A very Metallica-styled instrumental intro by way of ‘Kingdom Come’ is Kittie’s way of introducing us to their latest and arguably best album In The Black. One of the rare all-female progressive metal bands, the Canadian quartet continue to hold their place in the canon with pride and skill. Infamous for their continuously shuffling lineup, the band lost yet another member when bassist Trish Doan quit in 2008 after being diagnosed with anorexia, but in this case the replacement has done them some good. The arrival of newcomer Ivy Vujic heralds a marked improvement in the quality of the musicianship, making In The Black a significant step forward from 2007’s Funeral For Yesterday.
Morgan Lander’s intense vocals switch between smooth and soulful on ‘Sorrow I Know’ to a familiarly rough metal growl on ‘Falling Down’, and she holds the charisma required to pull off either style when it suits her, often hitting the perfect balance between the two. Mercedes Lander on drums is outstanding with double kickdrum ripping through the songs, and her grooves are well supported by Vujic who makes her presence known. However, it’s Tara McLeod’s guitar riffs and solos that dominate this album with an intensity and technique that breaks the mould. In The Black is not an album to suit all tastes but it’s enough to make lovers of the genre sit up and take note.