FREAK KITCHEN – Land Of The Freaks (2012)

FREAK KITCHEN - Land Of The Freaks (2012)


Let me introduce you, specially to US listeners; FREAK KITCHEN.

This Swedish power rock trio – the brainchild of guitarist / lead vocalist Mattias “IA” Eklundh – has been in existence since the early ’90s. Their debut album ‘Appetizer’ came out in 1994.

After three additional albums the original formation disbanded, leaving Mr. Eklundh the task of finding two new bandmates. Shortly thereafter a new trio was formed with the addition of bassist Christer Ortefors and drummer Bjorn Fryklundh.

“Land Of The Freaks” is the group’s seventh overall album, and the third for version 2.0 of the band. It was published in 2009 in Europe, but as many Scandi releases, hard to find in the rest of the world.

The US label Lasers Edge is announcing a release campaign of the entire Freak Kitchen back catalog, beginning with “Land Of The Freaks”. Access to Freak Kitchen’s music in North America has previously been limited to expensive imports through specialist dealers.

But enough of the history, let’s talk about what’s most important…the music!

Freak Kitchen is typically classified as a progressive metal band. I am not going to argue with that. What I am going to do is flesh out a couple of intricacies that make this particular progressive metal band unique.

First of all it is critical to note that the songs contain as many rock & pop / hard rock elements as progressive ones. What does that mean? When you break down one of their songs you will find wacky time signatures, ridiculous playing, grand thematic changes, etc.

But here is the catch. If you don’t concentrate on uncovering these elements, you won’t notice they exist thanks to the band’s commercial-pop / catchy-rock sensibilities. Nothing, no matter how flashy, disrupts the flow of a song. That means unlike some other progressive metal bands I can name, there is never a moment of mid-song headbanging recalibration.

Second; also stemming from the rock&pop sensibilities, the songs themselves never outstay their welcome. The longest track on “Land of the Freaks” is five minutes and forty two seconds. All of the others end before the five minute mark, most before four minutes.

I’m not trying to imply that epic-length songs are bad (I love them), but I am saying that I like knowing I don’t have to specifically set aside a half hour to fully enjoy one Freak Kitchen song.

Third; the contributions of Mattias Eklundh, both vocally and on guitar are spectacular, plain and simple. To say that he is a gifted guitarist is an immeasurable understatement.

His tonality, technicality, timing, and musical IQ are second to none. The fact that he is also a fantastic vocalist is icing on the cake. His clean vocals are able to perfectly match the mood of the song whether it calls for all out aggression or heartfelt tenderness.

So what about the album?

“Land Of The Freaks” is insane, mind-blowing in all aspects.

You can’t resist to this band and this CD since the opening track “God Save the Spleen”, a killer groovy pop/metal tune with a monstrous guitar tone, devastating main riff, and the bottomless groove cast a magic spell upon you at first listen.

But the thrill does not stop there. Other top-shelf rockin’ compositions on this album include the amazing musical skills in the South-Asian flavored “Teargas Jazz”, the deceptive “Murder Groupie”, and the phenomenally amusing anti-fascist “Honey, You’re a Nazi”.

But this band never stop to add variation to their fantastic blend on music. The transformative “OK” begins like a ballad before morphing into a rocker, or the straight up acoustic ditty “Do Not Disturb” is marvelous.

Not good enough? Fine. How about “Hip Hip Hoorah”, a danceable metal song. That’s right; danceable (you’ll be surprised).

What I’m trying to get across is that there is a chasm-wide variety of material on offer here. No matter what you’re looking for, “Land Of The Freaks” will fulfill your order with loads of originality.

Freak Kitchen are a trio of amazing musicians from Sweden that play a style of progressive metal that is full of virtuoso musical technique combined with catchiness, filled with quirky lyrics.

They fuse styles such as metal, rock&pop, hard rock and jazz-rock into brilliant compositions that will boggle your mind. Mattias “IA” Eklundh is a musician with a vision out of this World.

I’ve been fan of Eklundh since his early days, collecting all his hard to find projects CD’s, and although he always has been an incledible guitar player, in “Land Of The Freaks” the man has expanded even further his infinite creativeness.

If you’re looking for something original, different, captivating, and at the same time highly entertaining, don’t miss this stunning band.

Highly, Highly Recommended.

01 – God Save The Spleen

02 – Hip Hip Hoorah

03 – Teargas Jazz

04 – Sick Death By Hypochondria

05 – OK

06 – Honey You’re A Nazi

07 – The Only Way

08 – Murder Groupie

09 – The Smell Of Time

10 – One Last Dance

11 – Do Not Disturb

12 – Clean It Up

Mattias “IA” Eklundh : Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards

Christer Ortefors : Bass

Bjorn Fryklundh : Drums


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