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Under The Influence, Overkill's 3rd effort, seems often to be overshadowed by the two great albums that come before and the two after. The best known song here, Hello from the Gutter, seems to live (appropriately in a way) in the shadow of Elimination from the next album. There's that weird production. But within that extremely 80's album cover is a great, gritty work of thrash, and a bridge between modern and early Overkill.
Feel the Fire and Taking Over were both have some very distinct speed and NWOBHM influences, but Under the Influence develops the somewhat groovy sound more known as Overkill, slowing things down and spending some quality time on the sixth string. Bobby Blitz also shifts from the (relatively) clean vocals of the first two albums to the smoker's rasp gravel and growl he's know more for.
The groovy nature of the sound is further emphasized by the production. DD Verni is relatively high in the mix in most Overkill work but his clanking pick bass is even higher here, and the guitar tone I can only decsribe as "squishy". The combination adds some extra thud to the groovier tracks like the opener "Shred" (which true to its name, rips out some nasty solos), the crushing-like-a-hangover "Drunken Wisdom" and "End of the Line", and also adds an odd tone to the higher pitched songs like "Hello from the Gutter".
The highlights here are, well pretty much the whole damn album, the only remotely weak songs are "Headfirst" and "End of the Line" which have parts that can come off monotonous, though are still decent (End of the Line has an excellent creepy interlude in the middle). "Shred" and "Never Say Never" kick things off with speed and snarling determination from Blitz, "Hello from the Gutter" raises a 40 to all your broken dreams and breaks from the rest the album with a higher pitched classic main riff. "Mad Gone World", "Brainfade", and "Drunken Wisdom" join in the angry WTF-fest and feature some distinct touches -"Here it comes (PAUSE) Brainfade!", the pause in Drunken Wisdom before the solo where the song pauses for Bobby to chew out the subject of his wrath, and said wicked solo suddenly cuts out at the end into radio static.
The album closes with the title track, the third part of the Overkill song series, and features one of the most evil main riffs you'll ever hear. It ties this album in with the two before it, while the album also establishes Overkill's sound for years to come, and does a damn good job of it.