Kittie / God Forbid Opera House, Toronto, ON March 3

Kittie / God Forbid Opera House, Toronto, ON March 3
Three years after their last Toronto performance, the ladies of metal returned for what was basically their hometown tour kick-off show. And although the turnout at the Opera House was less than impressive, those who did attend relished in the sight of the Lander sisters and the best Kittie line-up to date.

New Jersey metalcore outfit God Forbid warmed up the audience with their melody-infused brand of American heavy metal. They performed a handful of tracks from 2005's IV: Constitution of Treason and from their latest release, Earthsblood, including "War of Attrition." God Forbid also threw in an older tune from Gone Forever before finishing their set with "To the Fallen Hero," which vocalist Byron Davis dedicated to the late, great "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

It wasn't long before London, ON's Kittie took the stage with their estrogen-filled metal. The female four-piece blazed through their set, which was filled with tracks from their latest release In the Black, starting with The Legacy-era, Testament-inspired "My Plague." Front-woman Morgan Lander was at the top of her game the entire performance with improved clean singing abilities, especially evident on "Never Again" from 2007's Funeral for Yesterday. Shining brightly behind her with sparkly pink drums embellished with black hearts, Mercedes Lander has also proven to have honed her back-up vocal talent, as she flawlessly growled her way through Oracle's "What I Always Wanted."

As Kittie's best lead guitarist thus far, Tara McLeod really brings a lot to the band's live act; the girl can shred. Her catchy riffs and intricate solos were performed with intense energy and showcased her incredible musicianship. New bassist Ivy Vujic also proved to be an asset to the band with her lively stage presence, meshing well with McLeod's dynamic, particularly on angst-filled tunes "Burning Bridges" and "Look So Pretty" from 2004's Until the End.

Ending their 15-track set with In the Black's "Forgive and Forget," Kittie certified themselves a force to be reckoned with, despite their countless line-up changes, record label issues and other past difficulties. By the end of the show, the only complaint — other than the lack of tunes from their 1999 debut Spit — was that it seemed to be over too soon, leaving the audience wanting more.