It's called "Career Suicide," and in merely four mind-altering minutes, it mauls every pre-conceived notion we might have about heavy metal. Sure, vocals purge the proceedings like a possessed demon fighting for control, the bottom-end swaggers with a thick groove and bludgeoning blasts, and guitars rally around the musical inferno like stinging lacerations. But what sets "Career Suicide" apart, are the melodies that lace the litany of sound and fury. For Kittie, it's that melody that makes Until The End the culmination of years of blood, sweat and fear, the crowning achievement of a career that has seen sales of nearly one million records - Their debut Spit has been certified Gold in America, selling an additional 100,000 copies overseas, while follow-up Oracle approaches the same plateau, making the London, Ontario-based quartet one of the preeminent forces on the modern metal scene. Their successes not withstanding, Kittie aren't about to rest on their well-deserved laurels.
"This album really defines who we are now, and where we always should have been," says frontwoman Morgan Lander of their third release for Artemis Records. "For me, this really does feel like the first album of the brand new Kittie - As much as the first two albums count, they really don't for me. This is a completely different band, and we're in a completely different place musically. We wouldn't be where we are if those albums didn't happen, but this a new beginning for us...It's all new again."
It's been years since the release of Oracle in November 2001, and a lot has happened to, and around Kittie. And it all left its mark on Until The End. While the band is the brainchild of sisters Morgan and Mercedes Lander, bassist Jennifer Arroyo has solidified her place in the band, while newcomer Lisa Marx, formerly of Seattle's To See You Broken, has officially joined the band as a second guitarist. "I believe that everything happens for a reason, and if we had some of the members that were originally in the band, at this time, we wouldn't have been able to make Until The End," says Morgan. "We had to go through all those emotional ups and downs in order to create music that totally reflects how we feel now. We've all become better players and, individually, we're all different pieces of the puzzle that makes Kittie - You have to have some changes in order to learn and grow…"
Seriously, if we hadn't gone through the member changes, our albums would all sound like Spit," adds Mercedes, the quartet's drummer. "We didn't want that, but you're not going to grow if other people don't want to grow, that's the bottom line."
Kittie have toured with Slipknot, co-headlined the Ozzfest sidestage with Soulfly, shared the stage with Pantera on one of the band's final tours, and have given the world of heavy metal a blinding kick of female fury - They are unrelenting, unleashing a sonic slam of sludge, grudge, doom-laden metal, and molten melodies, a blitzkrieg that they've captured on disc with their latest canon, assaulting the airwaves with deafening precision, and leaving no room for confusion - Kittie are stronger than ever, building on their musical pedigree, and challenging their artistic evolution.
Take lead single "Into The Darkness," a track that kicks off with Lander singing lead in a sweet clean and neat demeanor, her demented growls providing backing depth of head-spinning, haunting proportions. "Single-wise, that was the most difficult song I've ever written, lyrically and vocally," the frontwoman attests, her sister adding, "It's because of the key change - I thought we needed a key change in there, and she wasn't sure she was going to be able to sing that high. We were just experimenting, but after recording it, it turned out a lot better than we thought it would - There are always surprises like that when you record."
"I worked on that song for a few days, and it was definitely a challenge to sing, but I think it made the finished product even better," agrees Morgan. "It definitely turned out a lot better than we expected - It was a bit of departure for us, but it's still everything we're about...By no means are we softening up, the rest of the album proves that!"
Until The End kicks off in a pulverizing fashion with "Looks So Pretty," an ironic opening track that fits the women of Kittie all too well. "It's a pretty serious song!" laughs Morgan. "That was one of the songs that we played on our last American tour before recording the album, as well as in Mexico, and it was nice to have a few songs to take out on the road and see how they develop in front of a live audience. It's a great song to kick off the album and open the show, it really gets people going."
Similarly heady material bubbles to the forefront on "(Pussy) Sugar," despite the light-hearted nature of the song's title. "It's a song about seeing someone you care about go through a dark, unfortunate time, and standing back and seeing that there's absolutely nothing you can do - It's actually a depressing song, but the name '(Pussy) Sugar' made it sound cooler," says Morgan, Mercedes adding: "We actually came up with that name on tour, in November 2003, while we were eating at a Waffle House - We were just thinking of stupid names and funny stuff, because that's what we do, and someone yelled, 'Pussy Sugar!' Morgan was like, 'That's it, new song number one is going to be called 'Pussy Sugar!'"
"I'm sure there are going to be some people that still feel the same about us as they did when we were 15, and they're going to think that the song is about sex, but the title really has nothing to do with the content of the song," Morgan continues. "We always try and have a good time, and we don't necessarily take ourselves all that seriously - If you don't have a sense of humor, or cant see the sense of humor in that, then you just need to go to hell!"
Sense of humor aside, there's little else on Until The End that's fit for laughter, as the album is brimming with subject matter that addresses not only the band's place in music, but the industry politics they've experienced since the release of their debut in '99. If you think there's a thread biding the abrasiveness of "Loveless," "Red Flag" and "Burning Bridges," you're not far from the band's headspace.
"A lot of the material was directed toward the unknown," says the singer. "For a while there, we kind of felt that we were at the end of our rope, and we really had no idea what was going to be happening with us. Even the album artwork reflects that feeling of being suffocated and held down. We went through a lot of that, and a lot of it is reflected in the mood of the music and my lyrics. There's a lot of crazy stuff that we've been through, and it's all in there. In a way, I think it's been a blessing and a curse - We all plan to make a career out of this, so sometimes it's good to get all that crazy stuff out of the way early in your career. You never know, this album could be 'the one,' and ten years down the road, no one is going to care what happened in the first couple of years. We still have so many more aspirations and expectations for the next few years and the next few albums, and that energy is good…"
"That's the most exciting part," Mercedes agrees, "because I feel like I'm 15 again." "Internally, it all feels good in the band again," concludes Morgan. "The chemistry is great, the music is great, and it's all fresh and new again."