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I Think They’re Here to Shred - 86%

Ktulu, December 6th, 2003

And shred they do, indeed. Although, it’s not shred in the traditional Yngwie Malmsteen sense. It’s more like shred as in rip your fucking face off, sew it to your ass and keep feeding you chili until you blast shit all over your own face! All right, maybe not that extreme, but you get the picture. This is definitely not the best Overkill album, but it is surely not the worst. It has its fair share of memorable moments, like "Shred", a favourite among Overkill fans, and a good, fun, singable thrasher.

Blitz, DD, Bobby and new drummer Sid Falck also give us such tasty numbers as "Never Say Never", which is somewhat of an ode to the band’s career thus far, "Brainfade" a typically fun number from the ‘Kill and "Head First" which is just oh, so groovy. Not to mention "Drunken Wisdom" and "End of the Line", to of the finest tracks the band has done over the length of their long career.

The highlight, however, has got to be "Hello from the Gutter", a true thrash giant. It is much like "Elimination" from THE YEARS OF DECAY or "Deny the Cross" from TAKING OVER in that it has that unmistakeable Overkill swagger, although it’s not really a swagger so much as a cocky twitch.

This album also captures the band in the middle of their first transition period. FEEL THE FIRE and TAKING OVER were undeniably similar in their classic speed/thrash leanings. On UNDER THE INFLUENCE we see a more aggressive Overkill, more in the vein of what Exodus or Slayer were doing around the same time. They haven't quite perfected it at this point, but it's damn enjoyable none the less.

There are only two songs which kind of bring the album down a bit. "Mad Gone World" starts off nicely enough, but never really seems to find a focus, and "Overkilll III" is a rather big disappointment. It’s not like the song sucks, but it just doesn’t live up to the memory of the first two chapters. That’s really the story of this album, though. It just doesn’t quite live up to the first two magnificent beasts that are FEEL THE FIRE and TAKING OVER. That’s not to say it’s not a great album in its own right, just not as great. Anyway, buy it, love it, hurl yourself into your stereo, whatever.