The Great Kat
1. Beethoven on Speed
3. Flight of the Bumble-Bee
4. Revenge Mongrel
5. Funeral March
8. Made in Japan
9. Sex & Violins
10. Beethoven Mosh (5th Symphony)
11. Gripping Obsession
12. Paganini's 24th Caprice
13. Worshipping Bodies
14. Guitar Concerto in Blood Minor
15. Total Tyrant
16. Bach to the Future: For Geniuses Only!
The Great Kat could only have been a product of the 80s. As the stage name of Katherine Thomas, The Great Kat portrayed herself as a dominatrix guitar shredder goddess whose genius you couldn't possibly understand, but dammit, you should drop to your knees to genuflect at the altar of her wankery. Thomas indeed was a technically talented musician whose background included formal training at the Julliard School. In fact, her background in classical music is blatantly obvious as half of her offerings are guitar shredding versions of classical pieces. But unfortunately, her out of control ego has her conflating her importance to Beethoven-esque levels and frankly this terrible album demonstrates that having talent is not the same as being a great all around musician.
Part of the problem with The Great Kat is her over the top gimmick of dressing up in lingerie while portraying herself as some sort of sex object. Moreover, I dare you to find one promo photo where her mouth isn't wide open. Her photos are as ridiculous as Manowar mincing about in their leather chaps and fluffed up chest hair tufts. The second problem is that despite Thomas' very obvious ability, her music is abysmal. Yes, she can whip through the classical pieces at warp speed and her fingers are quite nimble as they dance all over the fretboards. No one will argue the technical aspects of her playing. However, trying to recreate classical music as speed metal isn't necessarily an impressive accomplishment. For the most part, The Great Kat mutilates any sense of dynamics present in the original compositions and reduces great music to an exercise in sheer bloviating. Ironically, the humorous band Scatterbrain managed to cover a couple classical pieces on their pair of full lengths albums and actually come up with a great heavy metal reinterpretation. So it's quite possible to reimage classical music as speed metal, but Thomas apparently lacks the ability to arrange music. Her rhythm section is basically inept beyond playing fast.
However, the one thing worse than her attempt at classical music are her original pieces, which are sheer garbage. It truly is some of the worst heavy metal you'll ever hear. It's evident that while she can play her instrument, the art of songwriting never once entered her right brain.
Beethoven On Speed is one of those terrifically bad albums that you can break out to demonstrate the hubris of late 80s heavy metal. The Great Kat was so over the top and utterly ridiculous that she instantly negated her musical skills with displays of arrogance, out of control ego, and a sheer lack of self awareness to realize she was reducing herself to an obscure punch line to a joke. She might have had a far more successful career in metal had she set her raging self importance aside and joined a good band with strong songwriters as their lead guitarist. However, I always thought for amusement's sake, she should have teamed up with Joey DeMaio and Dave Mustaine to form the ultimate band of superegos. That might have justified their musical existence, but only with the volume turned down to zero.
So to put things bluntly, Beethoven On Speed is easily one of the worst heavy metal albums of its time. You may end up thanking Kurt Cobain for putting a stake through the heart of this sort of self-indulgent garbage.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 12/2010