Wow! It's a wild ride when you review a DVD such as The Great Kat's Beethoven's Guitar Shred! And when I say wild, I mean WILD!
You won't find anything like it, that's a fact. Watching this video and following The Great Kat brings me to different topics, ranging from the video material itself, the music selection and The Great Kat's guitar playing and image.
The Great Kat has brilliantly created this aura of genius and she is not shy about it. She makes a great case study for creating a brand and promoting it. Specially in the Internet Age we live in. She has managed to build something many independent artists should look up to as an example. By this, I mean the strategies and concepts she has brought together to create The Great Kat.
But the music material in this DVD? I am a guitar player and have listened to guitar shredding for many, many years. All I can say is the guitar playing is impressive, but not unique. The world is full of amazing guitar shredders with great chops but without a unique sound (just search YouTube). Unfortunately, musically she falls under this category. However, this is The Great Kat and cannot be ignored!
The music selection? I am a fan of Beethoven myself (I aso grew up listening to his music among other classical composers). For me, it's always interesting to hear versions of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight Of The Bumble Bee, Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Paganini's Caprice #24, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3. Even if they're played at mind blogging speeds using a Jackson Flying V through a cranked up Marshall 100W JCM and presented with lots and lots of blood (or should I say specially when they're played through a cranked-up Marshall amp!).
The DVD brought me back to my teenage years when I was a hardcore fan of neo-classical guitar players such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Timo Tolkki, Randy Rhoads, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Vinnie Moore, Michael Angelo Batio, to name a few. The Great Kat's speed seems to be in that league. Well, except for the blood and guts flying everywhere...
Back to the DVD, I would have really liked to see takes lasting long enough to see her finger motion. There's only quick flashes in it, so you can't really appreciate her playing. I'd love to comment on her technique, but then I couldn't find any material online where I could fully see it, because it sure sounds like some fast shred.
The Great Kat claims to have a desire to bring classical music to the masses. To be honest, I don't see how her versions could be considered "masses-friendly". Well, except for the thousands of metal guitar shreadheads out there! Hopefully, those who listen to her will end up getting some records of the original stuff.
At a recommended retail price of $9.95, it sure is some interesting material. I wouldn't persuade you to stay away from it. But only if you have a very open mind, a strong stomach and are a hard core fan of gore, shred metal, S&M and are up for a wild ride. Remember when I say wild ride.
For more on The Great Kat, go to www.greatkat.com