Review: Kittie – ‘Fire’

“We really got Kittie’s comeback before GTA6.” – @bonkerzcodm4802 YouTube

@bonkerzcodm4802 for the win. You get the picture though, yeah? The return of Canadian metal outfit Kittie has been a long time coming. Almost 13 years have passed since the Canucks last studio album – 2011’s ‘I’ve Failed You’ – and not many people would have had Kittie down on their 2024 bingo card as not only returning to action but producing an astonishing album upon said return to action.

The band’s beating heart is still the Lander sisters, lead vocalist/guitarist Morgan, and drummer Mercedes. And Morgan Lander sounds better than ever.

It is an immense display of harsh, screamo vocals and powerful, ultra-clean, melodic vocals. The album opener, ‘Fire’ (and the entire album, for that matter), eschews the nu-metal tropes that first brought Kittie to attention decades ago, instead, the band expands on the groove metal/black metal path that they toyed with before going on hiatus – with closing track ‘Eyes Wide Open’ a stunning example of the band marrying both genres perfectly.

The thick bass rumble from Ivy Vujic on the title track provides the foundations for the others to build upon. Her contribution is immeasurable (as it is on numerous occasions throughout the album, with ‘Vultures’ being another memorable moment). But it’s the hair-raising vocals from Morgan Lander that take first prize. Creepy, schizophrenic, and spine-tingling, when she sings “I am fire you’ll regret”, the listener knows that Lander is not fucking around. If further proof of this is needed then the title track is followed up by the notice of intent that is ‘I Still Wear This Crown’; with Lander proclaiming “I.STILL.WEAR.THIS.CROWN.” – all CAPS intentionally. Jeez, the groove is immense and the guitar work from Morgan and Tara McLeod leaves one picturing that GIF of Leonardo DiCaprio biting his hand in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’.

‘Fire’ is a fantastic blend of contrasts; with the huge, melodic clean vocals melding seamlessly with the black metal screams – ‘Falter’ is a stellar example of how Lander is capable of going from one extreme to the other with her lighter-than-light clean vocals slotting in seamlessly with her demonic screams. It all plays out with thick, beastly grooves running in the background. ‘We Are The Shadows’ is another moment where the melodic vocals from Lander soar, and the vocal hooks are massive and linger on for days afterward. ‘Are You Entertained’ is one of the slower-paced tracks of the 10 to be found within ‘Fire’ and it has a slow-burning, brooding feel to it, with epic, cinematic qualities peppered throughout. Grungey in places, commercial in others, all with a sinister threat running through it.

Refreshingly free of the kind of nostalgia that anyone might have expected from a band whose debut album (‘Spit’) turns 25 this August, ‘Fire’ is the triumphant sound of a band back from the brink, sounding as relevant as ever, and who saw that coming?

‘Fire’ is available now via Sumerian Records, purchase HERE

Review – Dave

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Fire Photo Credit: Jim Louvau

 

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