- The Metal Minute Blog's Review of "Beethoven On Speed" CD
In my interviewing career I've been told some strange, crazy and over-the-top things, many
of them uttered from the grimy mouth of Gwar's Oderus Urungus. Still, no one tops The
Great Kat, who randomly offered to sodomize me with a high heel stiletto in the middle of
our interview. That would be The Great Kat we all know and love, as proficient with her
insults, cursing and attention-seizing megalomania trips as she is on the guitar and
When The Great Kat first appeared in 1987 with her brash debut Worship Me Or Die, this six
string roguette possessed the fuck-you wherewithal of Wendy O. Williams combined with the
Bach and Beethoven-kissed talent to back up her taunting and scene parody self adoration.
On Worship Me Or Die, Kat proved a lady could shred your ears and brains apart with her
neoclassical fret flogging as much as any dude, which was good, considering the lyrical
quality of that album was far below the forthright exhibitionism of Kat's guitar playing.
"Kill the Mothers" comes to mind for its brain-dead nihilism, which was probably
the motivation behind it all, because no sooner do you tell Kat to make her point and move
on, she drives the point with dizzying aplomb.
In 1990 The Great Kat took another shot at winning over the metal masses with the far
superior Beethoven On Speed, but unfortunately, few people were listening. Sure, a lot of
it had to do with her nutty male-mocking "The Great Kat is God" proclamations,
but the bigger factor as to why Beethoven On Speed sped away just as fast as The Great Kat
wielded it was due to changing music tastes in North America. The continent was turning
its backs to established leaguers such as George Lynch, Bruce Kulick and Rudy Schenker,
much less The Great Kat. Only Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Dimebag Darrell, Dave Mustaine,
Marty Friedman and Kirk Hammett were still left on the praise pile, while the majority of
axe heroes and heroines were left to spit out the dust of anonymity that grunge forced
them all to devour.
Now comes a second chance to listen to Beethoven On Speed, an album that's still as
underground as it's going to get because the unashamed velocity that The Great Kat
expunges on this album is assuredly not for all tastes. At times she's so goddamned fast
she's blowing her studio band into oblivion. What's interesting now that metal has evolved
in so many directions these days is that Beethoven On Speed can actually--God forbid--be
looked upon as a paving stone, primarily in the avenues of grind metal and tech metal
that's quickly becoming the rage. Dare one say it, but before Dillinger Escape Plan, there
was The Great Kat. Before Between the Buried and Me there was The Great Kat. Before
Behold...The Arctopus there was... a lot of other musicians in addition to The Great Kat.
Astonishingly, though, for all the contributions Napalm Death gave to speed and grind
metal, so too did The Great Kat. It just wasn't as obvious.
In about 35 minutes, Beethoven On Speed jettisons like a chamber concert of the whacked
and one can tell that The Great Kat was tolling a personal revenge upon her alma mater
Juliard as former pupil Kathryn Thomas. The way she rips out portions of Beethoven's 5th,
the 2nd offering as "Beethoven's Mosh," is pretty impressive, as is
"Paganini's 24th Caprice" and Kat dishes out perhaps the fastest version of
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" we've ever heard, no
disrespect to Manowar's Joey DeMaio.
Too bad The Great Kat didn't take on Beethoven's 9th on this album, though by now it's as
much of a metal cliche as opening your set with a tape of Orff's "Carmina
Burana." What she does spew out is absolutely bonkers, songs like "Revenge
Mongrel," "Funeral March," "Kat Abuse" and the manic "Guitar
Concerto in Blood Minor." The grandest track on the album is "Sex &
Violins," where The Great Kat actually displays a sensual side by flickering out a
gorgeous violin solo acoustically before ripping the snot out of the electric violin
section with screeching sadomasochism, personifying her muse with sensational duality.
As The Great Kat is still trying to drive listeners to their knees before a purported
altar of sovereignty, by now we can recognize it as a silly ruse that is more a spit in
the eye of every cock-strutting male virtuoso of the eighties that demanded to be crowned
indisputed lord of the frets. The Great Kat is a cariacature of all of this sperm flinging
and guitar slinging and the true punchline is that she can outshred the majority of them.
Still, I'm going to pass on having my ass cleaned out with a high heel shoe; there's
certain boundaries even my sick and twisted mind won't cross...
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