GREAT KAT, THE  Mozart, Beethoven, Bach And Shred  CD   (TPR Music)   11.99

Ah, 2021. When the floodgates of the Great Kat Deluge truly and fully blew open, washing over us with over twenty-four different releases that year. And also when my Kat addiction went full-blown. There had been an almost ten-year break since the hyper-manic virtuoso's last release, and this new Covid-era resurgence brought us an interesting new twist on the Kat Attack. I'm pretty sure that Mozart, Beethoven, Bach And Shred was the first of that year's batch, and found the Shred Goddess adopting a more tongue-in-cheek look and approach, infusing her wild instrumental madness with a silly, almost Nick Zedd-esque fetish flick aesthetic and an absurdist sense of humor that pairs with her music nicely. Like almost all of her recent releases, this is a short EP (although Kat refers to these discs as "albums") that crams a ridiculous amount of neo-classical guitar shred into a short run time (this one coming in at just over twelve minutes), and even as short as it is, it's still a total sensory overload. In true Kat fashion, it's self-described as "the most genius album The Great Kat has ever released!. It's something else, that's for sure.

I still stand by my assessment that The Great Kat is textbook "outsider metal". The Juilliard trained virtuoso violinist (real name Katherine Thomas) appears to have no time for anything else going on in the realm of "metal", and seems to exist in her own unique sui generis bubble of boisterous, hyperbolic classical-influenced blast. Adapting the compositions of Baroque and Romantic-era classics by Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart to a kind of primitive speed metal backbone; this stuff is definitely the ultimate in ADD-afflicted speedshock. These aren't merely "covers" of the original symphonic pieces; rather, The Great Kat re-imagines them as screeching, hyperspeed shredfests where the central melody sits at the core of severely distorted guitars, rapid-fire violin, and a rhythm section that powers some of the songs into an almost industrialized thrash. For instance, "Beethoven's Moonlight Mosh " is a darkly romantic translation of the score for a volley of metal-as-fuck guitar solos, dipping into screaming dissonance. But "Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro Overture" unleashes that weirdly mechanized speed metal assault while Kat goes ballistic on the guitar, layering her multitude of violin shred and biting guitar riffs over spastic, mecha-orchestral percussion that turns into a storm of blastbeats, while the original string arrangements soar overhead like a stream of ICBM missiles. It's insane. It's awesome. Likewise, "Bach's Air On The G String Mosh" marries layer upon layer of romantic melody over a grinding slo-mo doom metal backbeat. The melody of "Rimsky-Korsakov's The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee " is instantly recognizable, but this is even more berserk, with blasting drums that sound like they came off a raw black metal demo. The tempo on "Vivaldi's The Four Seasons‚ÄĚ is pure thrash metal, heavy and aggro, the drumming sounding much more organic here, while the violin and guitars trade off licks back and forth; it's also the EPs longest song, at just over two minutes. She slows the pace for "Beethoven Mosh 2" to transform it into a mid-paced chug, heavy palm-muted riffing backing the lovely central hook, which ultimately ends up sounding like some metallized 1950's pop song. And closer "Paganini's Moto Perpetuo For Guitar And Violin‚ÄĚ returns to the solo guitar / violin madness that kicked it all off, a barrage of speed-picking, whammy-bar abuse, and rapid-fire fret board runs that melts together into a frenzy of counterpoint melodies and borderline cacophony.

Completely bonkers. It's all purely instrumental, like most of her recent recordings. The production is raw and abrasive, which makes hearing these classical pieces sound even more berserk, especially when they are crammed into these ninety-second blasts of speed and shred. You either grok it or you don't - I'm terminally addicted to The Great Kat's unique classical blast-shred, and even moreso on the DVDs that she produces that incorporates insane can-can dancing routines and seizure-inducing video edits. It's unreal. Hail the Goddess Of Shred!