Review Summary: average band, great singer
To be honest, I can only approach this review by listening to the album for what it is. It's the first Kittie album I owned (the only other I have is Spit
which I actually prefer) and I bought it on the strength of the single, also named Funeral For Yesterday
. With that in mind I can't really delve much into their works prior to this one so I can only judge it based on what it sounds like, other than knowing that the general consensus with critics is that it's a more melodic effort than the last two albums.
The aformentioned single and title track is also the opener, and it's a very good one. The vocals are melodic, impassioned and maybe even beautiful, the little guitar motif that begins the song and pops up now and then amidst the powerchords provides a simple yet strong hook and it's well paced and structured. Even the key change at the end proves effective rather than cheesy.
The melodic theme continues for numerous tracks and thankfully they're reasonably varied to begin with. Breathe
is faster and more sinister in tone. Although the verse and chorus melodies are very similar, the layering of vocals sufficiently raises the chorus part, and the slower, hazy and heavily flanged part is a welcome shift in pace before the exciteable drums race back in. Everything That Could Have Been
is perhaps the slowest, softest and most emotive song on the album, discounting the interlude, and whilst the guitars are still big and distorted and the song boasts a great pseudo guitar solo, Morgan's voice takes centre stage and delivers beautifully, although by the end, the chorus part starts to get repetitive.
brings back the aggression, and whilst featuring the album's first and probably most effective instance of Morgan's scream vocals, is still heavily rooted in melody, and it's easily one of the strongest tracks on the album, with a particularly strong chorus, plenty of guitar hooks and a superb solo which is segued back into the chorus right before it can descend into wankery.
Will To Live
is next, and the album's weaknesses start to unfold. It's an emotive and powerful track, but feels like a slightly more upbeat version of Everything That Could Have Been
. That said, it's a good song, particularly thanks to Morgan's vocal performance, becoming more elaborate and desperate as the song nears its end. Never Again
is the first big departure from this emphasis on melody and it's not a particularly welcome one. It rocks hard enough, but with a somewhat drab chorus and repetitive and not particularly interesting main guitar riff, it doesn't live up to what precedes it.
Before the scream verse/clean chorus formula of that song pretty much begins to take over the latter part of the album, it presents us with one more piece of melodic beauty, in the form of the stunning [i]Sweet Destruction (Interlude)[i]. The distortion is toned down a little and Morgan's impossibly beautiful vocal performance takes full control of the song, backed up by some lovely choral parts. A brief but definite highlight, perhaps even my personal favourite. Summer Dies
is in similar territory to the first five tracks, with more strong melodic work and a pretty decent and unfussy guitar solo. Flower Of Flesh And Blood
uses the same formula as Never Again
but is defintiely a stronger take on it on all counts and it certainly doesn't outstay its welcome (strangely, it's actually shorter than the interlude track).
Around Your Heart
is next, remeniscent of a slightly more upbeat version of Will To Live
, which sounded like... well you get the picture, and the vocal melodies aren't particularly varied. To its credit though, the harmonised guitar intro makes a strong statement and Morgan's vocal performance makes the track more than worthwhile, whilst the key change a la the title track again lifts the song well. This Too Shall Pass
is more scream verse/clean chorus metal material, with suitably/somewhat predictably devilish verse riffing with lots of tritones. The chorus is actually fantastic, so too is the outro and it's a shame it's bolted onto fairly uninteresting verse parts. This could have been amazing.
Nothing changes with Last Goodbye
, and these scream verses feel far too interchangeable and repetitive whilst the chorus here isn't as strong as on the previous track, though the riffs are decent enough and though it doesn't change much start to finish, it doesn't stick around quite long enough for my finger to wander towards the skip button. Witch Hunt
is more of the same, albeit with some great guitar work between verses and on the chorus. It's not an overtly long album but by now more than ever, songs are beginning to blur into one another and it certainly feels long. At least things are shaken up a bit with the finale, The Change
, with the actually quite memorably riffing supporting more great singing from Morgan, and used more sparingly as on this track, the screaming is much more effective for it, and the reverberant outro solo (if you can call it a solo) is something unexpected and ends the album on a relatively high note.
Kittie aren't a band reknowned for being groundbreaking, innovative or for some, even particularly good. For someone like me who's partial to the odd bit of metal here and there as opposed to living and dying by it, this album's consistency in its heavy sound is a bit of a downfall, and the tracks just aren't varied enough to keep the heaviness going without it starting to drag by the time the second half is underway. That said, there are some great tracks in here, and whilst in such a playlist they sound at times strikingly similar, most of them stand up on their own merits and a few, notably Funeral For Yesterday
, Slow Motion
and Sweet Destruction (Interlude)
are actually very good indeed. Kittie weren't the best band in 2007 by a long way, and they're definitely not the best band now either, but if nothing else, this album shows they had the ability to write some damn good songs and that a great lead vocalist can lift some otherwise rather average material out of the ordinary. Morgan is the one who gives the band their identity on this album, beyond just being a female singer in a very male oriented area of music. Without her consistently strong vocal performances, I'd be hard pushed to give it more than a 2.