Third World Genocide
Released: 2005, Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Besides the usual rants and raves that my friends and I tend to share with each other when a new album is released by one of our favorite bands, I myself have not written a “proper” music review in around four years, since quitting reviews for the Metal Rules! web site. But with the release of “Third World Genocide”, I couldn’t hold back from voicing my opinion. I would never consider my reviewing skills up to par with those individuals who, over the many years, have provided me with great reading pleasure in the various metal ‘zines I’ve collected. However I have been following Nuclear Assault since 1989 when, after “upgrading” from vinyl, I bought my third compact disc “Handle With Care”.
First of all, Nuclear Assault’s reformation came across as being contrived at the very start. With so many old school thrash bands getting back together over the last few years, I always found myself asking “who’s next”? Was it a coincidence that Nuclear Assault reformed, or did they just hop on the thrashwagon? Regardless, to know John, Danny, Glenn, and Anthony were back together did get me a little excited. And why not? I do enjoy all of Nuclear Assault’s albums (yes folks, all of them). But they come back with a live album? Well the only band that’s been able to pull that one off successfully is Exodus. “Another Lesson in Violence” is the only live album in my collection that I can routinely listen to as if it was a regular studio album. Nuclear Assault didn’t need another live album. Needles to say, I lost interest. Especially after Anthony left the band. The excitement faded. Not to say Anthony was a crucial part of the band. It’s just that you always hope for that “perfect” reunion: all original members, and a crushing new album within a year’s time frame.
But it took two years after “Alive Again” to release “Third World Genocide”. Where to start with this album? Although I had low expectations, I was still curious to hear it. Hell, they replaced Anthony with Erik Burke, an unknown to most for sure, but not to me as I’m a big fan of his work with Sulaco, Kalibas, Blatant Crap Taste, and the almighty Lethargy. For months I toyed with the idea of ordering it on the internet, which is practically all you can do because they signed to SPV and apparently the album is still relatively hard to come by. But should I pay $15 for a CD that could potentially suck? A couple thousand discs into my collection and I think I’ve got enough experience by now to inherently know when an album will suck. One day though, whilst looking for a completely unrelated DVD in a local store that I almost never visit, I came across “Third World Genocide” sitting on the “used” shelf for $7.99. Deal!
But I have to tell you, this album is so goddamned disappointing, I’ve been complaining about it since buying it. Everything about it is disappointing. Musically, this album has been described (by Danny, nonetheless) as what should have followed up “Handle With Care”. What??? This album resembles nothing of “Handle With Care” and belongs in their catalog right where it sits. The music is overall uninspired and simply tired. The riffing rarely lashes out, the leads are standard, and the tagteam work of Lilker and Evans doesn’t crush. Some classic Nuclear Assault moments creep up from time to time, but overall the album’s typical, predictable, and kind of boring, actually. And the inferior production doesn’t help either. Hey, I love inferior production because at least it’s different. But this album just isn’t heavy enough.
Even the presentation is weak. Why is it that pretty much every shot I’ve seen of the band in its reformation been of the lowest quality? Did you see the Metal Maniacs issue a while back with them on the cover? What a grainy piece of shit photo. Nice way to get your attention. Seriously, is it that difficult to get decent band shots? And the album cover…how long did it take someone to come up with that idea? And is that a registered symbol next to the band logo? Should we expect a warning on the next album saying that the CD was manufactured on equipment that also processes nuts and wheat products? And the necessary joke songs are just lame this time around. “Whine and Cheese” is dumb from the music to the lyrics to the vocals. How could this song ever hold up to something like “Mother’s Day”? And “The Hockey Song”? Another ten-seconds wasted with a pretty poor blast beat. They could have at least had guitarist Erik Burke drum on that one, as his past skinwork in Kalibas outshined anything Glenn is capable of doing nowadays. “Long-Haired Asshole” is a great country song that should have simply remained on John’s solo album. An overall lack of ideas.
In summary, if you want hard-hitting metal…if you want ripping thrash…if you want some killer Nuclear Assault music, look past this album and dig into the past. There are old schoolers that say “Game Over” and “The Plague” are their best, while others claim “Handle With Care” a thrashterpiece. Then you have people who put down “Out of Order” because it’s slow, and “Something Wicked” because it sounds like Metallica’s black album. Most others simply forgot about “Survive”. In any event, all their old shit rocks. Search for those albums and enhance your collection.
And just for the record, “Assault and Battery” was a completely welcome surprise. All of the assholes who have shunned this album, including the band, can go cock off. There are some gems on the disc that would otherwise go unheard, even if they did omit several b-sides from old singles. My feeling is that if the band has a problem with it, then why not out-do it and release a compilation of all the rare shit. Seems to be “the thing” nowadays. And it’s welcome trend.