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Kittie, and Walls Of Jericho

Both of these acts offer a fresh feminine perspective in genres with an overabundance of "masculine" posturing and one-dimensional angst while also refusing to draw attention to their "femaleness" for its own sake. Indeed, Morgan Lander and Candace Kucsulain, frontwomen for Kittie and Walls Of Jericho, respectively, strike a fine balance. Each possesses a unique approach and flair for wordplay, and each settles for nothing less than all-out vocal annihilation. These are not women who seethe with anger and growl and rage really well

for girls

. They just do. Period. Kucsulain waxes agitated over the rest of WoJ's Slayer-influenced metalcore with a keen eye for the genre's traditionally sacred working-class principles, while also embracing a broader social view. Her penchant for conveying a claustrophobic sense of isolation, plus her willingness to let her guard down and show real hurt only gives her tougher lyrics (on songs like "There's No I in Fuck You") more force. Meanwhile, who would have thought that Kittie, which started out as four teenage girls from the suburbs of Toronto, would have sidestepped the gimmick stigma and still be around to scream about it almost a decade later? That's no small feat for a band that emerged at the height of nü-metal's popularity. Clearly, the integrity and power in Lander's howl has helped keep her band in the hunt.

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