Sinister Smoke

Riffer Madness

It is my understanding that when you can shred like a madman, you do not […]
By Matt "Wolverine" Johnson
April 29, 2015
Riffer Madness - Sinister Smoke album cover

It is my understanding that when you can shred like a madman, you do not necessarily need vocals on your songs. Such is the case with RIFFER MADNESS, who released an album called (of all things) "Sinister Smoke". This band is from the Southeastern United States and their style and influences line up with exactly what someone familiar with Metal in that region might expect. Little-known names like BLACK SABBATH, PANTERA, SLAYER, and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY are on that list and their influences are evident in the music on this album.

Branding themselves as Heavy Metal Rock n' Roll, RIFFER MADNESS hit the nail on the head with that description. This fast-paced collection of face-melting riffs and solos is just what the doctor ordered.

Side note: Many times as Metalheads, we are given grief about our choice in music because the vocals and lyrics are an acquired taste in most cases. My rebuttal when faced with situations where I try to explain why I like Metal is not necessarily for its growled or guttural vocals, or even cleans like in a lot of Power Metal. I listen to the music for the intensity, skill, and complexities that badass guitars and drums have; making me want to jump in the mosh pit and get up by the stage at a show, throw up the horns, and band my head. I am not dependent on there being lyrics to Metal for me to like it!

This is one of those instances where I enjoyed the hell out of some music and accepted that it was all instrumental. The originality of the shredding by Shane Wesley is noteworthy and any band that wanted to make into the next tier would love having this guy on the strings. The bass man and drummer are equally proficient and seemed to have no trouble keeping up with the jams on "Sinister Smoke".

Besides having Southern Metal influences, I did also like the Thrash Metal hints I heard on "Thirst for Blood". A couple of riffs did indeed remind me of PANTERA. A few tracks on the album had a familiar percussion instrument, like that of a GRAND FUNK RAILROAD song, leaving me asking for more cowbell! It isn't something I hear a lot of in Metal, but loved the rhythm it sets, making my feet tap involuntarily.

However short of an album at only six tracks, it's a fine addition to the collection of anyone who is curious about or enjoys instrumental, or Southern Metal in general. Now let your ears inhale that "Sinister Smoke" and prepare to Rock!

7 / 10


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"Sinister Smoke" Track-listing:

1. Sinister Smoke
2. Thirst for Blood
3. Curb Stomp
4. Acadiana
5. Orvisville
6. Green Dragon

Riffer Madness Lineup:

Shane WesleyGuitar
Brandon KneippBass
Jay Wesley - Drums

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