Devil in the Kitchen
Released: 2004, Independent
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Many of our regular readers will instantly recognize this band, especially if they have visited our Disgruntled Metalheads forum, where Andy and Stash are regular posters. Indeed, the band has created quite a buzz even though Devil in the Kitchen has been active for only just under a year. Our regular readers may also recall from my review of the band’s self-titled demo back in April, Andy promised that the official EP would put the raw demo to shame.
Well, Devil in the Kitchen has delivered.
Three new songs, four old tracks, production that kicks the crap out of the demo, and more testicular fortitude than any four men should possess, this folk-metal phenom bursts into a flurry of speed metal riffage and guitar solos,, fiddle solos, bass lines that just kick ass (check out the great one towards the end of “Wizard’s Walk”), and a crazy-assed vegan drummer who has some incredible skills on the skins. Whereas bands like Skyclad or Mago De Oz utilize the fiddle to balance out a metal composition, Devil in the Kitchen takes the opposite path. Here, Andy’s fiddle becomes the centerpiece of the band, and he uses his fiddling to CREATE a totally metal sound. Folk-Metal, or Metal-Folk, whatever you want to call it, you cannot deny that this kicks ass. And it is all accomplished without the talents of a vocalist.
Every song here is jam-packed full of ideas. Andy Reiner, the principle songwriter in Devil in the Kitchen, manages a perfect balance of style, incorporating traditional Celtic folk arrangements and original metal compositions into a fresh and unique style that is neither tired, gimmicky, or trite. Rather, the songs here are brief (Seven songs, 24 minutes total length) and move quick enough so that every turn is an interesting new change. With each song on this EP being memorable in some way, it is difficult to pick a standout. Of course, “Heather’s Concussion” is somewhat of the band’s “classic hit,” appearing on each of the previous two demos, and it’s no wonder why because this one is catchy as hell. “Whipple Hill Medley” is pretty intense folk with a very traditional sound, and “Trey Eats Meat” throws out some riffage and drumming that would almost sound at home on a black metal album. Perhaps my favorite songs here are the new tracks, “Wizard’s Walk,” and “Mad Dog.” The former is the fastest bit of metal on the album, and here Devil in the Kitchen manages to write the first folk-speed-shred song in existence. Hell yes! The latter closes out the album with an almost frantic-sounding thrashy medley of traditional tunes.
WIZARD’S WALK is light years ahead of the demos in terms of production. It is amazing how balanced the mix is, and how well the essence of the band is captured without any appreciable sacrifice in intensity. It is a shame, however, that the EP contains only a mere 24 minutes of music. If this were a full-length, it would instantly make my top 10 for the year. This is the most fun I’ve had listening to an album in a while. I even played this for a bunch of my non-metal friends and they loved it. The devil is welcome in my kitchen, or, more accurately, my stereo at anytime. Since I received this highly anticipated album several weeks ago (Thanks, Andy), it has seen regular and repeated airplay. In that same time, Devil in the Kitchen have clawed their way up as one of my favorite unsigned bands today.