It appears that The Great Kat – named one of the “Top 10 Fastest Shredders of All Time” by Guitar One Magazine – has a new album out, and we should all rejoice, right? Sure, if you really want to spend a mere seven minutes of your life trying to comprehend how insanely fast this woman performs classical numbers on her guitar. This isn’t just merely playing guitar at a normal rate and then speeding up the track to sound fast. She literally shreds apart her guitar playing “The Flight of the Bumblebee” at a speed gun shattering 300 beats per minute, resulting in a song that lasts forty-two seconds long. It’s somewhat interesting for its runtime, but therein lies a question. Admittedly, the question is not about her talent, which is absolutely daring and perhaps untouchable in the rock community. Rather, the question lies in whether or not any of it is worth it.
Beethoven Shreds is a loud, roaring, and an abruptly short showcase of music that’s probably better off being listened to and seen performed at a guitar shredding competition than it is here spinning in a CD player. The songs – five of which are classical compositions from Beethoven, Bach and Paganini – are oftentimes so fast that you either have to laugh at its absurdity or cry because you know that these songs have seen better times. Certainly taking a classical piece and covering it is one thing, but when you can’t even recognize the song beyond it’s intended structure then you’ve got yourself caught in a bind. The fact that she plays loud and proud also reveals fault in her interpretations of these pieces, which are much more epic in scale than she makes it out to be.
Instead of allowing the time that these songs deserve, she intends on making them the fastest songs possible, as if it’s some sort of challenge. She does include two of her own original compositions which last (oh my!) over one minute, but even those are more exercises to show off her street cred. Whether or not you find that cocky is up to you, but it still doesn’t impress. The tracks might be more enjoyable actually seeing them performed in a crowd where we could see the intensity of her skill, but the lack thereof on “Beethoven Shreds” gives the CD no lasting appeal whatsoever. If you’re purely looking to find fast shredders, you might be better off searching YouTube and locating videos of performers playing similar classical masterpieces in the same vein at just about the same speed. If not, you’re better off leaving “Beethoven Shreds” and The Great Kat to a Battle of the Bands competition.