Under the Influence

Overkill

Under the Influence

The opening song on Overkill’s 1988 album Under the Influence is the perfect declaration of the band’s musical intent: “Shred! Simply stated/Shred! In a word/Shred! Simply stated/Shred!” With the rise of bands like Metallica and Slayer, the thrash genre that Overkill had helped birth was reaching its peak—and this beloved New Jersey foursome was ready for the competition. “Mad Gone World” was the fastest thing Overkill had ever written up that time: a manic exclamation of exasperation in which the music is absolutely attuned to the lyrics. While “Drunken Wisdom” and “Overkill II (Under the Influence)” epitomize the quick-fire attack of thrash, Overkill was less concerned with beating its peers’ running times than in making classic hard rock music. While other bands were trying to outrace each other, Overkill wasn't afraid to slow things down on “Never Say Never,” “Brainfade," and “Head First”: three torpedo-like grooves that draw power from being coldly focused and utterly controlled.

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