When the thought of nü-metal enters my brain, it follows a pretty classic path. My memories jump to the classics: Limp Bizkit‘s “Break Stuff”, Korn‘s “Freak On A Leash”, Linkin Park‘s “One Step Closer”, and Slipknot‘s “The Heretic Anthem” – all which cradled my teenage goth anger better than my poorly hidden journal ever could. But somehow, Kittie‘s deadly catchy nü-metal single “Brackish” never entered my arsenal. As I sit with this thought and dig deeper into why I never heard them spinning in the five disc stereo system at the cool older kids parties, I start to wonder…what kept them from the Top 40? What might these other bands have had that Kittie didn’t? Oh. Dicks. 

We are first hand witnessing the 2000s fashion trends return, that us millennials worked very hard to bury by the way, and boy is there a lot to unpack about the decade that followed the millennium. Changes to our everyday lives were coming so fast, as predicted by Smash Mouth‘s “All Star” (sorry), but a lot was staying the same in regards to belief systems. Being a woman in the music industry, or the entertainment industry at all for that matter, meant your appearance and gender was the first (and often the only) thing critics talked about. In 2024, it often still is.

But I think a huge difference was that in 2000, it wasn’t cool to be a girls girl. To be a guy’s girl was what I, the ultimate annoying tomboy, wanted to achieve. “Feminist” felt like an insult to young women who didn’t yet understand what it meant to own the power of divine femininity. So Kittie didn’t claim that and I can’t blame them. Social media hadn’t yet taken hold, hadn’t yet started to empower young women to be whoever and whatever they wanted to be – so to claim the identity of a “feminist” might have closed them off from what they really wanted, to be treated equally amongst their peers. So they didn’t claim to be feminists, but they refused to play into the media’s “woman touches guitar?” attitude about a female metal band. This left them in an in-between that left us wondering what could have been.

Now, 24 years later, with the wide JNCO jeans, middle parts and ball chains back on the streets, Kittie‘s heavy metal music finally meets a world where “woman” might come a few words after descriptors of their actual music. The latest record Fire via Sumerian Records is their first full-length album they released in 13 years and the production from Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice In Chains, Korn, etc.) does right by the talented four piece, allowing them to lean into a polished sound that brings forth the classic metal bones of Kittie‘s sound. This record is obviously a far departure from their original nu metal sound on first record Spit, since they quickly turned further into heavy meta on their second album Oracle.

Fire‘s title track, along with a well-done bright red music video, gives way to the robust record with some whisper growls, breaking into screaming immediately, a part of Kittie that always felt like the backbone but never the front runner. These songs are well-developed and contain an overall power that feels really good to hear coming from them.

Vocalist and guitarist Morgan Lander shares “We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past year, and surrounded ourselves with the ultimate dream team to make this album a reality.” highlighting the obvious journey of improvement that the band has been on. “Falter” and “Wound” nail unique guitar combinations into your brain and “Grime” gives us some NASTY screams that truly blew me away. The overall growth of this band is so apparent in Fire and I hope Kittie finally has the full support and success they’ve always deserved.

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