By Carl Begai
Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light is arguably one of the strongest works in Woods Of Ypres frontman / founder David Gold’s catalogue of music. It’s certainly his most accessible album. Sadly, it also marks David’s final journey.
Killed in a car accident mere months before the official release, David never had the opportunity to enjoy the praise or consider the criticism of what is the most adventurous album of his career. And despite the accolades heaped to the sky, the simple truth is that not all diehard Woods Of Ypres fans will like it. Grey Skies & Electric Light is loaded with the doom and gloom they’ve come to expect, but the way it’s presented is much different from the revered Woods 3 and 4 records. David’s clean voice dominates the new production over his death metal growls, the song arrangements don’t have the crushing density of its predecessors, and it’s loaded with brazen hooks big and small. Not what some expect of the blackened doom underground cornerstone of the genre. Current reactions indicate, however, that the majority of followers consider Woods 5 to be a masterpiece, and not merely as a show of respect for the fallen.
In an effort to showcase the new music, I spoke with Kittie vocalist / guitarist Morgan Lander, producer Siegfried Meier, and Woods Of Ypres guitarist Joel Violette, all of whom accompanied and worked with David during various stages of Grey Skies & Electric Light’s creation. Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
Kittie threw down the gauntlet in 2007 with Funeral For Yesterday, an album that earned them a truckload of credibility amongst the metal masses for nailing the coffin shut on the alterna-nu-metalcore sound that yanked the spotlight in their direction in the late ‘90s. The highly anticipated 2009 follow-up, In The Black, cemented Kittie’s place at the table occupied by old school metal purists and a younger generation with its collective head in the right place. No surprise, then, that I’ve Failed You stomps even deeper into the realms of metal, crushing any lingering thoughts of the foursome as nothing more than an all-female novelty act. The level of musicianship and song dynamics on the album, on the other hand, is a bloody revelation.
Not that Kittie didn’t have the chops before, but if “maturity” is a dirty word the ladies have been mud-bathing for the last year and come out all guns blazing. Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
Once upon a time, Kittie irritated the hell out of me.
It didn’t matter that I was a huge believer in and supporter of Canadian metal and assorted aggressive offshoots; the hype that surrounded their 1999 debut album Spit rubbed me the wrong way. It blew my mind that a band featuring a singer with zero vocal control was able to sell a song like ‘Brackish’, Kittie’s teen angst calling card featuring one of the most annoyingly memorable choruses known to man, woman and pub crawling beast. Any attention I paid to the band after that record was out of masochistic curiosity, and fleeting at best.
Fast forward to 2007 and a four song EP entitled Never Again dumped in my lap by management via BW&BK HQ. I couldn’t believe my ears even after repeated listens, and I was left wondering what the four women masquerading as Kittie had done with the Lander sisters. They were, after all, the creative core of the band and had proven limited in that capacity as far as I was concerned. This new material, this was music. Hell, it was fucking metal.
And singer Morgan? She’d picked up control, shred-ability, and a Flying V along the way.
Calls were made, emails were sent, and I learned that Kittie was a family affair, with Morgan (vocals/guitars) and Mercedes’ (drums) parents taking care of most of the band’s legal and promotional affairs. The interview with the sisters that followed, for the Funeral For Yesterday album, proved to me that the ladies could stand on their own feet rather than needing to rely on mommy and daddy. They were also real musicians with a clear view of where they came from and a vision of where they wanted to take their music. They turned me into a Kittie fanboy. Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
It was only a matter of time until Kittie got their ducks in a row and began tearing the heads off ‘em one by one.
The band’s new outing, In The Black, is a metal album. Raw and uncomplicated, eerily reminiscent of Carcass (listen through a few times and the similarities are a shot in the arm), it’s the last thing anyone expected from a band considered nothing more than teenage nu-metal aggression junkies when they made their debut 10 years ago. To their credit, sisters Morgan (vocals, guitars) and Mercedes Lander (drums) have yanked Kittie a little further out of that hole with every new album, finally getting away from their early one-dimensional sound entirely in 2007 on Funeral For Yesterday. Fans may argue the point, some certainly favour the band’s old sound over the new, but the haters will be forced to concede that In The Black has a solid steel backbone and gives Kittie a truckload of credibility on today’s metal scene.
“This is the album we always wanted to make,” states Mercedes. “With the last record, I think the songs were there but the production wasn’t. It was pretty fucking bad production. Every album we’ve done we’ve used analog tape, but it wasn’t the analog that was the problem on Funeral For Yesterday; it was the way we recorded it. We didn’t have a lot of say in it and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. This new album, we did it blind with nobody sticking their fingers in it. We did it by ourselves.”