Under the Influence is one of those albums that just seem unimportant in Overkills discografie. It’s a decent album, but not their best.
The plague of eighties-Overkill is the poor sound quality of their records. Under the influence doesn’t sound as poorly as Taking Over or Feel the Fire, but if you compare it with other releases from the same year (1988), it just not that great. They were signed to Atlantic at the time, and one of the trademarks of Atlantics metal releases from the eighties is that they all sound horrible and cheaply made.
The drums sounds thin and tinny, the bass sounds like a guitar and the guitar sound screechy and and are very high pitched. A remastered / remixed version would be welcome.
Shred is the most thrashy song on the record.It’s fast and has some nice shredding guitar. Never Say Never has that Overkill sound and feel to it, their signature is easily found on this song. Especially on the chorus, heavy heavy, with a full stop, an arpeggio and then back to the heavy. If you listen to it, you’ll understand what I’m not describing very well.
Hello from the Gutter is a sing-along tune. The vocal melody is kind of addictive and stays with you for some time. It has an aggressive edge to it and also a sing-along quality. Mad Gone World has a chorus that’s easy to remember, but the rest of the song is easily forgotten.
End of the Line is a great tune. It’s aggressive in laid back sort of way, if that makes any sense. It’s well rounded and just a quality track. It has a great bassline and the vocal melody is infectious. Head First is another sing-along track, with a hooky, groovy main riff that keeps the track moving forward,in a head bobbing mode.
The final track is the third installment of the Overkill anthems. I love the first two, from Feel the Fire and Taking Over, this one is not as good as predecessors. It’s lacking in direction and the melody is weak.
Overkill has released consistently good albums. This album has several great tunes, but is nowhere near what the band is able to deliver. Things to come starts showing up: the great snarly melodies, sing-along chorus and you can sort of hear DD-bassound starting to clean up.
Recommended tracks: Hello from the Gutter, Head First
Rating: 3,5 / 5