Review Summary: Most in North America have never heard of Freak Kitchen? Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert are converted freaks. So then, read on to discover what you've been missing...
If there was such a thing as indie metal, Freak Kitchen would define the genre perfectly. This metal band hails from Sweden and was formed back in 1992. Their outstanding musicianship and authentic musical style makes this power trio a real treat for those of us lucky enough to find their music. The bands’ distaste for big corporate labels has not prevented them from getting their music out, just not on a scale one would expect them to be considering the high level of quality music that they put out. So, as they state on one of their songs: “I’m so alternative, I am so independent, this is the way to live the independent way of life.” I guess one could say the guys walk the talk!
Frontman Mathias IA Eklundh is considered a premier guitar player, having himself released several instrumental solo albums, Freak Guitar (1999) and Freak Guitar - The Road Less Traveled (2004). Also of some importance I guess is the fact that I’ve read in several live performance reviews that Eklundh will often play his guitar using foreign objects, some of which are described as vibrating dildos! Oh yeah, and he can really sing too! Eklundh is also the founder of Mattiasology, of which Steve Vai (peace prophet) and Paul Gilbert (space prophet) are listed as members of the Grand Church of Freakiness.
Organic is Freak Kitchen sixth studio album, which was released in different parts of the world on April 27, 2005, just don’t expect to find it in North America yet. When you hear them for the first time, and believe me - you will eventually hear them - it’s really like nothing you’ve heard before. It’s like mixing a heavy metal guitar sound with alternative rock and adding mild progressive elements and a clearly indie rock vibe. It’s going to turn your head as it did mine. If you’re into metal you’re going to wonder “what the hell is this” and if you’re into indie rock, you’re going to wonder the exact same thing? It’s a blending of styles that requires time to soak up. But after you get over the initial impact of it all, it grows on you very quickly and I mean that in an exponentially freaky kind of way.
The album opens with the single “Speak When Spoken Too,” which also features the eccentric Bumblefoot (Ron Thal - another Mattiasology prophet) on back up vocals and guitar. The Pantera style guitar riffs will have you questioning the bands musical style and the evident alternative rock vibe will probably remind you of System of a Down. There's a whole lot of humour spread out throughout the album as well.
The band plays hook laden guitar driven songs full of interesting arrangements and cool little guitar antics and solos. The crystal clear production, the occasional blast beats, the crazy guitar sounds, the humorous lyrics about everyday life (infidelity, racism, the role of parenting) and the radio-friendliness of it all makes this a very memorable listening experience.
FAV tracks: Becky, The Independent Way of Life, Infidelity Ghost