Protest 100: Nuclear Assault – ‘When Freedom Dies’

Artist:          Nuclear Assault

Song:           When Freedom Dies

Album:        Handle With Care

Producer:    Randy Burns

Label:          In-Effect

Year:           1989

From the second you see the cover, ‘Handle With Care’ presents itself as the pinnacle of socially conscious thrash metal. And it delivers song after song (‘Critical Mass,’ ‘Search & Seizure,’ ‘Torture Tactics’) of supercharged condemnation, with catchy riffs almost everywhere. Police repression, environmental destruction, the balance between freedom and security, fascism, and abuse of authority all take a beating before the journey’s over.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“The freedom of assembly on the part of the nation’s youth was legislated against to the extent that any person wishing to host a group larger than 100 people 16-years of age or older had to first register the event and then accept criminal liability for any misdeeds.”


United in a time, a time of need
Against a common foe, the enemy
The years of death endured, the years of pain
Against an evil force, a force not sane

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

And then the world endured, a victory won
Against an insane man and his cohorts
But once the war was done, blind fear prevailed
And years of darkness came, freedom was nailed

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

We let our freedom die, we let it wane
We feared an enemy’s atomic rain
But what was on our minds, what we became
We and the enemy
We are the same

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security
We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

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