Riff Fist – Fistful of Riffs

This presents a conundrum of the most profound.  Is the fist made of riffs?  Or is it rather that the riffs are made of fist?  This question may be impossible to answer, and we’re certainly not intelligent enough around here to figure it out, so we’ll save this philosophical speculation for the rest of you.  Regardless, these guys are coming in swinging with a risky band name.  If one is to define oneself as punching others in the face with the power of maximum riff action, you better damn well bring that riffing or there are going to be problems.  We’re not looking for a chug fist around here, nor are we looking for a solo fist, or a breakdown fist.  At this point, we are expecting riffs, a lot of them, and of high quality, so yes, a riff fist would be most pleasurable.  Further, if you’re going to continue the flow of symbolic riff action via the title of this EP, Fistful of Riffs, you’re giving your listener very high expectations.  It’s like a soon-to-be presidential candidate running their campaign as “The Greatest President Who Ever Lived.”  They’re not even voted-in yet and already they’re talking the smack.  So, what about these guys?  Do they break the paradigm of “lots of talk, but not lots of walk?”  Well, in some ways yes, in some ways they might want to consider storing that punch for later, because currently it’s feeling more like a sack of mushy potatoes than a Fistful of Riffs.


We’ll explain the potato thing in a bit.  This EP actually has some hefty chunk to it, via the bass.  Whichever means these Australian boys used to record this, it’s awesome.  You can turn down the bass entirely and you’re still going to feel it tossing the steaks on the grill.  The guitars?  They back it up well, in spite of what you read above.  Riff Fist commands some sick fuzz, they have this stoner groove that grinds and chugs with just the right amount of effect for quality, not so much that it gets buried in its own riffing.  When they come in with “Spud King,” the way that bass hits your ears you know it’s going to be a fine listen with a fine brewsky, not something from a six-pack.  It has this Southern US gumption to it, in spite of where they really come from.  So, if you like that kind of arse-shakin’ tempo with a fuzz grind, these guys deliver the basic elements.  And who would have thought they’d do it while singing about things like eating french fries?


But that’s kind of the thing about Fistful of Riffs.  Riff Fist sets itself up to deliver, trust us, you can hear it.  You can hear it as sweat drips off their fretboards, and you can certainly hear it in the excellent delivery of the vocalist.  He sings with this auto-mechanic-in-a-bar swagger, that one guy with the bear chest you know is a man by his mere stomach girth.  Problem is, once you get to talking to him, you realize he doesn’t have much to say and you just took his image at face-value instead looking within, “where it counts” as lovers like to say.  The riffs deliver the fuzz, it’s there, it’s smokin’ and it’s there, but it doesn’t last long.  Riff Fist simply play their punches too consistently.  You see them coming after one or two, and soon enough the bruises are appearing on their face.  Some of the songs feel like they could have ended minutes before they actually do, because they rely on the same catchy chugs for too long; they nab a groove and there it is again, and again, and again…anything else to add?  In addition, the comedic element, if it’s intentional, is fun, but it’s incredibly difficult for any band to keep serious listeners around when it’s not entirely certain how seriously they take themselves.  Only in rare instances has this ever worked, such as with Green Jellÿ, except that those guys counteract it their, quote, “stupid puppet show,” so it becomes a package deal.  Take out costumes and stage antics, and singing about potatoes and other silly things gets mushy.  Without a consistent aura of riffing, it ends up missing a blow eventually and tripping over the feet of the more-seasoned fighter standing in front of it, who promptly kicks its jaw in and finishes his/her Grey Goose.  These guys have the delivery to go somewhere, they  just need to work harder on the entire presence to get it smoking.


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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Riff Fist – Fistful of Riffs
3.5 / 5