Compact DISCovery


Jaimie Vernon

I’ve Failed You

Entertainment One

Let’s get this out of the way right up front. My age immediately disqualifies me as a voice of critical objectivity in reviewing a band like Kittie - the London, Ontario metal act fronted by sisters Morgan Lander (vocals, guitar) and Mercedes Lander (drums, additional vocals). Those intimate with the genre give convincing discourse about the subtleties and nuances that, on initial inspection, have always appeared to me like monochromatic, angry musical dystopia. And, apparently, there’s a big difference between Black Metal, Death Metal and Viking Metal amongst a fistful of sub and sub-sub genres.

What Luddites like myself should know about Kittie’s 6th studio album, “I’ve Failed You”, is that these four ladies (including lead guitarist Tara McLeod and bassist Ivy Vujic Jenkins) are NOT the Bangles or the Go-Go’s.  

Kittie comes from a world dominated by Doro Pesch [look her up] who is the gold standard in female metal empowerment. Vocally, Morgan Landers taps Pesch’s patented Linda Blair/Exorcist articulation -think flaming bowels of hell as it would sound being ripped from the sphincter of Satan himself. It gets wearing over the first two (and thankfully short) opening numbers “We Are The Lamb” and the title track  while the band is a maelstrom of staccato Drop ‘D’ tuned guitar and bass locomotion piled on top of rapid fire machine-gun splatter of double kick-drum and blast beats (in what those metal kids consider musical ‘dynamics’).  

But something exhilarating happens through the remainder of the album: Morgan Landers starts to sing. And it’s melodic like a disjointed and hung-over cherub attempting to land on top of molten lava. Suddenly, the album begins to grow melodically in spite of its heavy-handed soundtrack. Though not as calculatingly slick at Evanescence, the shape of the songs take on a certain thematic quality that drive songs like “Empires (Part 2)”, “Never Come Home” and “Ugly” into places where the beauty in the lyrics is no longer wrestling against the music.

Producer Siegfried Meier has been working with this band for several albums and has created a masterful soundscape of rampaging aggression married to accessible melodicism. It’s now up to the metal world to decide whether this is good for the direction of the band or a blow to their street credibility.

Bullet With A Name


3QS is the brainchild of Guelph, Ontario guitarist/songwriter Chris Drone. He assembled the original version of the band in 2006 and managed to attract the attention of similarly musical minded Goddo’s Greg Godovitz who produced their debut ‘It Starts Right Here’ that same year.  The record spawned two successful Rock/College radio singles in “Devil Woman” and “Believe” but without major label or monetary support to push the boundaries of an indie act coming out of Western Ontario, 3QS struggled.

Fast Forward to this year and Drone’s act has stabilized and grown as a power Rock unit. The band features vocalist Dan Wray, second guitarist Steve DiVenanzo and the rhythm section of Dave Tonelli (drums) and Rob McIntyre (bass). Their sophomore effort, ‘Bullet With A Name’, finds the band matured, tight and exploding with big studio sounds on a musician’s budget. The title track delivers right out of the gate and straight into the anthemic ‘It Don’t Matter’ (ripe for radio). Other standouts are “Take” which picks up where Velvet Revolver let it all fall apart and the re-imagining of “Believe”.

The true strength of the album, aside from the more articulate lyrical content, is the expansion of 3QS’s musical palette.  Finally, we have some slower, more dynamic acoustic tunes like “Broken” – where Wray channels Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander and the remake of Goddo’s concert classic “Tough Times”.

I encourage those who still like their rock multi-dimensional to check these guys out on their current Canadian tour.


Because my former business affiliation with Canadian Classic mystery band KLAATU could be construed as a bias where reviewing their music is concerned I’m recusing myself from same. However, I do want to mention the brand new 35th Anniversary re-release of their 1976 debut album ‘3:47 EST’ on the group’s new independent label imprint Klaatunes. ‘3:47’ is the album featuring “Calling Occupants (of Interplanetary Craft)” which became a hit for The Carpenters in 1977. The record has been sonically restored by Toronto mastering guru Peter E. Moore under the supervision of the band and original Klaatu producer  Terry Brown. They’ve also brought in original graphic designer Ted Jones to update and revise the artwork. Be your own judge here:

CAROLYN FE, ED ROMAN, THE STOGIES and we’ll be going “From Canada…to Clovis”.

Send your CDs w/bios to:
Jaimie Vernon, 180 Station Street, Suite 53, Ajax, ON L1S 1R9