Reviewed: April 2004
Released: 2004, Independent
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Without a doubt, Devil in the Kitchen is the most original band in metal today. Sure, other bands claim to play folk metal, but how many bands have set full-blown jig to speed metal? That’s right…only one, and that band is Devil in the Kitchen. This band is unique in two ways. First, unlike many bands playing folk metal nowadays, the centerpiece of the band is fiddler Andy Reiner, sawing up and down on the electric fiddle at the forefront of the band. Second, there are no vocals in the music.
Despite being a very raw, homemade production, the self-titled demo from Devil in the Kitchen shows off the band’s immense talent for composing and arranging folk metal songs that pack one hell of an energetic wallop.
“D-A Set” is up first, being a medley of traditional Irish songs that sets much of the tone for the entire album, but “Oven Hampster” (sic) with its blazing speed guitar (and blazing fiddle solo). Hell, even the drumming runs wild throughout the song. In any case, this is awesome! So far, my only complaint is the raw production, which leaves Stash’s guitar work somewhat in the background. It’s somewhat of a shame, really, because he comes up with some big, punchy riffs. “Whipple Hill Medley” starts off at a tempo that is simultaneously bouncy and mid-paced that builds up steam through the song to a very full, rich sound by the end of the track. “Viper” opens up with a really down-on-the-farm acoustic bit, but don’t let that fool you because you’re in for the most intense track on the demo. The production here is somewhat more balanced, and the duel between Stash and Andy comes to play. Speed metal with a fiddle! This track just rules. Check out the excellent fiddling around the 2:10-2:40 mark; you could not ask for a better solo, guitar or otherwise.
The rest of this demo includes a bunch of live tracks recorded on various dates. While the production really bottoms out here, the energy of the band, as well as of the crowd, propels the music to new levels. Their live set must be one hell of an act. Anytime you guys want to play up in Detroit, let me know! Of these live songs, “Heather’s Concussion,” with its awesome drumming and catchy as hell tempo is my favorite. The lead guitar here, for some reason, reminds me of Fatima Hill on VALHALLA. Don’t ask me why that comparison popped into my head right now; it just did.
If I were not running the risk of getting my ass kicked by the local bands in Michigan, namely Cursed Eternity and Summer Dying, I would come out publicly and say that Devil in the Kitchen is the best unsigned metal band out there today. In any case, Devil in the Kitchen runs right up there with those bands at the top of the independent metal ladder. With the talent, energy, and drive shown on this simple demo, Devil in the Kitchen is poised to take the metal world by storm. Andy has promised me that an official recording, on its way, is going to put this demo to shame. I trust that the band will deliver.
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