Metal Express Rating: 5.0/10
Release Date: 2009-04-14
by: GEORGE FUSTOS
Email: george (at) metalexpressradio (dot) com
If the name Katherine Thomas came up in casual conversation, or any conversation for that matter, would that name mean anything to anyone? Would bells and whistles be going off inside your head saying “Oh yeah I know who that is.” For 99% of the population it would probably mean nothing. For 99% of the music listeners found within the original 99%, it still wouldn’t raise a flag. Well who the hell is Katherine Thomas one might ask? If The Great Kat were thrown out at you, all of a sudden the brain cells would begin to work and the $99,000 dollar question would be answered.
Katherine Thomas was born in Swindon, England (the year will be left out-you know what they say about women and their ages) and began her classical music education by playing piano at age seven and then violin at age nine. By the time she picked up the violin however, it was in Long Island, New York and at age 15 she happened to win a full scholarship to the infamous Julliard School in New York City. There, Katherine devoted every minute of her life practicing, studying, rehearsing, competing, working, living and sleeping the violin. In her own words, “that’s the kind of dedication it takes to be a GENIUS musician.”
What Kat (short for Katherine and not to be confused with The Great Kat even though they are one and the same) did because of all that hard work and practice was become one of the fastest Shredders of all time, male or female. She was able to transform all of her violin solos from Paganini, Sarasate, Vivaldi et al., and began to play them with the exact arrangement regarding fingerings, shiftings and techniques used on the violin but now onto the guitar. What Kat didn’t realize was that she created a new genre that might as well be called Shreddal. What this new genre is can be easily explained simply as a combination of Classical/Metal/Shredding. Bottom line is that Kat is the creator and founder of Shred/Classical Music taken to a new level never before heard so she might as well get credit for it.
This latest DVD by The Great Kat is something that can be talked about forever but words will never be able to tell the complete story. It must be viewed at least once to understand the full implications of Kat’s latest project. The DVD contains seven shred videos along with four shred bonus features and even one shred Kartoon thrown in for good measure in case you find the other stuff boring. Everything on here is short (very quick) and to the point. Normally, a music CD or DVD in this case is at least one hour in length, sometimes a little less (in a CD’s case) and other times much more (in a DVD’s case). This DVD has a 15 minute running time approximately. What does that tell you? Considering the fact that there are numerous items, some of which are famous and notable classical pieces by some of the most gifted composers ever to live, Kat gets the job done in less than 15 minutes has to give you some idea of the shredding speed we are talking about here.
Every one of these short videos has one thing in common… The Great Kat and a provocative S & M/Dominatrix outfit showing off her assets and sexy body. What that and classical/shredding have to do with each other is still a mystery but it seems to work for Kat. While watching these videos and looking at Kat in her outfits you almost lose track of what the main focus is supposed to be, especially if you are either male or lesbian – and that is the music.
Her accompanying musicians are Jeff Ingegno (bass) and Lionel Cordew (drums) for a major portion of these videos. Kat can be found playing a single guitar, a single guitar and a single violin, any combination thereof all the way up to six guitars and three violins at a clip as can be seen in “Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3.” Kat can also be seen shredding at 300 BPM (that’s beats per minute for those still trying to figure it out) on Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Flight of the Bumble Bee.”
Her other videos show, or are featured around, the title of those videos however dramatic or obscenely disgusting they may appear to be. On “Torture Techniques” the video depicts scenes that simulate torture as you would expect to find under those circumstances. Rope, chains, hooks, pliers, paddles, hypodermics of some sorts, hoods, et al. are seen just about everywhere while watching Kat do her thing. Don’t let all that crap get in the way of what really counts and that is the stack of Marshall amps and heads in the background that supply all of that wonderful shredding sound bouncing off the walls.
Then there is “Blood.” Let’s see…what can we find in this video? Ding Ding Ding!!!-you hit the nail on the head. Yes it’s blood… all over the place. One might ask why, but at this point why bother and who really cares anyway. “Islamofascists” is a dark version of a Guantanamo Bay setting but over in the Middle East where it is probably ten times worse. There will be no details given for this since enough disgusting scenes can be found in the news and the Internet. How and why this was put to music is a question that will be put on the back burner in case a future interview with The Great Kat ever develops into a realistic event.
The other stuff (Hot Shred Bits 2, Shred Geniuses, Metal Fugue: Bach’s “The Art of the Fugue”) along with some credits is way too short nor does it contain any substantial and useful material that it needs or merits any additional time attributed towards it. The only remaining item is a Shred Kartoon that is about worthwhile in viewing as reading the obituaries is.
There it is in a nutshell. A quick 15 minute DVD that probably isn’t worth the money being asked for it unless you are a die-hard fan of The Great Kat and/or are a fan of Classical music that is taken to supersonic speed levels before unknown or witnessed by humans. Even if you might be a big fan of all this, it’s probably a safe bet to say that there is no reason to race down to the store to pick this up. Something says that there will be plenty left and that it won’t be flying off of the shelves.
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