Influenza I Think 12”

With a band called after a disease (the second one this month, probably a sign from the gods of punk that I should go to the doctor for a checkup soon), a slimy green font dripping onto a severed human head (or is it a head inside a head?), and ‘’I think’’ carved on the forehead, I initially thought that INFLUENZA was going to be some sort of raw and noisy gruff hardcore punk affair, especially since they are from Tampere. But I was wrong. I did not expect them to be, but INFLUENZA is very much influenced by early US hardcore, or maybe more accurately, I would compare them to those ’80s Italian bands that were influenced by US hardcore (not unlike SHOTGUN SOLUTION?), as the band has that similar wild vibe—I suppose POISON IDEA was also very much on their mind when they wrote the seven songs making up this mini album. There are some well-crafted, crawly, mid-paced numbers on this one and some proper rocking guitar leads, while the snotty singer is clearly committed and the lyrics have that sarcastic political tone that you expect from this style. Not the kind of sound I necessarily listen to often, but I did enjoy it, and with a total length of about seventeen minutes, the energy and dynamics are always present. Apparently INFLUENZA started out as more of a typical distorted hardcore punk band with reverb-heavy vocals, but the change might be for the best.