"Wagner's War" CD Review in Metal Coven Webzine
By Britton Dicks, Jr., Metal Coven Webzine
The Great Kat
Wagner's War
[Self Released]

The Great Kat, whatever you do, don't piss her off! Back in the '80's, the guys lusted after her no matter how much blood was splattered on her body. No matter how much she contorted her face into a soul reaping sneer, guys still lusted after her. Yeah, she definitely had a nice figure and hair as long as she was tall. There sure were a lot of nice things to look at when The Great Kat came to the stage, but there was one other thing. One thing some people neglected to comment on when seeing the spectacle of The Great Kat-This girl knows how to play!

I got one album of The Great Kat back in the late 80's called "Bloody Vivaldi", and loved it. I was never much into classical music, but the way The Great Kat mixed classical music with speed metal just hit a note for me. I've never thought of it, but it may have very well been that The Great Kat was one of the first people/bands to instill within me a love for folk metal. Kat's music isn't folk metal at all, but she does incorporate violins and classical music into her music in large quantities, so it may have been an evolutionary band for me personally in terms of metal mixed with traditional instruments. Anyway, I'll tell you right now... To hell with Yngwie Malmsteen, to hell with Steve Vai and all the others that make love to their guitars. None of them can touch The Great Kat, nor can they even come close. Some people have said about The Great Kat "Sure, she can play fast, but that doesn't mean she plays well". Bullshit. She made the crossover from classical music to speed metal after she was given a scholarship to the infamous Jullliard School Of Music in New York City. She didn't get this scholarship for nothing, she got it because she is talented as hell. Not only can she rip on the guitar (she came in #10 in Guitar One magazine's Top Ten Shredder's Of All Time list), she can also slay on the violin.

As always with The Great Kat, most of the songs on her newest album "Wagner's War" are either speed metal renditions of classical masterpieces, or her own songs that also resemble classical pieces. "Ride Of The Valkyries" should be familiar to anyone, and although the name of "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" didn't ring a bell, I knew it when I heard it. These songs sound so damn good mixed with metal that it's hard to explain. One thing I noticed about "Wagner's War" is there seems to be a lot of hate projected outwards. That's nothing new for The Great Kat, but she seems more pissed off than ever now. One thing I read in the promo info she sent me with the CD was that this album was inspired by the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. The album is set up in three acts: "War", "Revenge" and finally "Victory". At one point in the song "War", Kat screams out in regards to the terrorists "Murder the mothers! Slaughter the bastards! KILL!!! KILL!!!". She's kind of saying what a lot of Americans are thinking, I guess. The music and vocals are so fast, intense and insane, I'd be hard pressed to even find a black metal band that can keep up with the speed of The Great Kat. It's just so blazing fast that you wonder how someone can play like that without spontaneously combusting. Since the music on "Wagner's War" is mostly about the music itself, there are little vocals, but what vocals are there are shrieked like a wild banshee. Just like the music, the vocals are just as over the top as you can get.

The production of the album is very commendable, especially since this is a self released CD. All the violins and ambient effects some through clean, and the classical string instruments are just at the right levels they should be without drowning out the metal aspect of the bands sound or vice-versa.

They layout and packaging of the album makes my American heart beat proud and strong! The cover shows Kat leading three soldiers into war with a grenade in one hand and a rifle in the other while the American flag stands in the background. The inside of the booklet contains all of the lyrics as well as more photos of the scantily clad virtuoso we've all come to love, and fear in some cases. There's also a list of instruments played and simulated in the credit sections and it's quite impressive listing at that with over 20 instruments and opera singers credited. The back of the CD jewel case where the tracklisting is has a pic of Kat in front of the American flag saluting you with some military garb on. She seems very patriotic. She was born in Hungary and moved here as a young girl, yet she seems more patriotic than people that were born here in the US. I guess that goes to show how we can take things for granted, eh?

This album was a blast to my 80's metal lovin' past! I'm glad to see The Great Kat going strong in this new decade of watered down and politically correct "music". I highly recommend this album to any of Kat's older fans, or anyone into speed metal or classical music. If you have never experienced The Great Kat's music, you are truly missing out on one of the best concepts to ever enter the metal world. The only downside I can see of the album is that it's amazingly short at just over eleven minutes. I don't really know if they consider this a full CD or a MCD or what, but I gotta tell you... there's probably more notes played on this eleven minute album than on most other forty minute albums. Also, if you have a hard time finding it, you may have to order it through her site since it's a self released effort and is a bit obscure.

Reviewed - 08/15/04

The Great Kat's "Wagner's War" CD Review

01. Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries
02. War
03. Terror
04. Punishment
05. Humiliation
06. Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2
07. Sarasate's Zapateado
Rating: 8.5/10  
Release Date: 2003  
Length: 11:08  
Review By: Britton  
Total Reviews: (1)  
Bands Website: Go Here  

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