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Under The Influence is a legendary thrash album. This album and others like it really helped the thrash scene peak in the late 80s. It’s probably my favorite Overkill album. It’s certainly better than their later work. The songs are much more melodic and first-rate than their following albums, such as Horrorscope. Apparently, some people on archives don’t feel the same. But that has no influence on my 96% grade.
This is everything a thrash album should be. The album starts fast and heavy with Shred. Track one has a powerful riff and impressive chorus. It is a premonition of things to come, for the rest of the album is just as quality. Hello From The Gutter has to be one of the top ten thrash songs ever. An amazing riff and immaculate chorus leaves you dumbfounded. The lyrics are great too, “The Big Apple’s rotten, rotting in the heat!” Bobby Gustafson is quite apt with the guitar, as D.D. Verni is with his bass. Put them together and you have deafening metal with intense solos. This song is sacred to many thrash fans. Blitzes vocals are a little screechy, but it adds character, and he’s still a very accomplished thrash lead singer. In fact, I like his vocals. Mad Gone World is almost as notable, with an especially fast chorus and energetic riffs. The song is fast and angry with lyrics hinting that a delusional man composed it. Brainfade keeps up the pace, as does Drunken Wisdom half way through the album. Brainfade has a funny clip of some whiny guy talking, pretty much the topic of the song. It’s most likely personal. The great tracks keep coming until they conclude with Overkill III. Bobby Gustafson perfects every chorus with his flawless guitar playing, and Blitzes striking vocals add the final touches. Give Sid credit on the percussion too, especially for keeping up with those fast riffs.
Therefore this is a classic Overkill album. Hello From The Gutter is an elite thrash release that helped thrash peak in 88’. Unfortunately the scene went downhill from there. If you’re a thrash/speed fan chances are you own it, but if not, what are you waiting for? New bands need to recreate a sound like this. If an album similar to Hello From The Gutter debuted today, I’m confident thrash would make a full return. Anyway this album is in a class of it’s own, fully deserving of its 96%.