The Great Kat – Wagner, Goddess, Chopin and Shedderrific

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Some artists create a sound that’s so far ahead of the curve that time is yet to catch up. That’s certainly the case with guitar virtuoso The Great Kat who, just like her beloved Richard Wagner, has produced a body of work that won’t be fully appreciated until some period in the distant future. Latest album Wagner, Goddess, Chopin and Shedderrific condenses seven classical standards and the resulting album is truly mind-blowing.

Clocking in at a cool 12 minutes Wagner, Goddess, Chopin and Shedderrific is an album that doesn’t hang around. Indicative of the music contained within its short running time is a white knuckle ride which leaves the listener slightly windswept in its wake. With no warning or fancy preliminaries ‘Goddess’ opens with the worlds heaviest riff as The Great Kat proceeds to squeal and shout whilst shredding seven guitars…and all in under two minutes! Budding guitarists will marvel at the sheer speed and technicality on display while those with only rudimentary musical knowledge will be flummoxed by the sounds which Kat pulls from her guitar.

The Great Kat has polarised fans like no artist before or since. It seems metalheads either love her or love to hate her. Coming to prominence in the mid ‘80s when women in metal conformed to fluffy, submissive stereotypes (Lee Aaron, Vixen) Kat was the complete antithesis and released albums titled Worship Me or Die! and Guitar Goddess while her outspoken nature ruffled a few feathers in the stuffy music press. ‘Chopin’s Funeral March’ is the musical equivalent of a two-finger salute to those very same critics and picks up where ‘Goddess’ left off. Full of guitar lines intertwining and ululating with the force of a fire breathing dragon it’s a heavy interpretation that fully captures the essence of the original whilst imparting on it a modern twist.

From Jim Steinman’s grandiose vision realised on Bat Out Of Hell to Rick Rubin’s production values 19th century composer Richard Wagner has had a huge influence on metal and that becomes apparent on ‘Wagner’s The Ride of The Valkyries’ and, shredding both guitar and violin, it’s the ultimate amalgamation of classical and metal. Kat fans have long been wanting a live recording but those expecting a double live album will be disappointed but, in true Kat style, we get the succinct 87 second ‘Goddess Shreds Live In Chicago’. Like a wheel rotating so fast it seems to be turning backwards ‘Shredderrific’ is, as the title suggests, an amphetamine charged run up and down a fretboard and packs more notes into its brevity than most bands do on a whole album.

Graduating from New York’s famous Juilliard music institution, NYC, The Great Kat brings that schooling to closer ‘Brindisi Waltz The Drinking Song’. Light and airy (though as equally vivacious) it stands in marked contrast to the rest of the album and acts as a foil to highlight the heavier passages that came before. I’m not sure if time will ever catch up with The Great Kat but, if you want to hear the guitar pushed further than ever before, then check out Wagner, Goddess, Chopin And Shredderrific.

Tracklisting:

  1. Goddess
  2. Chopin’s Funeral March
  3. Wagner’s Ride Of The Valkyries
  4. Goddess Shred’s Live In Chicago
  5. Chopin’s Marche Funebre For Guitar And Piano
  6. Shredderrific
  7. Brindisi Waltz The Drinking Song