REVIEW: Under The Influence – The Struggle
A band that hits close to home. Under The Influence are your non-typical 5 piece rap-rock band. UTI have been knocking about the East Anglian scene since 2010 playing shows and building a foundation around the sound they wanted to craft. Although it has taken them a few years to find their feet they have settled on a line-up that works both on and off stage and were recently signed to Hassle Records. So here we are, it’s March, the cold bite of the winter is trailing behind and Under The Influence have released their debut album The Struggle. Following the release, UTI rode the hype through a UK headline tour which was well received and allowed them to showcase their new sound.
The Struggle is an 11 track fusion of hip hop and melodic metal recorded and produced at Anemic Studios by Kevin Peters. Having worked with other artists such as They Say Fall and Aurora, The Struggle certainly has clarity and plenty of tracks stand out as ‘bangers’. The intro track ‘Escape Routine’ has a slow build up that drops, an obnoxiously catchy riff during the chorus’ that lends itself to Jack Murphy’s vocals and a breakdown that made my neighbours come over to ask me to turn it down. Other tracks such as ‘The Life I Chose’, ‘6th Sense’, ‘A Common Mistake’ and ‘What Have You Done Lately’ directly show you that this album is thematic and its theme is the struggle of being in a band that’s working hard to show people the music they love. The album as a whole talks directly or indirectly about being in a band and the pitfalls that comes with that lifestyle whether it be members leaving, problems on the road or the age old writer’s block. Because the lyrics are ambiguous it lets the audience interpret the message behind the songs as they see fit and this makes it more of a personal affair.
The sound of the album manages to stay relevant and consistent at all times showing that the band have created their sound and stuck to their guns. The trio of backing vocals consisting of George, Widdowson, Josh Taylor and Josh Thexton drop in and out throughout the record but provide the necessary vocal harmonies that layer in between Jacks rapping creating a full and rich sound. The bass riffs provided by Josh Taylor are gritty and heavy with plenty of bass booms thrown in throughout supplying that extra depth to the guitars that although can be repetitive at time are cut and sampled by Kevin Peters to make them fresh to the ears. The production quality of the album is impeccable and there’s no shortage of small nuances that can be heard once you run through the album for a second time.
So this is a pretty unique and fresh take on a genre which has seen bands such as ‘Enter Shikari’, ‘Linkin Park’ and ‘Rage Against The Machine’ explode into the mainstream. They have challenged the norm and plunged into a genre which is notoriously hard to break into, made it their own and been recognised. I would say pick up a copy or go see them live if you need any more proof of the energy they can produce.
You can grab a copy of The Struggle on iTunes over HERE