Devil in the Kitchen
Released: 2004, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
I and some of my colleagues at Metal-Rules.com told you a few months ago, upon the release of Devil in the Kitchen’s demo, to watch this band closely because they’re going to be something truly unique. WIZARD’S WALK, their first EP, delivers on that promise in spades. It’s one of the best metal releases I’ve listened to in 2004!
Devil in the Kitchen is a new instrumental folk metal band from Massachusetts, but if the words “folk metal” immediately make you think of Mago de Oz and Skyclad, forget it. I don’t think they sound anything like those bands. This is something entirely new. The seven songs on WIZARD’S WALK are very heavy and blisteringly fast, combining an exceptionally raw, chunky and heavy almost thrash metal sound with, of all things, an electric fiddle. Imagine Testament covering “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band, and playing it about four times faster than the original, and you have an idea of what Devil in the Kitchen sounds like.
The EP begins with “Heather’s Concussion,” which is fast and punishing enough, but then follows with an equally heavy but almost Celtic-sounding track, “Coked Up Leprechaun,” which describes the song perfectly. “Whipple Hill Medley” slows down to about 70mph and probably qualifies as the “ballad” on this album, at least at first, though the guitars backing the fiddle sound like a beer-fueled guitar garage jam session duel between Zakk Wylde and Lemmy Kilmister. The opening of “Trey Eats Meat” sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard in metal before, combining a rough-as-rusty-nails riff that reminds me of The Obsessed with an instrument that sounds like nothing so much as an electric cello. For sheer innovation, this is the best track on the album. But, as I was on the Devil in the Kitchen demo, I’m most impressed—in fact, even astonished—at “Wizard’s Walk.” It’s so fast, melodic, heavy and energetic that it’s tiring even to listen to. I’ve never seen Devil in the Kitchen live—not yet, anyway—but I wouldn’t be surprised if “Wizard’s Walk” triggers an apocalyptic mosh pit to rival anything you’d see at a Marduk concert. It’s clearly the highlight of this EP.
This band is a team that works very well together. The guitars, bass and drums have got to be hard-pressed to catch up with the fiddle player, an obviously insane maniac named Andy Reiner, but they do an admirable job. I like the rawness and unpolished feel of Stash Wyslouch’s guitar playing, which adds a gritty edge that will dispel the inevitable comparisons to more “flowery” sounding folk metal bands. The production on this EP, though much better than the demo, is still fairly raw. However, if and when this band is signed to a major label—which they certainly ought to be if there’s any justice in the world—a crystal-clear production will make their sound come through with even more power.
I loved this EP, and I think if you like metal, any kind of metal, you will too. It’s so different and unusual that fans of any genre are likely to respond well to it. If you want to experience something truly new in the metal world, you owe it to yourself to pick up WIZARD’S WALK.