"Mattias “IA” Eklundh is a Swedish guitarist, founder of the eclectic Metal band, Freak Kitchen, a band of which I am certainly a fan. The Smorgasbord is his third album under the moniker of Freak Guitar, essentially a solo album, and isn’t one I would quite classify as Metal. It is more of a guitar aficionado’s type of recording with a wide variety of types of music, ranging from nice acoustic pieces, songs that could fit in on a Rippington’s album, to heavier songs with lightning-fast playing and IA’s signature guitar sound and style. For the most part, it is an instrumental album as well.
At 40 tracks, I simply cannot do a track by track review but will hit on some of the songs I thought to be highlights. Opener Amphibians Night Out has quite a bit of guitar wizardry over a dance-type beat. The second song on the album is Musth, an alternative-type Metal song with interesting playing and quite a bit going on. Apparently there is comb involved. IA’s take on the AC/DC song Hells Bells is well executed and gives me a new perspective on the song. Friedrichs Wahnbriefe is a cool, sort of chaotic, tune and very well executed.
IA’s interpretation on Mambo Italiano of the mambo style is certainly interesting and displays some of his more traditional soloing. Mind Your Step has a nice riff throughout, a bit heavy, sort of something OSI might do. His take on the song That’s Amore is very cool and Metal. Keep it in the Dojo offers complexity in both the guitar lines and the drumming by Ranjit Barot. Mandur and Morgan’s Camel Safari is a song that easily could be mistaken for one on a Freak Kitchen album. Kali Ghat features a 23/16 time signature, making for a weird, different flow than most Westerns are used to hearing. Meralgia Paresthetica‘s drum tracks are played by Morgan Ågren and he is absolutely amazing: precise, powerful, intricate, and delicate are all words I would use to describe his playing here.
IA is certainly a master at his craft and an amazing musician, not simply a guitarist. The Smorgasbord is a challenging album and has significant variety, a true smorgasbord of musical styles. It certainly is not a Metal album, but there are things on here that we may appreciate. For “heavier” stuff from IA, I definitely recommend Freak Kitchen, the album Organic to be specific.
I hear the sound in a METAL way." - We Love Metal