Kittie - Fire album

Kittie – Fire (Album Review)

Kittie 2024 band

Historically Heavy Metal has always been sort of the boy’s club. Granted there have been ladies who certainly left their mark on the genre during the early years, in the world of more extreme forms of Metal (Death Metal, Black Metal, etc.), it had always seemed as if men were the dominant force. Then, in the late ‘90s an all-female band named Kittie came out of Canada with their eyes on storming the gate. Doing just that, these young ladies emerged as stand outs with an aggression which rivaled any Alternative Metal act out at the time. Striking a mass of interest with their 1999 debut album Spit, Kittie continued to grow as the new millennium unfolded. Expanding upon their sound into even more extreme stylings – experimenting with darker, heavier tones – from 2001’s Oracle into 2011’s I’ve Failed You the band sustained a voracity that was second to none.

Over a decade of blazing their own trail, by 2017, Kittie were on an indefinite hiatus. Rather unfortunate, it is not without reason; because the amount of energy they had put into writing and recording, plus spending time touring so vigorously, had to be wearing. Matching this with the untimely death of their friend/long-time Bassist Trish Doan in early 2017, founding Vocalist/Guitarist Morgan Lander and Drummer Mercedes Lander were both emotionally, as well as physically exhausted.

Moving on from Kittie, the time after was not completely absent of creativity; with Mercedes Lander working in a new band called White Swan, while Morgan Lander curated the must-listen-to Witch Finger Horror Podcast. Seeming as if it would be an absolute long shot to ever see Kittie reunite, out of nowhere in 2022 rumbles surrounded their return. Building curiosity, by September of that year Kittie were on stage for the first time in five long years, and shortly after that, had themselves a new record deal with Sumerian Records. Renewed, leading the band are Morgan and Mercedes along with long-tenure Guitarist Tara McLeod, and returning alumni Bassist Ivy Vujic.

With these pieces in place, the next big question was – when would new music arrive? Well, the first taste of this came in the spring of 2023 with the live introduction of a song called “Vultures.” From here began a snowball effect with the announcement that Kittie would indeed be recording a new album. This was followed by the debut of their first officially released new song in thirteen years, “Eyes Wide Open,” immediately grabbing a swarm of attention. Doing so because absence makes the heart grow fonder, it could also be just that Kittie is legitimately making some killer new music. A balanced mix of both, in truth, the curiosity aspect would eventually wear off if the material was not there, but judging by the small samples they offered, it clearly was. That is why you could argue that the anticipation surrounding Kitte’s new album, Fire, is among the highest for any Metal release in 2024.

Set to arrive on June 21st, Fire comes with ten new songs (including “Vultures” and “Eyes Wide Open”) that live up to the record’s title. What this means is that the band’s first studio album since 2011’s I’ve Failed You is potent, honed-in, and passionately performed. Masterfully produced by Nick Raskulinecz (who has worked with everyone from Stone Sour to Skid Row), the approach on Fire feels like a breath of fresh air during times where Alternative Metal seems rather stale. A statement that may not be popular, in the last decade it feels like many bands who fall under the modern Metal umbrella have followed a similar formula; one where excessive aggression supersedes everything else.

Now, this is not to say Fire is lacking aggression, because it certainly has tons of it, but it is saying the album has a very distinctive tone where such emotions are palpable, yet not entirely chaotic. Factors that could be a result of the band’s maturity as songwriters, their keen sense of melody and atmosphere, or simply just because of their integrity to not follow current trends… let us just say it is probably all of the above. What you have with Fire is a foundation of interesting guitar riffs, song structures that do not overwhelm you just for the sake of doing so, and a mix of harsh and clean vocals that get the balance right.

Dark and alluring, the band recapture the magic of their unique blend of styles that unify Alternative Rock with Thrash, Gothic and Death Metal. A sound that is exemplified in a delightful manner throughout Fire, some big standouts include “Falter,” the very retro Kittie leaning “We Are Shadows,” the blistering “Eyes Wide Open,” and magically macabre sound of the title-track. Beyond these, the remainder of the record is thick with grooves, melodies, and everything Kittie was known for in their younger years.

Overall, it seems only just that Kittie is fully active once again. After all, there has been a revolution in the Heavy Metal world over the last decade where we are seeing a much more balanced landscape of women in extreme forms of the genre than ever before.  Something you can link directly to Kittie, they really were one of the first to popularize the forward form of thinking some twenty-five years ago, and Fire reclaims them their rightful crown! That is why Cryptic Rock applaud their efforts, giving this comeback album 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Kittie Fire artwork
Kittie – Fire / Sumerian Records (2024)

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