"Kittie formed in 1999, and their debut, "Spit," met with overall positive acclaim. But by six years later, the Canadian all-female alt-metal quartet had gone through a great deal of problems. In 2005, when they parted ways with longtime label Artemis Records, and lost two of their band members (Jennifer Arroyo and Lisa Marx), many skeptics thought the end of Kittie was near. But the Lander sisters (Morgan and Mercedes - the two founders of the group) choose to think of it a different way - a new beginning. In 2006, Kittie emerged from the ashes with a new bassist (Trish Doan), a new lead guitarist (Tara Mcleod), new record label (their own label, X of Infamy Records), a new album (this year's very aptly titled "Funeral For Yesterday"), and, more-or-less, a new sound, too!
"Funeral For Yesterday" is doubtlessly Kittie's most mature, melodic, accessible, realized, confident-sounding, well-written, and polished release to date. "FFY" is living proof that Kittie's sound has changed dramatically since the days of "Spit." The new album boasts a crisp, clear, almost squeaky-clean production job, and a wealth of memorable songs, infectious hooks, and clean singing from Morgan. Morgan explores her singing voice so much that her growls and screams have been put on the back burner, and are only occasionally brought out to offset the melodic vocals. In fact, we don't even get a single growl until track four, "Slow Motion," and track seven, "Sweet Destruction," is an ultra melodic interlude track that even finds Morgan crooning things like "Life is good." As other reviewers have already pointed out, "Funeral" is slightly hindered because Morgan can sometimes come dangerously close to sounding like an Amy Lee (of Evanescence) clone, but those moments are few and far between.
And despite all of the melodic touches, these fourteen songs pack enough muscular, meaty rhythms, crunching, often thrashy riffs, propulsive leads, and even occasional blazing solos to make the album typically quite heavy. The final sound is very dynamic, diverse, well-balanced, and well-textured. "The Change" is remarkably heavy and hard-hitting, and "Last Goodbye" and "Witch Hunt" (the heaviest songs of the bunch) are also quite brutal. Elsewhere, tracks like the title track, "Breathe," and "Slow Motion" are bolstered by strong, crunchy guitars and humming bass lines, and "Never Again" and "This Too Shall Pass" evoke industrial metal - their churning riffs, and repetitive, lumbering rhythms wouldn't sound completely mismatched if they came off of a Prong or Ministry record. Also of note are the third track, "Everything That Could Have Been," which is highlighted by excellent singing and almost doomy riffs; the kind of spacey chorus and ripping, wailing solo of "Flower of Flesh and Blood"; and the hooky, galloping rhythm that bolsters "Around Your Heart."
Kittie remain an acquired taste for some listeners, and "Funeral For Yesterday" won't change your mind if you're not already a fan, but no matter what your opinion of them is, one should at least give them props for overcoming such adversity to release their best album to date. To conclude, "FFY" is a very satisfying, eminently memorable, and extremely solid album that gets better with repeat listens, and it is sure to become a favorite among fans and critics alike. Nicely done, girls."
Kittie at their peak
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 03/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kittie's albums have been up and down for me since I was introduced to them with "Spit". To say that I wasn't thrilled with their last album "Until the End" is saying it lightly, but thankfully, "Funeral For Yesterday" finds the metal band led by sisters Morgan and Mercedes Lander at their musical peak. Technically speaking, for having a revolving door of guitarists and bassists, Kittie sounds better here than they ever have before on any of their previous studio albums. The guitar work is wonderful, and this can be found on the title track, "Everything That Could Have Been", "Witch Hunt", and the excellent closing track "The Change". If there's any downside to "Funeral For Yesterday", it's similar to what was pointed out by a previous reviewer. Vocalist Morgan Lander seems to want to resemble Amy Lee more than herself at various points throughout this disc. Now this doesn't happen often, but it's noticable enough to catch. That aside, this is still Kittie at their technical peak, and "Funeral For Yesterday" only further goes to show that Kittie has always had the talent to rise above the nu-metal pack that they were associated with when they first burst upon the scene, and the fact that they survived that era is only further proof."
A change of pace, and their best record yet
leachim | 11/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a thing for female lead singers in heavy metal bands. But even better than that is a heavy metal band where all the members are female. The only two all-girl bands I know of that can really be called heavy metal are Drain STH and Kittie. (I know there was the band Vixen back in the 80s, but they don't really count.) Drain STH broke up, so now all we have is Kittie.
I was never a big Kittie fan up until recently. I bought their first album, "Spit", years ago on a whim because it was an all-girl band, they looked sort of goth, and I heard they were all still in high school when it was released. And I got pretty much what I expected: A decent, but unremarkable, little rock album by a young band with some good songs and a few crappy ones. Nothing special, but interesting enough that I made a mental note to keep track of them in the future. Fast forward to late 2005, when I was downloading every album in sight with Limewire and my shiny new cable internet connection. I looked up Kittie, found out they had two more albums, and downloaded them in like a day. But to my horror, upon listening to a random song, I found out that the lead singer had adopted a screechy death metal growl instead of using her normal singing voice. So I tucked the songs away and forgot about them.
About a year ago, I listened to Kittie's album "Until the End", expecting it to suck, and was stunned to discover just the opposite. True, the lead singer used her death metal growl on half the songs, but she had improved her delivery so it wasn't so grating. What knocked me over was just how heavy and unrelenting they had become. Their debut album looked anemic in comparison. I went right out and bought both "Oracle" and "Until the End." My only complaint is that some of the songs tend to sound the same, and the lead singer has an absolutely beautiful voice that she doesn't use enough.
Up until their new album, that is. "Funeral For Yesterday" is a bit of a departure from the trend of their last two CDs, but it's undoubtedly the best album they've made. There is much more variety in the music due to added guitar work and scaling back the chugging heaviness of "Until the End." And best of all, she sings clearly on almost every track. They've picked up the tempo, improved the content of their lyrics, and even added some guitar solos. All in all, they have answered my few criticisms and made an altogether brilliant album.
1. "Funeral For Yesterday" is a solid opener and good example of what the album, as a whole, sounds like. Not quite as heavy as previous releases, but faster and with better guitar work. The title is also the concept for the entire album, burying the past and getting on with the future.
2. "Breathe" is another fast-paced song with some disturbing lyrics. "Breathe / Just for one more day / And you'll come back to me." I'm not exactly sure what the song means, but this is only one example of how Kittie's lyrics have improved.
3. "Everything That Could Have Been" is my favorite song on the album. About a failed relationship, the lyrics speak to anyone who's suffered a bad break-up. (I never have, but I can still sympathize.) She repeats the chorus too many times at the end, but that's okay.
4. "Slow Motion" is another somewhat creepy song about death and loss, and the first appearance of her death metal growl about halfway through. Also has a wicked guitar solo.
5. "Will to Live" has some more good guitar work and some great lyrics. Has a great chorus, "This car crash / Moves in slow motion / I can't help but stare."
6. "Never Again" is a completely awesome song, the heaviest so far, and the first where the death metal growl takes the front. "You'll beg for mercy!" is my favorite line.
7. "Sweet Destruction" is a much slower, gentler track, well positioned right in the middle of the album. I think this is completely unlike anything they've done before.
8. "Summer Dies" is another of my favorites, using the passage of seasons as a metaphor for recovering from a bad time in your life. "Winter's warning comes / Another summer dies / But she'll be back again / To save me from this endless night."
9. "Flower of Flesh and Blood" is another heavy song with a disturbing title and a great guitar solo. Another one where the lyrics are kind of unclear about the meaning, but the lines "I'll tear the petals off of you" and "My love lies motionless" kind of creep me out.
10. "Around Your Heart" is another solid rocker continuing the album's theme of love lost, but is otherwise unremarkable.
11. "This Too Shall Pass" is one of the heaviest songs on the album, again dealing with recovering from a bad relationship. I love it when she screams "This too shall pass!" and "I take them all back!" at the end.
12. "Last Goodbye" has the most awesome chorus on the album: "This is the end of Eden / This is my last goodbye / I've laid to rest the demons / Still, I'd love to watch you die."
13. "Witch Hunt" has a slightly different sound and an awkward chorus. The only song on the album that really doesn't work for me, but it does have a cool line, "One torch to light the way there / One torch to burn it down."
14. "The Change" is a cool finale for a great CD. With a groovy rhythm and another great chorus: "Out of the flames / We'll rise again / Dying is not the end." The whole album kind of deals with betrayal and bad relationships, and this song comes to a conclusion about the whole process.
All in all, it's an excellent album, mixing in bits and pieces of goth rock, nu metal, and alternative. Improved musicianship and a better balance between screaming and singing. I've seen Kittie live in concert twice since the album came out, and they are awesome live. Hopefully the success of this album motivates them to up the bar even more next time."
A great comeback
Alexia | Houston, TX | 02/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A great comeback for Kittie. I love all the music and lyrics on this new album."