Kittie

Until the End

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Anyone who's spent time on the hypnotizing bore that is Canada's highway 401 knows that the only antidote to waking up in a Tim Horton's parking lot is a stack of blisteringly loud records. Kittie, the London, Ontario, heavy metal sisterhood have turned up the amps to 11 and delivered their heaviest batch of songs to date with the road-ready Until the End. Steve Thompson's (Korn, Anthrax) bottom-heavy production and the addition of second guitarist Lisa Marx have had a profound effect on the band's overall sound, resulting in an aural experience that goes straight to the gut. The brutal opener, "Look So Pretty," features singer Morgan Lander doing terrifying things with her throat -- it's somewhere between an emaciated alley cat fighting off the neighborhood skunk and the squelch on a walkie-talkie. "Career Suicide" finds the group in a more melodic mood, balancing the snarling verses with a clean chorus vocal, though this balance works best on the brooding title cut. While siblings Morgan and Mercedes Lander's songwriting has improved since 2001's Oracle, there's still an air of mediocrity to later tracks like "Loveless" and "Burning Bridges" that shows an adherence to formulaic modern metal clich├ęs, and a lack of confidence on some of the vocal takes that makes some of the songs sound like demos. Until the End isn't a big step forward for Kittie, but it's a step nonetheless, and if they can find a way to more creatively disperse their newfound power they'll be unstoppable.

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