Freak Kitchen - Cooking With Pagans review


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Band: Freak Kitchen
Album: Cooking With Pagans
Release date: September 2014

01. Professional Help
02. Freak Of The Week
03. Sloppy
04. Goody Goody
05. (Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach
06. Private Property
07. The Mathematics Of Defeat
08. I Don't Want To Golf
09. Hide
10. Come Back To Comeback
11. Ranks Of The Terrified
12. Once Upon A Time In Scandinavistan

I've been spinning the new Freak Kitchen album for a while now. I've liked it since the moment I got over the initial prejudiced impression, which was at about a second spin. Yet, strangely, even after repeated listens, I'm still at a loss as to how to describe this album. With all the thinking and back catalogue revisits, I've managed to come up with two terms to stick on it: vintage and old. It'll take some explaining how these two terms relate to the album and, more importantly, why specifically these two.

Freak Kitchen are what I like to refer to as an intelligent hard rock band with a twist. Rather non-linear song structures, exceptional and twisted guitar work, and thoughtful, insightful, and often satirical lyrics level this band well above the average. It's intelligent fun. Their previous album, Land of the Freaks, presented a bit of a listening challenge with its multitude of signature changes and different rhythms, and raised an expectation for something that ventures more into prog metal territories. That formed the basis of my initial slight disappointment with Cooking with Pagans.

However, Freak Kitchen were, are, and will remain primarily a quality hard rock band. Keeping in line with this thought, Cooking with Pagans falls into step beside the rest of their discography quite nicely. It's all new songs in an old disguise. This album stands for everything that Freak Kitchen are, hence the first of my labels: vintage. The only problem is that some songs could do with a bit more character and in-your-face attitude to make them more memorable and stand out, I mean something else beside the exceptional and crazy guitar tunes that Mattias Eklundh conjures.

The second label is a sentimental one. Listening to this album, I was struck with the thought that time is ticking by, and no-one stays young forever. Don't get me wrong, this was no revelation and this album is vigorous and doesn't revolve around time or age topics. The reason is rather more banal. When I saw the band in May, Mattias Eklundh said that one of the nasty colds he had has damaged his vocal chords. It seems that in the studio it's rather more apparent than in the live setting.

This rasp that Mattias has developed has aged the overall sound of the band, sadly draining some of the energy these guys put into it all. The contrast is even more painful during "Private Property," a brilliant song delivered brilliantly by Christer Örtefors. The ease he is singing with just makes the strain of Mattias' blown vocals more apparent, sadly... and paired with the vintage feeling of the album as a whole, it makes me aware that one component of the recipe is not quite right.

My personal sentiments aside, though, Cooking with Pagans is a fine album. Musically as well as lyrically it's got some great Freak Kitchen stuff going on. Definitely an album worth listening to.


Written on 08.10.2014 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 87 users
09.10.2014 - 06:38
Haha, this doesn't even sound like a band. The guitar tone makes no sense. I don't think there is a rhythm guitar. It's nice that the guitarist can tap, but the production and overall presentation is just so...odd. I think they are trying to be funny...I don't get it.

I know this isn't metal and they are not trying to rock. It is just lame and unfunny.

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