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Shred Guitar Scares Me, If It Has Blood.
-By Stephen Kelley-
-Presented by DMG Ice.com-
-It spills like rain...-
|I love it when right as you are about to finish an article,
your computer crashes and school happens. Well that is what
happened to me at least. Sorry for the lateness of this piece,
but I could not help it. Hopefully I will crank my next one out
in a week to make up for it.
I consider myself an “obscure music” fan, meaning that I usually do not listen to top 20 US pop hits, and instead listen to odd and usually foreign music. A few weeks ago Phil handed me a DVD called “The Great Kat: Extreme Guitar Shred” and told me I should review it for my column. I asked “what type of music is it?” to which he replied “shred guitar.” Shred Guitar? What the hell is shred guitar?
A quick glance at Wikipedia gave me this insight:
“Shred guitar is a form of playing the electric guitar extremely fast. Perhaps the first great shredder was Eddie Van Halen, with the influential album Van Halen released in 1979. It became really popular in the 1980s with guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. It is characterized by rapidly played arpeggios using a technique known as sweep picking. Michael Angelo Batio was named by guitar magazine as the fastest shredder of all time.”
Okay, so shred guitar is basically what I listen to, if I listen to metal music. With Bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Kovenant under my belt, I seriously doubted that the “Great Kat” would be anything different. To really understand this type of music I had to know what I was dealing with. A quick look at Her Website at makes me think that she looks like a cross between Ted Nugent and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister in Female form. Kat is obviously into S&M or just likes the clothes, and has a thing for the military. I was in for an experience to say the least.
Would not you love to take her home to mom?
Kat is also apparently a classically trained virtuoso violinist and guitarist, which I can tell because the mp3 playing in the background of the web page is actually quite good. She has been getting booked at various events such as E3, which is why Phil had this DVD in the first place. I am not sure why she was at E3, because her stage show is a tad crazy, but as long as she gets fans I guess.
I threw the DVD in and was blessed with one of the most obnoxious and bad menus ever seen on a DVD. It looked almost like a middle schoolers web site on pretty much anything, complete with animated pictures and a flashy eye raping background. But I figured that this was an independent DVD, and I have probably seen worse. I mean it did catch my attention after all.
Menu section 1 was labeled “Shred Videos” so I decided to click on that first. This DVD turns out to be a music video collection, or an ad for other videos you can buy, I was not really sure. The DVD contained six videos, and I have decided to chronicle each one as I watch it, to keep my thoughts rolling. Here are the videos and my thoughts:
Zapateado – This was a short video of Kat, who was covered in red, white and blue face paint, body glitter and a bikini that blazed the stars and stripes as well. She was standing around with guys dressed as Ben Franklin and wailing away on a violin and a guitar playing patriotic music all while looking deranged as hell. It was as if she was trying to eat anyone's soul that watched the video, or so it looked. I got the feeling that she would kill someone at any time. Luckily I was wrong with that prediction. One thing I did notice is that Kat is a very accomplished guitarist and violinist. Although her stage persona is very odd, she basically has Alice Coopers “scare the audience” thing down, except I feel actually scared, whereas with Alice I think “Badass!” the entire time.
Torture Chamber- Wow! Where to start with this one? Torture Chamber was basically Kat yelling obscene things at some guy with an industrial beat in the background. The video was in Black and White and reminded me of some sort of snuff film. She did all of this stuff while she jammed on her guitar so hard I am surprised that she did not break any strings. She only stopped yelling to do nice things like, well torture the guy. I am not even sure if you could consider this a song, as it was more like a scene in a crazy horror movie. Her “singing” reminds me of other Death metal bands like “Cannibal Corpse” where the only reason you listen to them is their stage show, because their singing is essentially just yelling curse words, and jumbled messes of lyrics.
Castration – I knew this was going to be bad from the start, the Video opens with Kat dressed as a geisha and brandishing a large knife while yelling “CASTRATION!” in an insanely loud screech. The music was not bad, as it kind of reminded me of Cradle of Filth a bit, but the “song” was horrible. I am still not sure if she was actually singing or just yelling to her guitar riff. The video switched to Kat dressed as a Nurse castrating a guy. I am really not sure how you could listen to this as an actual song. I honestly can not imagine having it in my CD player, that is why I think of Kat at the moment as a “performance artist” rather than a musician at the moment.
Live in Chicago – After the last two titles I was worried what was next, “live in Chicago” sounds pretty tame does it not? Well it kind of was, as this song was almost like a Slayer Song with any lyrics replaced by a guy wearing a stupid Emperor Palpatine (from Star Wars) robe screaming and Kat standing in a bunch of guys wailing away on an instrument, all while covering herself in fake(?) blood.
Dominatrix – There we go, a scary title, that is what we all know Kat for. This was basically the same video as “Castration” except for the fact that she was whipping a guy and brandishing a crucifix, all while covered in blood. This song also actually had lyrics, albeit bad lyrics. At this point I am also realizing that the guy dressed as a Sith goth grim reaper wannabe is annoying, because all he does is yell in a fake deep voice while Kat screams real loud. Not exactly the best thing to listen to.
War – Another patriotic song….well kind of. This video reminded me of the “therapy” video that Alex was forced to watch with his eyes crammed open in “Clockwork Orange.” For those who have not seen said film, the “therapy video” was used to cure Alex of his murderous ways. The Video succeeded in making him associate violence with being ill.
This was me during the video. Well not really, but you get the idea of how scary it was.
I actually had a bad feeling with this music video as it was basically Kat screaming “KILL!.....KILL!” over and over again while images of the 9/11 tragedy and the Holocaust flashed up onto the screen. All the time she was wearing military BDUs and wailing away. The Guitar music for this song was actually really really good, but Kat’s “singing” didn’t do anything for me. Luckily Darth Jackass wasn’t in it though.
So, after watching this DVD I will say that “The Great Kat” is a spectacular Musician, but I wish she would not sing. She could probably be REALLY popular if she would drop the over-the-top screech singing. I could see her getting a dedicated lead singer to tour with, and no I do not mean Darth Moron, and possibly putting CDs out*, but in the current state she is almost entirely a “see live” type of act. Her music is almost impossible to listen to for me, but watching her jam on stage would probably be crazy.
I also would not recommend this DVD if this is the item that is for sale because it has only 15 minutes of real content. I held off doing a DVD review because of this. This DVD is essentially a commercial of sorts to drum up interest in her music.
This was definitely a hard DVD to review!
Steve’s Brief picks:
Movies: You all definitely have to go rent Sin City. I was kind of scared to see this movie because I was such a huge fan of Frank Miller’s original graphic novels. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. The movie is panel for panel an EXACT adaptation of the comic, so purists have NOTHING to complain about, and if they do, they are nerds and should not talk anyway.
Anime: I just saw a show called Planetes, and it was really good. Planetes was a space opera without resorting to an alien invasion plotline. The story basically centers around a group of people whose job it is, is to clean up space debris encircling the earth. This all came about because the trash problem got out of hand and commuter space flights were getting damaged due to flying junk. It is a very realistic sci-fi movie as I could see the same thing happening in 100 years much easier than most sci-fi.
Books: Have not really read too much new stuff lately, because I read all six Harry Potter books over the last month.
Music: I have recently been getting back into one of my favorite bands, called “In Extremo.” IE is an odd German band who meld medieval music with modern metal. Think Rammstein minus the synthesizers and add bagpipes. If you like new stuff, check out the music videos on that link up there for the band, they have 3 or 4 of them to check out.
Ren Fest metal? HELL YEAH!
I also realized that the band had two cds come out since I last kept up with them. Since I did not notice that they were out, it means they have probably lost their US distribution deal, but I can still buy them from Amazon, so s'all good.
Until next time,
-Editorial by Stephen Kelley-
*The Geat Kat has about six CDs out, apparently. She sells them at her shows in Seattle and they contain her "songs" as well as Shred Guitar versions of Wagner music. This is an editors note from Philip.. and yes... I enjoy torturing my staff with EVIL. Thank you, Great Kat! Once I get the DVD back from Steve, I shall expose it to co-workers. BWA HA HA HA HA!
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