LOCAL ACT: Sinister Influence 

With A Bang: Underground punk/metal band Sinister Influence emerge

"Zero Impact" from the album Underground
Audio File

Based on Folly Island, Pete and Jesse Kassa may look like mellowed-out surfer dudes, but their music is anything but chilled out.

The drummer and guitarist (respectfully) formed a super-aggressive garage band seven years ago while attending James Island Christian High School. Under the name Sinister Influence, the Kassas, bassist Glen McKenzie, and guitarist Craig Torella composed a master set of raw and dynamic originals. They celebrate the official release of their debut album this weekend.

The band solidifid its lineup after a few changes. Torella has been in as guitarist for a year now.

"He can play drums pretty well," Pete says of the new guy. "He sometimes gets on the kit, which allows me to get out front. I love doing both, really."

The foursome spent two years tracking Underground. Clocking in at just over an hour, it's a 19-song double-album. Engineer Mitch Webb of Mantis Records in North Charleston was at the helm throughout the sessions.

"For the new album, Jesse and I did all of the songwriting," says Pete. "We worked on it for so long ... I thought it would take less time to finish something like this, but I'm glad with how this turned out."

The band's hardcore punk/metal foundation is styled with bits of classic rock guitar heroics. The drummer/vocalist says he grew up digging into the old-school punk style of Swedish-based band Millencolin and California punk bands Strung Out and Pennywise, but the band is expanding their collection of music, drawing from the operatic, super-fast music of DragonForce and other "power-metal" bands.

"I call us a punk band, but Jesse tends to say we're a light metal/rock band. Having a new guitarist helps us add the harmonizing guitar riffs. But I never listened much to the metal drummers. I always stick with the punk-style drumming." —T. Ballard Lesemann

Sinister Influence shares the stage with The 33's, Two Steps Back, and Plan X at the Oasis Bar & Grill (788 Folly Road, 843-225-2522) on Sat. Aug. 16. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. Visit www.myspace.com/sinisterinfluence for more.


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