Review: Kittie

(Artemis Records)

Kittie went for “more brutal” on this release, and that’s an understatement!  Kittie went damn near death metal–as close as Morgan Landers’ pissed off, throaty bark could take them.  Often, this is done by doubling by her alter ego, which is the sassy smooth howl and moan.  Surprisingly, it’s the bark and spit, rip it from my gut style of singer she embraces.  But it works against the decidedly heavier atmosphere “Oracle” attains.  There is very little in the way of “cute hooks.”  More like crunch and crush riffage ranging from the sludgy pummel with stamping drums to soaring guitars with floating lyrics (which usually crash down into that beautifully/ugly growly voice).  It’s a razor sharp dynamic with little middle ground, either floating and trying to caress, or stampeding and trying to crush.  A fun romp of Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” (which the band had included in their Ozzfest sets before this album) makes a good mid-album diversion.  Again, the split vocal personality is showcased even in the intro, with the first few “Run run runs” done sweet and pretty and the last coming out with the brutal throat scream.  The album on a whole stumbles occasionally, failing to achieve its aimed-for intensity from song to song, often finding a repeating rut of sound/approach.  Songs like “Safe” and “Pink Lemonade” that plod along, probably mean a lot to the band, but spare the listener and please rock.  The girls should be commended for the direction they are heading as compared to their previous release.  With the all-girl metal gimmick, they could cash in with some pretty songs even as hard as, ooooh, say Godsmack.  Heh.  On a musical scale, Kittie beat the shit out of a lot of nu-metal, but won’t sell nearly as many albums.  And that’s not important to Kittie–what seems important is creating some heavy ass music.  Thick on the scream, heavy on the riff and laced with the dreamy girl vocals, “Oracle” proclaims a very loud Kittie.