Heavy metal may morph, contort, and willfully insert itself into every genre that uses amplification, but it always remains true to its fetish for maximum decibels. For the most part, Ontario-based metal outfit Kittie's fifth offering feels a lot like their first four. The band's tried-and-true formula of Metallica-sized riffing, death metal wailing, and choruses that sound like Heart's Nancy Wilson fronting Norwegian greasepaint rockers Dimmu Borgir, has proven to be more than effective, earning the continuously ferocious, all-female quartet a loyal following both at home and overseas. In the Black should do little to dilute that success, as it plays to the band's strengths while pushing the envelope just enough to cry progress. 2007's Funeral for Yesterday showed the group at their most commercial, cranking out hard-hitting slabs of Godsmack-style, midtempo brooders with hooks a plenty, whereas In the Black takes more chances, carving serpentine melodies through mountains of double-kick percussion and fat, dual-guitar/bass leads. Guttural, death metal vocals are the great equalizer in metal music, and Morgan Lander can shriek with the best of them (which she does throughout most of the record). Her clean vocals are more confident this time around, and when given a decent melodic cue (which are unfortunately few and far between), she could stop a freight train (or at least divert it into a mountain pass). In the Black may break little ground for the group, but it certainly fortifies what they've been standing on for the last decade.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger