Interview by Eetu “Ene” Niskanen
We have reached Kittie singer Morgan Lander for let know to all our readers the latest news about the brand new album “In the Black”. Enjoy!
Hello Morgan and thanks for doing our interview!
No problem and thank you for chatting with me
This year you released your new album, “In the Black”, how much work did it take to get it done and released?
This album was actually written and recorded over a fairly extended time. Most of the ideas and songs were at least sketched out while we were on tour last summer and fall, but nothing was really set in stone until after we were released from our label and were free agents. We then decided it was time to get down to the business or writing, and then once we felt that we had some great material, we went into the studio for 3 weeks to record. It was a very relaxed, laid back experience. No pressure what so ever!
Do you see any improvement compared to the earlier albums?
Comparing our previous works to “In the Black” is like night and day. We are a totally different band ability-wise and maturity-wise. We have come a long way since our “Spit” days.
Also with this album you changed labels, how was the change and how is the new label?
It was amazing to finally be signed again in Europe through Massacre Records, and through E1 Entertainment in North America. Everyone has been so accomidating and helpful with every aspect of the release. We are proud to be a part of the E1 and Massacre families.
You also have a new bassist, how is it working with her?
Ivy actually joined the band in 2007, and she has been a great addition to the band. She is super talented, driven and really just wants what we all want, which is to make Kittie the best that we can be. We all get along and have such a good time playing together, its nice to have that kind of stability finally!
Was it important to get female bassist to stay as all-female band?
Yes and no. While we were waiting to fill the void left by Trish when she exited the band in mid 2007, we had our friend Jeff Phillips join us for a few tours. He also played with us for a few years early on in our career. We honestly just wanted someone who knew the songs and was good at what they do, so it was never really an issue. When it came time for a permanant replacement, however, we knew that reputation-wise, we should be looking for a female. It’s actually not that important to find a woman, but in a way thats what most people expect when they hear the name Kittie.
I just did interview with Masha from Arkona so I’ll ask you the same question, there are still very little bands with female growler, how did you come up with the idea of extreme vocals performed by you?
Honestly it was something that came naturally to me. It was a way to express how I was feeling and in order to match the dynamic and power of the songs we were writing, I needed to scream. It was never really a very conscious decision, it was all very organic and my style and abilities developed over time.
From the new album, what are your favourite songs and why?
I love songs like “My Plague”, “Forgive and Forget” and “Cut Throat” for their speed and intensity, and I especially love “Sorrow I Know” for its dark feel and somber mood. I love the entire album, but these are stand-out tracks for me!
After all these year with Kittie where do you see girls in 5-10 years?
I see us continuing to make music and tour. We are all still young and have so much more to learn and to offer musically. There is no slowing us down!
What kind of music do you listen yourself and how often?
I have quite a diverse set of songs in my iPod that I listen to on a regular basis. I listen to something extreme and heavy just about every day while I am at the gym, and I find that bands like Carcass, Behemoth, At The Gates and Metallica all work really well for high-intensity purposes! I do have alot of more rock based stuff that I listen to often aswell, like Kings of Leon too, for the more chill moments!
Who are your biggest influences?
Personally I don’t really have too many idols musically, but I was shaped early on by bands like Van Halen, Heart and Ted Nugent. I respect and admire so many bands though, especially if there is hope or perseverance in their story. Bands like Pantera and Metallica give me hope for the future of the greatness of heavy metal.
In the end, are you working on any quest performances, if not would you like to do?
And by quest do you mean tours abroad? Because we are definitely hitting up Europe and the UK this January in support of “In the Black”!
Label : Dreamcell 11 Entertaiment/Aural Music
Review by Tony Cannella
Shortly after the release of their second full-length album, “Silvery Moonbeams”, the Spanish band Niobeth decided to call it a day and break up. Of course it is always a sad thing when a young band with so much promise decides to go their separate ways, but even more so when they released such a good album like “Silvery Moonbeams”. For about an hour this is Niobeth at their operatic, symphonic metal best – a band firing on all cylinders and loaded with confidence and a swagger. Starting with “The Banished Princess”, vocalist Itea Benedicto Colás pushes herself to the limit and choirs are used and exactly what the song needs, and is a perfect enhancement for an already solid track. The beautiful guitar harmonies introduce the next track “Eclipse”. This is one of several songs that feature male vocals; I have no idea who does them. This song sees Itea toning down the operatic style on this mid-tempo track. That is the one of the strengths of the band, Itea doesn’t feel the need to show off with how high of notes she can hit, she fits her voice perfectly to what the song calls for. The band speeds up for the beginning of “Withered Lullabies”; this is another one that features the choirs which provides the songs with a rich texture. “Sons of the Earth” is another strong track, and one of my favorites. The mournful violin intro “Stolen Innocence” leads us into the melancholic “My Dead Angel”. Other highlights include: “Campeon”, “I Know That I Know Nothing” (quite possibly the greatest song titles ever?) and “I Need You to Need Me” (2nd greatest song title ever?). The 15-minute “Sadako’s Wings of Hope” is a pure symphonic masterpiece and is as epic as epic can get. The acoustic outro “Solitude” seems like a fitting way to close the book on Niobeth. Knowing that the band has broken up makes it that much more emotional. If this is to be their epitaph, then “Silvery Moonbeams” from Niobeth is a great way to go out. Still, you can’t help but wonder what might have been. Niobeth is a band that was certainly capable of rising to the top of the Symphonic Metal hierarchy. They will be missed.
Rating – 88/100
- The Banished Princess
- Withered Lullabies
- Sons of the Earth
- Stolen Innocence
- My Dead Angel
- I Know That I Know Nothing
- I Need You to Need Me
- Sadako’s Wings of Hope
- Polovtsian Dances
- Itea Benedicto Colás – Vocals
- Jesus Diez Garcia – Guitars
- Javi Palacious – Bass
- Alberto Izquierdo – Drums
Label : Ioki Records/Sony Music Entertaiment UK
Review by Luisa Mercier
One of the best debut in mainstream music this year is Kyla La Grange, an interesting artist hailing from Great Britain. Her album “Ashes” is quite varied and ranges from alternative pop (the lively single “Vampire Smile”) to indie rock that reminds me of Florence & The Machine (“Walk Through Wall”) and a kind of even heavier rock (“Been Better” that is close to melodic hard rock). Her voice is the typical pop voice, but it is not a bad thing, I think she is quite expressive and able to manage all the different genres that her album has included. Second track “Courage” for example is more atmospheric, eerie and Kyla mixes her voice to a that of male singer, obtaining a really nice effect. Even though each track is different from the previous one with its own personality, the record has its own “fil rouge” throughout the eleven songs. Kyla succeded in creating a beautiful debut album that puts her among the most interesting alternative female artists on the scene together with Florence Welch and Clare Maguire (eagerly waiting to listen her second record).
Rating – 75/100
- Walk Through Walls
- I Could Be
- To Be Torn
- Vampire Smile
- Woke Up Dead
- Been Better
- Heavy Stone
- You Let It Go
- Kyla La Grange – Vocals & Songwriting
Label : eOne
Review by Tony Cannella
From Knoxville, Tennessee come the metal core outfit Straight Line Stitch. The band was originally formed around 1999, and has previously released three full-length albums as well as a bunch of EPs. The fourth – and newest –output from Straight Line Stitch is called “The Fight of Our Lives” and that is a very appropriate title “The Fight of Our Lives” is just all out fist pumping, headbanging, adrenalin fueled aggression. From the beginning of the chaotic, beautifully brutal opening tune “Tear Down the Sky”, Straight Line Stitch delivers 42-minutes worth of an all out metal assault. “Conversion” offers the listener no reprieve as the band continues with another heavy track. Alexis Brown is the very talented singer as she alternates between a screaming, extreme style and a cleaner vocal style. The band also injects some melody to go along with the mayhem presented here. “Laughing in the Rearview” is a highlight and while it still maintains the heaviness of the other material, there is something catchy and more accessible about this track – this chorus is just so damn infectious. “Cold Front” slows the tempo down a notch or two, but still delivers a crunchy riff and Alexis uses her clean vocal style for the majority of this song. Other highlights included here: “No Tomorrow”, “Bar Room Brawl” and “Ashes in the Wind”. “The Fight of Our Lives” is definitely an album you want to play after a hard day at work or you just want to release some pent up aggression and then Straight Line Stitch may be the band for you. This is definitely recommended for fans of In This Moment (who SLS is on tour with) and The Agonist.
Rating – 77/100
- Tear Down the Sky
- Laughing in the Rearview
- Cold Front
- No Tomorrow
- Bar Room Brawl
- One Reason
- Never Surrender
- Living Dead
- Sound of Silence
- Ashes in the Wind
- Alexis Brown – Vocals
- Seth Thacker – Guitars
- Kris Norris – Guitar
- Jason White – Bass
- Kanky Lora – Drums
Label : Disdained Entertaiment/Rambo Music
Review by Tony Cannella
Unfortunately, Sweden’s Disdained are currently a band without a record label. This is a shame really, because after listening to their debut album “Kill My Only Enemy”, it is quite clear that Disdained packs all of the power and professionalism of a seasoned outfit. Once again, this is a female fronted band that gets stuck with the ‘Gothic’ tag, and I have to be honest, I don’t really see them as a gothic band. Musically, they add symphonic touches in conjunction with heavy riffs and the beautiful vocals of Therese Thomsson – which are not of the operatic variety. She’s just got a strong, soaring metal voice. I would say they have more to do with Power Metal than Gothic Metal, but that’s only my opinion. The intro, “Prelude to a Dream” segues nicely into the opener “Eternal Night”. The first thing that hit me was the expressiveness of Therese Thomsson’s vocals. Next up we have “Longing for Serenity” which some fans may remember from the Beauty and Brutality compilation album. This song carries loads of atmosphere with it and a powerful vibe. The ultra melodic “Kill My Only Enemy” is next and should go down great live. The next two tracks, “Numb” and “Two Pages” are okay, but it is the next track “I Live for Your Pain” which quickly became a favorite of mine. This is one of the more aggressive tracks and features some grunt vocals to go along with Therese’s classy delivery. “Redemption”, “Trust” and “Dreams Never Come True” are next before the whole thing is concluded with the outro, “The End”. Here’s hoping that some label will smarten up and give Disdained the opportunity they deserve. “Kill My Only Enemy” is one powerhouse of a debut.
Rating – 88/100
- Prelude to a Dream
- Eternal Night
- Longing for Serenity
- Kill My Only Enemy
- Two Pages
- I Live for Your Pain
- Dreams Never Come True
- The End
- Therese Thomsson – Vocals
- Niklas Dahlin – Lead guitar, backing vocals & programming
- Johan Hartman – Guitars
- Tomas Stolt – Bass & Backing vocals
- Johan Persson – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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