It's a bit of a shame that virtual guitar playing in video games is getting more views on websites than actual guitar players, but it leads to more publicity to metal as a whole. Skilled practitioners deserve as many accolades as the kids who can play a full song on expert level. Praise for the real players comes on many different levels--chords work, riff creation, song styling, innovation, etc. One class of extreme player is the 'shedder'--those who can play ridiculously fast, blurring their fingers with arpeggio sweeps and scale runs that come from years of studious practice--well-known names include Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rusty Cooley, The Great Kat and Michael Angelo Batio. A common criticism of their axework, is that they don't play with any emotion; they're nothing more than robotic speedsters with the dial set to ultrafast and their playing devoid of any soul. So, what sets Katrina apart from the thousands of other guitarists out there? I think her strength is in her melodic lead work. A melody is, on a simple level, musical sounds in agreeable succession or arrangement. Instead of just stringing together a series of hyper-notes, her leads suggest various emotions. I can't say whether the titles influenced my feelings or vice versa, but they do match up well. "Scar Tissue" is bittersweet until she breaks out a pure speed break at the end. "Bellydance" brings in some Eastern theming. "Love Surrender Forgiveness" is very reflective. "K-9 Lullaby" is the only one that doesn't suggest it's own sound. The ability to make you feel beyond the cerebral level puts her 4-track disc into a special class and if she moves forward into full band work it should turn out very appealing.
Bottom Line: Katrina's work is intimidating and inspiring and well worth listening to.
Line-up: Katrina Johansson - Guitars Wolfe - Drums Mike Hoffmann - Bass, Slide Guitar, 12 String Guitar Michael Angelo Batio - Bass (K-9 Lullaby) Brad Rohrssen - Drums (K-9 Lullaby)
For more about Katrina visist www.katrinaguitar.com
About this Writer: Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.
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