Coltre - Under the Influence
Dying Victims Productions
NWOBHM / traditional heavy metal
5 songs (33'24")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

Having listened now to Coltre’s Under the Influence multiple times I am still scratching my head for an answer. Same effect while staring at its cover art. Is the underdone lo-fi production, the compressed sound, the rough outline cover art, is it all part of some mystique? Done on purpose? Not that some producer somewhere simply forgot to turn the knobs, especially treble?

Well, the questions above most likely will remain unanswered, but with Under the Influence we have a look back to the 70s-80s NWOBHM, and unabashed one at that. Coltre loves to dial up prominent heroic riffs, and repeat them while the vocals carry a buoyant melody right into a mid-section drum roll (Lambs to the Slaughter). Some harmonies are so painfully familiar (Fight), it actually hurts me I can’t give you an exact reference for this pleasant glide. But then both riffs and base line of Crimson Killer are definitely Iron Maiden Killers, the one-line chorus, the gallop, until solo takes it into a slightly different direction. Many bands on Gates of Hell Records are now practicing this art (Legionnaire, Iron Griffin, Orphan Devil), but Coltre, being from London, give it a unique British angle. The band has the ability to hit the groove and stay with it, all the way to the dreamy solo in the instrumental On the Edge of the Abyss, which shows bright and plain that the band is totally enjoying the music they are playing.

Their sound, however, is beyond saving, no matter how much I was trying to turn up the volume or tune the EQ settings in my car player. Sometimes Coltre is also overstretching the length, as in almost 10’ Plague Doctor. Although long, the stoned vocals fit the title, and the band manages to make reference to early Deep Purple with a mad piano dash and goes onto meandering Sabbathy blues before picking up their gallop again.

If influence in Under the Influence meant to be seen as standing on the shoulders of their predecessors, Coltre did just that. Overpolishing certainly not required, but I would love to hear more legibility in the sound for me to like the EP even more.

Killing Songs :
Lambs to the Slaughter
Alex quoted 76 / 100
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