March 1, 2022

Under The Influence is a hardcore punk rock band from Wollongong, New South Wales in Australia which was formed in 1998 with something of a revolving line-up and several albums/downloads already in the locker. The musicians are all devotees of bands like The Dead Kennedys and it is obvious that they delight in challenging the system with the current line-up being Kin on vocals, Curci on guitar, Dan on drums and Lochy on bass. Dark Side Of The Brain is the follow on to Exchange My Brain which came out in 2019 and is a crazy and very riff heavy dark and intense industrial punk rock album that is a real sonic assault and absolutely takes no prisoners.

Cranked up Ramones type riffs over which hardcore vocals are screamed out certainly makes for uncomfortable listening but, I believe, that is the whole point of the record as the band has a message to impart and wants you to listen as it challenges perceptions. It would be easy to dismiss this as a basic cacophony but that would be to miss the point entirely because if you spend some time with the lyrics and the meaning behind the songs then you discover an articulate band with a message to impart. It warns of a world gone mad with battles against personal demons, racism, drug and alcohol additions and where metal health issues are ignored and buried out of sight. Music can change perceptions and still has the power to change attitudes and Under The Influence reminds us that we still have much to do in society. The topics are shocking and what better way to raise them than through shock music and I applaud the band’s stance and politics heartily. This is not an outfit that harks back to those dark days of the mid-’70s as there is still so much wrong around today but at least we still have bands like Under The Influence to remind us of the mire that we are all embroiled in.

The album is full of huge riffs, fast and furious vocals and powerful bass and drums so it most certainly makes sit up and take notice. Is it an album or an EP as there are only nine tracks with a total run time of 19-minutes but it is enough for the band to get their points over to you and whether we listen and act upon them is another matter! I love the art work which shows just how clever this band is and they are great observers of social issues too.

It is most certainly worth checking out as Under The Influence is not your typical punk rock band!

Dark Side Of The Brain

  1. Cobra Spit (1:45)
  2. Puerto Escondido (2:02)
  3. Watching You Bleed (2:21)
  4. Retaliate (2:12)
  5. Body Parts Blurb (1:47)
  6. Moon Flavoured Magnets (1:10)
  7. Crows (2:16)
  8. Better In The Long Run (2:48)
  9. Gone (2:11)