepultura opening.
Nuclear Assault is currently in the process of writing music for the first new studio album in 10 years, and will be appearing at festivals thru Europe in 2003 and in the US on a mini tour thru the Southwest and West Coast in late January and early February.