Kittie is the reason why A) Jack Off Jill was smart to quit when they were ahead, and B) goth chicks with a lover’s quarrel should make like Fairuza Balk in The Craft and remain sequestered in solitary confinement somewhere.
I admit, while this “riot grrl” act dressed in Hot Topic clearance sales struck angry teen gold on their first two releases (1999’s Spit, 2001’s Oracle), not to mention honed a damn good metal rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell”, Kittie remains the bastard prostitute daughter of the nu-metal era.
I’ve Failed You takes the reins from two previous forgettable album titles, alternatively offering nothing short of mediocre hardcore (“I’ve Failed You”) with a 50% sentimental “epic” for show (the two-part “Empires”). Much as KoRn’s III represents why going back to an old formula without due respect can devastate a comeback, Kittie’s latest run on rebooted images and generic album art yields the reason some late-’90s cusp performers will never regain their footing commercially or artistically: They flat out sucked to begin with.
Kittie was what Splendora would have been if you replaced punk rock and a tie-in to MTV’s Daria with a half-assed Otep and a Wiccan on PMS; there’s fervor and rage, but almost no substance beyond existing to help feed a then already-saturated market. This particular group of gals caught a peak before immediately being quashed by notoriously constant lineup changes during a significantly short lifespan. The surviving band is a small glimpse of the old (“What Have I Done?”) with a ton of the reckless new draped in uninspired titling (“Come Undone”, “Ugly”). Even when shorter tracks bank on Norma Jean fans to denounce metalcore chaos in favor of lighter approaches, there are no props for whatever the hell one called Kittie to begin with.
One second it sounds like either Slipknot had the band fronted by that chick who essentially is Paramore (“Never Come Home”), or Cyndi Lauper as Alice Cooper on Halloween (“Time Never Heals”); the next, I’m reminded of what happens to nu-metal bands who once submitted stellar cover songs before flickering into maddening obsolescence. They provide album titles that unintentionally sum up a blatant truth.
In this case, that message should be fucking obvious.
Essential Tracks: No, thanks.