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Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts. Recording Date March, - April, Track Listing. Never Say Never. Hello From the Gutter. Mad Gone World. Do I consider it s best Thrash album? This is Overkill's third album,and they seem to be going for a more commercial sound here, without really leaving the sound of their earlier works.
The album has many standouts, "Shred", "Hello From the Gutter", and "End of the Line" are all great, all time favorites of mine. They strike a great balance between thrash and a somewhat pop feel. This album gave Overkill their first minor hit in the form of "Hello from the Gutter", it cracked the top Overkill's third album is little different than their first two albums. It is less traditional thrash than their last records, but it doesn't veer off from the path much.
The album overall feels less "hardcore" and has a somewhat happy feel to it. Party thrash metal, a real treat.
This album is unremarkable, and won't matter to non-Overkill fans, this isn't an album that will really make anyone a fan of the band, but it's good enough and has many good tracks that Overkill devoted will find more than enough here to love.
The songs are all fast, thrashy numbers, that fans of old-school thrash metal will enjoy. None of the songs here take themselves too seriously, and this is the albums real strength. It is a legitimately fun album to listen to. Member performances wise, this is a tight album musically. None of the songs seem to push the band too far, and the songs always feel well done. Now, there aren't any technical stunts here, but the songs are complex enough to stay interesting for the duration of most of the songs.
This is a band that knows what they can do and is sure to stay within their limits. Many of the songs here feel like inferior versions of songs from their first two albums, and then received a light intention of pop into them. The sound is interesting enough to warrant interest from fans, but don't expect anything great. Few songs on this album truly are up to the level of other Overkill songs from this era. If you are just getting into Overkill from the beginning, do yourself a favor and pick up "The Years of Decay" or "Taking Over" and hold off on this album until later in your journey through Overkill's discography.
After two very impressive full-length releases, the pressure was on Overkill to deliver in a massive way with their third opus: Under The Influence. While the album was undoubtedly very popular and spawned the group's biggest hit "Hello From The Gutter", I have never been able to muster more than an indifferent reaction to it's neck-jerking rhythms and mayhem.
The deck was already stacked against this wrecking crew from the start, as band mastermind Rat Skates departed earlier in ' Before I get into the songwriting, I have to address the production. The mix falls most in line with The Years of Decay 's pluggy and compressed sonic profile. The bass drum boasts more of a natural, flat sound, but it fails audibly on almost all levels. You can barely hear the bass drum, its just a dry, dull thump.
The rest of the kit is mixed too low, save for maybe the snare. Verni's bass gets perhaps the biggest spotlight other than W. The massive guitar sound present on Taking Over has been scaled back quite a bit, and the guitars have little staying power, which is somewhat disappointing.
What really atom-bombs Under The Influence more often than not are surprisingly the vocals. Blitz's inflection at this point was no longer the operatic style often used on the first two albums, and not quite the raspy cackle present on most releases thereafter. In and of itself this isn't a major gripe, but so many of his vocal lines sound very rushed and atonal.
The lyrics are generally pretty fun, but many of the songs devolve into just shouting the chorus ad-nauseam. The now-infamous Overkill "nebulous mass of filler" is present for the first time, accounting for about half of the tracks. There are certainly moments of near brilliance, but they are almost always counterpointed by poor decisions. For example, "Brainfade" has an awesome breakdown about halfway in, but the sound clip laid over it ruins the mood.
These two tracks work, discounting the negative attributes of the production. As Under the Influences turns the corner around the halfway point, what little appeal remains seriously begins to decay, with "Head First" and "End of the Line" both being two of the bigger missteps present here.
The latter wants to demonstrate a more epic slant, and while containing some nice melodies, it features a chorus that lands like a ton of bricks. In fact, toss "Mad Gone World" into the same boat, as Blitz really fails to get anything cooking, forcing Gustafson to spread himself too thinly. While the darker, more fisticuff stylings present on "Drunken Wisdom" are an interesting precursor to later cuts like "Blown Away" and "Gasoline Dream," there just isn't a whole lot more to see here.
I hate to be the one to throw Under the Influence under the bus, but after years of failing to elicit anything even approaching a positive reaction from yours truly, it has to be done! So in the end, thrashier is definitely not better; at least not in Under The Influence 's case. The band would promptly get their shit together, and this remains Overkill's only lowlight until the mid-'90s.
Blitz has disclosed in interviews that this is one of his least favorite records, representing a band forced to scramble and improvise to the point of damaging the compositions. As usual, he is spot on. Overkill's iconic 3rd album is quite a curious beast, being both the one that introduced the metal world to one of the most recognizable mascots of the 80s after Iron Maiden's own Eddie, and also one that is generally treated as the weakest of their 80s offerings.
While there is a general accuracy to the notion that the 2 albums that preceded this one and the one immediately following it were superior, the gap is not quite as wide as generally believed, and is more of a matter of being overloaded with differing material than a lack of actual memorable songwriting.
Likewise, this album contains some elements of what would later become Overkill's standardized sound post, but for the most part it reaches back about as much as it does forward, and thus it doesn't share the same level of stylistic similarity that "Horrorscope" does with the modern thrash character that tended to dominate Overkill's posts sound.
But for all the historical relevance and evolution of sound, the actual character of "Under The Influence" is quite befitting of the sewer of horrors ruled by the great winged skull. As the first overtly thrash dominated album, there's no beating around the bush about where this album stands, as even at the onset of the opener "Shred" hits the nail on the head like an industrial strength pile-driver. The frenetic intro riff and beat is right out of the mids Slayer formula, and mixes in nicely with a set of groovy, upper-mid tempo work that reminds a bit of "Bonded By Blood".
This mixture of Bay Area and New York thrash influences pretty well dominates much of what is on here, stepping aside only occasionally for some older influences out of the band's previous efforts, all of which were at least partially conceived during the time when thrash and speed metal were joined at the hip.
However, even the most groovy elements found on here remind more of an Exodus approach rather than the so-called protos character that some suggest first started to appear on here.
This is particularly underscored by the elaborate character of the riff work, as even the heavily simplistic "Never Say Never" and "Brainfade" carry a heavy dose of 80s thrash cliches, not the least of which being the "Among The Living" sound of the intro of the latter.
This is further bolstered by the extremely bombastic drum sound, which is along similar lines to what was heard out of Lars on "Master Of Puppets", though the newly acquired kit-man Sid Falck proves to be a bit less stiff and keeps a bit with a semblance of flow. Blitz's vocal sound is still a bit cleaner and archaic in character as well, having a bit more to do with Bruce Dickinson than later efforts, but the beginnings of his maniacal Bon Scott meets The Wicked Witch of the West snarl comes a bit more into view here than before.
But perhaps most auspicious of all is Bobby Gustafson's lead guitar work, which has taken on a heavy amount of Jeff Hanneman influences and wails all over the place in a manner not heard before, arguably outclassing anything ever put out by either Kirk Hammett or Dan Spitz in terms of sheer technique. It is important to note that while much closer to a consistent thrash metal album, "Under The Influence" still finds itself wandering into earlier 80s sounds, cutting a bit against the grain as being set by Metallica and Slayer at this juncture.
The first and most obvious deviation is the live favorite and first music video "Hello From The Gutter", which sounds like a melodic leftover from "Taking Over" combined with a sped up rendition of Van Halen's "Panama" or "Unchained".
It definitely hits the ears with more of a power metal feel, Blitz's vocal assault is a bit more restrained and consonant, and Gustafson's solo has a strict, methodical character that further reminds of an earlier 80s speed metal character. Along for the ride is "Drunken Wisdom", the band's first venture into doom territory, which comes mixed with a lot of melancholic acoustic guitar work that almost sounds like it could have influenced parts of Bathory's "Twilight Of The Gods".
It blasts off into thrash territory about halfway through, but the general body of the song has a definite Black Sabbath feel to it, particularly reminding of the down-tuned heavy riff from the latter half of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath".
But the end all, be all of this album is the 3rd chapter of the ongoing Overkill self-titled saga that closes the album off, which takes the same thematic character of the previous two installments and translates them into a driving thrash anthem of terror that is close to Dark Angel in terms of intensity, yet slightly slower. Ultimately, the reception of this album hinges upon its near schizophrenic mixture of older and newer practices, culminating in an album that could almost be construed as progressive given the deep contrast from one song to the next.
Perhaps it could be argued that Overkill shied away from fully embracing the changeover that occurred in , which cuts against the frequent criticism of some that Overkill are a mere product of their day than the other way around.
But however people choose to remember the musical landscape of the late 80s, this album will hound all who listen to it like the forbidding mascot firing its retinal lasers at the adolescent dork in the sewer, commanding full obedience and repetitive neck-wrenching motions of the head. Well after the speed metal-infused thrash attacks of their wicked first two efforts, the boys decided to drop the speed metal influences and go for an all-out thrash assault.
You'd think that Overkill going straight for the throat with pure thrash would produce a masterpiece, right? Well "Under The Influence" has some pretty great highlights but suffers a great deal from some totally useless songs and moments that just go nowhere, leaving an opening for that greatest sin of a metal album: unmemorable songs!
In addition to becoming thrashier Overkill also headed in a more technical route, something a number of thrash bands were pulling at the time to keep the songs more interesting. This helps the group and also doesn't give'em many favors either. Easily the high point here, and of any Overkill record, is that cancer-raping madman himself, Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth.
His nasally, bombastic shrieking and clean singing isn't as unhinged as on "Feel The Fire" or especially "Taking Over", but the man still more than kills his fair share of poseurs despite scaling back his aggression on here. Bobby Gustafon's guitar-shredding is probably better on here than he last two albums; he's comfortably come into his own, composing some much more complex solos and a wider array of riffage. Poor DD Verni's bombastic bass gets toned down a little in this mix, but not so much where he still isn't inaudible like the average thrash album; beware his killer intro to "Head First"!
The lowlight here is new drummer Sid Falck, replacing the awesome Rat Skates. He's not awful but man is he average; he usually just plods along during most songs no matter what the speed and tone are, not to mention for some reason it's mixed too loudly.
As previously mentioned, this album has it's fair share of highlights, but it tends to be outweighed a little by the fact that a number of the songs, while not bad, leave little to no imprint. Take for example part III in the "Overkill" saga. It relies way to much on atmosphere and gets to the meat and potatoes of the song way to late in in.View credits, reviews, tracks and shop for the Vinyl release of Under The Influence on Discogs. Label: Megaforce Worldwide - ,Atlantic - 7 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: US • Genre: Rock • Style: Thrash, Heavy Metal/5(60).