Spit, by Kittie
Suggested by John Ingham
A while back, I mentioned that my wife mocked my musical tastes. I said that my heavy rock and metal roots saw most of my favourite songs sung by men. Men with beards, eyeliner, chest hair, and / or spiral perms.
In order to compensate for a wild overabundance of testosterone, people started suggesting rock and metal with a female influence, from singers to a full female lineup. Spit, by the all-female metal group Kittie, are such a suggestion.
For those who don’t know, Female Metal Groups are like Male Metal Groups, but with fewer pockets.
Lord knows I’m not a Dogg Person. Am I a Cat Person?
Spit is Kittie’s debut album, written and recorded when the band were in their mid to late teens. This manifests itself in a number of ways, but most noticeably in the rawness of their sound. It’s a mishmash of styles and genres, heavily influenced by nu metal such as Korn, and grunge kings Nirvana. Unfortunately, this youthfulness becomes juvenile in some of the track titles, such as Spit, Suck, Choke, and Get Off (You Can Eat A Dick). Nothing wrong with ‘em, but they ain’t cultured.
The guitars are thrashy with a heavily distorted and compressed effect layered on, which gives the songs withing a murky, somewhat doomladen feel. When the guitars chug, they grate at your brain. When the guitars twang, they pull taut the cheese-wire. This means a lot of the technical prowess is masked by a Cobainesque fugue that does no favours. Thankfully, there’s a balanced mix of synchronous styles across the songs, which means there’s a light touch in places too, allowing for a more nuanced sound (for a certain definition of the word ‘nuanced’, of course… this is still heavy stuff).
Vocally, lead singer Morgan Lander offers a surprisingly layered performance, cycling through childish wonder to screaming rap diatribe through every peak and trough in between. Once again, her youth is both a blessing and a curse, as sometimes she’s accomplished and experienced but at others she’s every bit the nervous seventeen-year-old. The first track, the titular Spit, introduces us to her Death Growl, which irritated the living piss out of me, but happily it instantaneously morphs into a nu metal screaming burbling screech. It’s like Bjork has eaten Tori Amos; Jonathan Davis would be proud.
Songs of particular note include Immortal, an instrumental that rounds out the piece and conjures up snippets of slow and melodic Metallica tunes, and my personal highlight Brackish, which brings some particularly funky drumming to the table while being the strongest vocal performance on the album.
While they bring a strong debut that showcases a range of talents, I think that Kittie are hampered by a slight lack of confidence and a touch youthful inexperience. Of course, Spit is now twenty years old, and the first of six albums… while I give this offering 6/10, I can only guess how high these cats will jump with their later work.