It wasn't all that surprising when Kittie's head-banging debut, Spit, sold more than 600,000 copies. The quartet of metal-loving barely legals from London, Ontario, invaded America during our nü-metal honeymoon, brandishing enough slaying riffs and well-placed piercings to send Matt Pinfield straight to a cold shower. The unexpected twist was that the girls proved they had enough staying power to avoid being yoked into obscurity as a novelty act. Not that Kittie's ride is free from a little turbulence: Founding guitarist Fallon Bowman mysteriously was ushered out of the band after apparently developing a "cultish" obsession with the Columbine murderers. The remaining trio's second outing, Oracle, which features a strangely compelling rendition of Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell," was widely regarded by many critics as classic sophomore slumping. But maybe bandleader Morgan Lander took her own lyrics to heart when she sang, "Let's get it right...You knew that life was a game." Under her leadership Kittie has survived novelty status by craftily maneuvering the music biz and sharpening their live show on a seemingly endless string of engagements. Fans who got to know the girls when they were still wet behind the ears should take another listen. Little Kittie's claws have become surprisingly sharp.