"Extreme Guitar Shred" DVD Review in BVS Reviews
By Bruce Von Stiers, BVS Reviews

Classical Shred

There is something about a woman guitar player. I don't know what it is, but the image of a metal rock guitar player adds something extra. One such guitar player is The Great Kat. Not only does she play a mean metal guitar, The Great Kat also plays violin. She plays a special kind of music though. The music is called Shred. That is defined as very fast guitar soloing,

The Great Kat has filmed several videos and put them on a DVD. This music DVD is titled Extreme Guitar Shred.

You might not know it from the videos and the music, but Kat was Julliard trained. This might explain her use of classical music for her shreds. Kat uses both the guitar and violin to provide her shred music.

Three phrases came to mind as I began to watch Extreme Guitar Shred. They were “Wild,” “Outrageous,” and “Over the top.” I didn't quite expect such an in-your-face speed metal show that the DVD presented. The videos have titles like Torture Chamber and Castration. So you get the idea that this is not some quiet rock influenced classical music collection.

In an interview with Guitar Player magazine, The Great Kat explained some of her philosophy. She had found that nobody was really listening to classical music and decided to find a way to get it out there. But what format? She decided that heavy metal was the best way to do this. Her stage shows and videos provide a way for fans to better understand some of the best composers as she mixes “shred metal and classical music with operatic theater.”

And theater it is. One of the videos is called Castration. The Great Kat calls this a mini-shred opera. It has a geisha woman, Kat, who takes a knife and does, well you can get the idea from the title. It has a lot of blood splashing around and Kat looking very crazed and psychotic. All the while a speed metal track is being laid down. This track has classical overtones mixed with high speed guitar and violin playing.

Torture Chamber is another harsh video. This one was filmed in Black & White for a better inference. There are some really nasty simulated torture sequences in the video. It has a definite sadistic premise with blood, chains, whips and people being tied up and beaten. To sum this one up, I'd say it's a metal menace delight.

On some of the videos The Great Kat screams out some lyrics to you. Others she will just shred with either her violin or guitar and play various character roles. In the video, Dominatrix, she portrays a really gritty leather and whip woman. This is one of the videos where The Great Kat screams out the lyrics to you. She describes this video as having “slaves licking The Great Kat's boots.”

Two videos that deal with liberty and the great war machine are Zapateado and War. The first is The Great Kat's speed metal take on the great classical piece. The video shows The Great Kat in an American Flag bikini with heavy makeup and her wild blonde hair. We get to see a Continental Solider, the American Constitution and the American flag flowing around. The Great Kat calls this piece her “guitar and violin virtuosity.”

War is the other liberty and war related video. Scenes with Kat in them are interspersed with actual war film footage. This footage includes showing casualties and people like General Eisenhower strutting proudly with the troops. This one shows The Great Kat playing with a particular vengeance.

The other video is various clips from a live show The Great Kat did in Chicago , blended together.

Classical music aficionados would probably cringe at The Great Kat's approach to classical music. But the speed metal junkies get a chance to experience classical music from a whole new perspective. The Great Kat considers here work as “little by little, jamming the genius of Vivaldi and Wagner down their throats while I'm entertaining them with the blood and domination and castration.”

The DVD has a few extra things. There is a small Q & A section along with a couple of screens full of credits for the DVD. There are also selected shorts from the videos in a segment called Hot Shred Bits. You are also given information about how to find The Great Kat online.

Mixing speed metal and classical music might not seem like too good a combination, but The Great Kat makes it work. Her music and live shows have gotten rave reviews from both mainstream rock journalists as well as the outlets that specialize in heavy metal music. Extreme Guitar Shred is a definite way to get the metal heads to listen to classical music.

I applaud the fact that The Great Kat is doing something to bring classical music to a cross section of people who might not get exposed to it otherwise. Her guitar and violin playing is intense, strings sawed and plucked with a vengeance. The theatrics of the videos provide an additional way for The Great Kat to get the concepts of classical music out to the uninformed metal music fans.

To check out The Great Kat and Extreme Guitar Shred visit www.greatkat.com


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