There are some bands that stay around for a long time and never really reach any kind of height in their career. They remain stagnant in their music and they never push themselves to be better. Despite how KITTIE started off as a band, growing popular with Nu Metal roots and having the blessing/curse of being a young all female group that the media played off of as a gimmick, this band has never really stopped. They have pushed themselves and their music and now as full grown women and full on musicians they have finally reached their pinnacle. It was a rough road to get here for these ladies, but the Lander sisters pushed their band and their skills to this point and have finally released the album that should define their career with “In The Black”.
Unfortunately, KITTIE runs the line of being too user friendly for most Metalheads and too heavy for mainstream Rockers. Not to mention that many will never forgive them for their former Nu Metal life in the beginning. Honestly, I was even surprised with how good “In The Black” is. I have yet to actually like a KITTIE album, despite the respect I have for the band to push themselves consistently to be better, and that’s why I think “In The Black” is such a landmark release for them. It’s the first time that I found an entire album from these Canadians that I enjoy. Call me a poser, call me a sell out, but this is a good album whether it’s KITTIE or not.
Morgan and Mercedes Lander, guitars/vocals and drums respectively, have taken this band a long way. They are a consistent force that definitely allows this band to build on a foundation. They have really grown as musicians too and it shows on “In The Black”. This is the most impressive KITTIE release to date. Morgan’s vocals are on top shape as she aptly changes up between her raspy growl and her Pop influenced singing chops and her rhythm guitar work has only gotten better as the band incorporates more Metal elements into the song writing like triplet riffs and focuses on guitar work. It helps that the band has also retained Tara McLeod on lead guitar from their last album as her chemistry with the band has only gotten tighter. The solos (yeah, I said solos) are more frequent and better established here and her trade offs with Morgan are the best I’ve heard from the band thus far.
Some of the writing is a bit cliché though; the slower tracks like “Sleepwalking” and “Sorrow I Know” tend to drag on for me but are made up for by some of their catchy and faster ones like “Die My Darling” with its live worthy chorus and the fairly heavy “Forgive & Forget”. The album runs a bit long and I would have been just fine with about 3 songs less (less filler more killer!).
All in all, “In The Black” is by far the best KITTIE album released and a pretty solid album on its own. The band is only getting better with age and time and despite some flaws on this album, it’s an impressive leap forward for the band. Some might still despise KITTIE for their Nu Metal roots, but I found this album to be damn enjoyable.
Songs to check out: “Die My Darling”, “My Plague”, “Ready Aim Riot”.
(Online November 5, 2009)