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Five Albums That Changed My Life: Morgan Lander of Kittie

Ama Lea

Kittie recently dropped ‘I’ve Failed You,’ the Canadian metal queens’ sixth studio album. Produced by Siegfried ‘Siggy’ Meier, the record features barnstormers like ‘We Are the Lamb’ and ‘Come Undone,’ plus epic tracks like its closer, ‘Time Never Heals.’ While home in between tours, Kittie vocalist-guitarist Morgan Lander took the time to take part in Noisecreep’s ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ feature.

‘II’
Van Halen (1979)

“Growing up, ‘Van Halen II’ was in constant rotation around my house, as it was one of my parent’s favorite albums while Mercedes and I were young. I consider it a “formative years” album, and while not a direct musical influence on my band itself, it certainly did its best to shape me as a child. Van Halen II is, in essence, the soundtrack to my childhood. Blaring from my parent’s car, or at home, songs like “Dance the Night Away”, or “Beautiful Girls” resonate with me still: They are skiing trips, rides to school, weekend dinners and parties that I was too young to understand. They remind me of my Dad, and of happier, more care-free times. Every verse, chorus or musical line evokes a memory, and the songs contained within would ultimately shape the way I viewed the idea of music itself, the way I listened to it, and influenced the musical choices I would make further down the line when I began my own journey into creativity. This was my first taste of guitar driven rock, and there was no looking back from that point on.”

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‘Frogstomp’
Silverchair (1995)

“When I was around 13, I can remember being on Christmas break, and seeing the videos for ‘Pure Massacre’ and ‘Israel’s Son’ being played repeatedly on a Much Music top 50 video countdown. I was mesmerized and enchanted with the band. The singer was gorgeous, the music moving, and they were from a place so far away (Australia) I couldn’t even imagine visiting one day. Before seeing the band, admittedly, I was still in what was considered in my household, a rebellious “listening to rap and R&B” phase. That Christmas, everything changed. I bought the album and was instantly amazed by these kids; kids MY age, making music that was successful, and well written, and pretty heavy. I was smitten, and thought to myself “If they can do it, so can I.” I picked up a guitar, to learn to play their songs, and from there I was transformed and once again in love with rock music and all it had to offer me. They were my gateway band, so to speak, and from there I ended up delving deeper into the grunge scene, and then the metal scene. I still consider myself a fan to his day, having seen them play over a dozen times and am the proud owner of all five of their albums. Aside from that, I hold them directly responsible for inspiring me to form a band.”

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‘Water and Solutions’
Far (1998)

“I fell in love with the Sacramento band’s music around 1998. It was so dynamic, so melodic and so refreshing, and unlike anything I was listening to during that period of my life. At a time when most of the bands I listened to, wanted to scream, and scary posturing was the fad, this was a band that went against that, but still managed to be a part of the scene. Far’s music opened my eyes, and tore my heart out. It was painfully honest, and vulnerable. Songs like ‘Really Here,’ ‘Nestle,’ and ‘Mother Mary,’ allowed me to find a new voice within myself, channel it, and directly influenced me to pursue the more melodic side of Kittie. To this day, when prompted, I still answer the question of “If you were stuck on a desert island with one album to listen to, what would it be?” with ‘Water and Solutions.’”

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‘Far Beyond Driven’
Pantera (1994)

“I was a little late to the Pantera game. I was in 18-years-old when I had the privilege of spending two of the craziest, most formative months of my life with them on tour, but had never really been too knowledgeable about the band or what they sounded like, prior to the months leading up to that tour. I had to work my way backwards through their catalogue, having come to the party at what was to be the sunset of their career. Every album was better than the last, but I was ultimately changed by the power and the glory of ‘Far Beyond Driven.’ It was empowering, pissed and blatant – everything I needed at the time. I was young, angry, and was in the midst of a really crazy, f—ed-up time, and identified with the strength and fearlessness that the album portrayed. From that day on, I truly was changed. I didn’t want to be seen as a girl in metal any more. I didn’t want to tart it up. I didn’t want the attention. I wanted to be revered and respected. I grew my hair out, stopped wearing make-up and dressed in baggy clothes for a few years. I saw the power that Pantera commanded and I wanted it for myself.”

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‘Heartwork’
Carcass (1994)

“I bought this album around 2000, after hearing our then guitar tech Jeff Phillips rave about the band, and play me some songs. I was still a naïve 18-year-old, in her own little world, and Carcass was really my first foray into what is considered a more extreme form of metal, and it was life changing. Both brutal and memorable, I still feel like ‘Heartwork’ is a masterpiece front to back, and it has certainly influenced what I do musically, especially in the latter part of our career. The writing and the playing is just so clean and pure sounding to me, which is what I love most about it. I don’t even care what he is saying, or what the lyrics are for that matter, it’s the guitar work, and the riffs that make this album what it is. I can hum every solo, every riff, and each is stand alone, like a complete song itself. The songs are so unique, and ugly, but somehow accessible, and very listenable. It could be instrumental for all I care, I would still say that it withstands the test of time, and holds up against all kinds of newer metal albums.”

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