I have been an Overkill fan since the release of 1987’s “Taking Over” I am glad that they still are playing music today, and even though the have combined elements of more straight-foward heavy metal with Thrash on newer albums, they are one of the few Thrash bands from the 80’s that still are making good music. Lets get to the review of 1988’s “Under the Influence” I still have the original cassette that I bought when this was released in 1988 and I can say that even then I was a bit disspointed with the album. The album starts out great with “Shred” but “Never say Never” is a dud. “Hello from the Gutter” is easily the best song on the album” and is followed by decent “Mad Gone World” and the awesome “Brianfade” “Drunken Wisdom” is a good thrash song musically, but the lyrics are really bad. “End of the Line”, “Head First” are pretty mediocre, and Overkill III lacks the energy of the first two parts. Even still out of nine tracks, Five are excellent, three are mediocre, and one is just plain bad. So even though the album as a whole only has really one horrid song, why only 3 stars? Reason being is that this album really pulls away from the 4 other excellent albums recorded from 1985-1991. “Feel the Fire”, “Taking Over”, “Years of Decay”, and “Horrorscope” are true Overkill classics, each one being a five star effort, yet “Under the Influence” seems to dumb down a bit, and its almost like the black sheep of the family. Its no where near as bad as “W.F.O” and “The Killing Kind” (the two Overkill albums that I hate) but its still not up to the par during Overkill’s Glory Years.
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Now, anyone who is a fan of heavy music should know these guys. I also believe in my heart,that even though no one says it, almost every heavy band is inspired by these guys. Big or small inspiration. This album was good. It didnt flow like it should have. But, if you listen to it, you will realize the diversity of it. And i will say this and stand by it. To this day!! No one can make music like these guys. No one arranges music any better!
This is what ’80s thrash metal was all about. Every song on here is absolutely awesome! Right from the point where Blitz yells “Go!” on ‘Shred’ and a killer guitar solo starts up to the ending guitar solo on ‘Overkill III’ you will be wrecking your neck, holding horns high, and doing every other cliched metal action!
As someone who loves all forms of metal, this is a particular gem! If you do not have the early Overkill albums (including this one) right alongside the first three Metallica albums and the two Megadeth classics, you cannot call yourself a fan of thrash.
Pure classic. Buy right now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an “Under the Influence” shirt to buy!
While Overkill were late starters on the thrash scene, they more than made up for it by being one of the most prolific bands of the late ’80s. Under The Influence was their third album in two years when it was released in 1988, and the rapidity at which the albums had been released had no effect on the quality of the material whatsoever.So what were Overkill serving up for the Wrecking Crew? Well, it was a good dose of solid riffing, bass with attitude, some of the most imaginative drumming to be heard in the entire scene, and perhaps the second best thrash vocalist in Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, bettered only by Joey Belladonna.Bobby Gustafson proved himself one of the most versatile guitar players of the time, multitracking crushing rhythm and searing lead guitars on the same songs. To make up for the lack of a second guitar, DD Verni’s bass is high in the mix, sacrificing a bit of bottom end to fill the mid range gaps. The two blended together incredibly well to produce a distinct sound which set Overkill apart from the crowd.The shout-along of “Hello From The Gutter”, while a little cheesy now, was a typical Overkill thrasher- a catchy main riff, backed by the rock solid rhythm section, topped with Ellsworth’s distinctive voice and some tasty leads.No one ever did this band any favours as they fought their way up from the gutters (Hello!), which is reflected in some of the dark lyrical themes running through their songs. Broken dreams, the depths of drunken despair, the end of the line, all may have seemed lost, but there was definitely hope there for Overkill. “Shred”, “Never Say Never” and “Headfirst” had more positive themes coming through, like new beginnings and pride in being yourself.But at the end of the day, no one really cares what a band sings about as long as they have the songs to get the mosh pit going. Overkill more than deliver in that department on this album, or in fact on any album. And they have one of the coolest mascots ever in Chaly the skull bat thing!
Production isn’t everything, and this album proves it, people seem to complain about the production alot…why. I’ve heard MUCH worse production than this, the production isn’t THAT bad!, sometimes good production can ruin an album, if the production is overdone.
Anyways, onto the album, this is Overkills 3rd offering, after surprising everyone with their stellar debate “Feel The Fire”, then the best CD they’ve ever done came second “Taking Over”, could they top that? In my opinion, no, but is this and the following 2 albums great? Indeed!, the song writing is a bit different than the previous 2, but still Thrash.
Bobby Blitz must’ve smoked alot of cigarettes after “Taking Over”, because this is where his rasp begins, still uses the melodic kind of vocals though, like on the previous 2, but in spots, he gets really raspy, and would continue this more on the next 2 releases, great vocalist!
Bobby Gustafson is truely a shredder, great riffs, heavy, fast most the time, and catchy as all hell, great solos, an underrated guitarist.
D.D Verni is a great bassist, great bass lines, just listen to the bass solo in “Never Say Never” excellent!
This is the first album containing Sid Flack, who replaces Rat Skates, and the change is obvious, Sid is great though, alot of nice fills and stuff, his work would show better on the next album “The Years of Decay” though.
“Shred” A very strong opener, great opening riff, great riffs all throughout, very catchy too, SHRED!
“Never Say Never” Starts out a bit slower, then moves into a nice mid paced riff, then another nice riff, then comes the great bass solo by D.D!
“Hello From The Gutter” Everyone knows this song, it’s their most popular song, this is how I got into them, I saw the video for this back in the day on Headbangers Ball, great song.
“Mad Gone World” is kind of mid paced to begin, with a nice set of riffs, it gets quite a bit faster during the chorus though, just listen to that riff after the first chorus!
“Brainfade” Not quite as strong as the first 4, but still enjoyable, has a very catchy chorus.
“Drunken Wisdom” Starts out with a nice classical guitar, this is where the pace slows down alot, more groove in this one, but a great song.
“End of the Line” is mostly mid paced, with a killer solo.
“Head First”, Starts out with another great bass solo by D.D, and works it’s way into the first riff, then another Bass lead by D.D, and yet again, works it’s way into the riff, He’s heard really nice on this song, great song.
“Overkill lll (Under The Influence)” The last song of the Overkill trilogy, a killer track, not quite as good as part 2, but really good, a nice way to close the album, and end the trilogy.
This is an underrated album, other than “Hello From The Gutter”, nothing else off this got really noticed. And the production isn’t that bad people, the only thing that is kind of pushed back is the drums, but you can still hear them well. So if you’ve heard “Feel The Fire” and “Taking Over” and want to hear Overkill with a change on the skins, and the songwriting, check this one out. Also check out “The Years of Decay” and “Horrorscope” for more greatness!