Kittie - Oracle
Oracle is the second studio album from groove/thrash/death/alternative metal band Kittie. After the success of their debut album, instead of following in the wake of their success, Kittie switched from nu-metal to a crushingly heavy groove/death sound. One could say this drastic switch alienated some of their fans, but at the same time it probably made them gain some fans of the more extreme sides of metal.
As soon as the album opens with the title track, you're given crushing sludgy grooves and deep growls. This sets the stage for the majority of the album, with a bit of variation mixed in with some of the tracks. The title track, "Mouthful of Poison", "Severed", "Pain", "Wolves", and "No Name" all feature monstrous grooves, the latter speeding up to thrash at the end and some of them having killer descending death metal guitar licks. There are also a few Alice in Chains-esque alternative metal tracks that mix that sound with the groove/death of the majority of the album. The 10-minute "Pink Lemonade" has some drone/sludge elements to it, and "Safe" provides a dreary melancholy break.
I must give mention to the cover of the Pink Floyd classic, "Run Like Hell". I love it when bands make a song their own when covering it, and they certainly do here. It turns into a crushing groove metal song with colossal double-bass drumming and a distorted guitar solo. I love the original, as it's one of my favorite Floyd songs, but I love hearing it done metal-ized.
Just like everything I've mentioned so far, everything else has improved immensely from the debut. Vocally, you get deep growls and melancholy clean vocals. There are tons of killer riffs, and the drums pack so much punch that you can sometimes feel the reverb. The lyrics are more cryptic and contemplative, and are a lot more mature than the angst-y lyrics of the debut.
While it's typical of later albums to improve on debuts, creating a complete masterpiece after a very mediocre debut is quite the feat. This is a classic in my book, and perfectly balances out a main sound with enough variation to keep it interesting. Highly recommended for any groove/death fans. Hope you found this review helpful.
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