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Bastardization of the 90’s Musical Environment - 89%

bayern, October 28th, 2017

Kat, alongside Turbo, were the pioneers of the heavy metal scene in Poland, and in a way similar to the other band they were jumping from one trend to another, trying everything along the way, from classic heavy to post-thrash and vice versa. The early-90’s found them a bit behind their main rivals, and other visionary Polish acts (Dragon, Wold Spider, Astharoth) as they took a longer break trying to grasp the new situation more fully. The field was basically offering them two options: either to move up the technical/progressive scale if they had the requisite skills for it, or to surrender to the up-and-coming aggro/groovy/post-thrashy vogues…

The latter were always going to be an alternative later so why not pull themselves together and show the others how some nicely constructed progressive thrash could be performed? And this is exactly what occurred on the album reviewed here, one of the highlights of the Polish metal scene and the band’s finest hour by a long shot. If the band had taken this lengthy respite in order to see what meisterwerks the field would offer during this time, then they had done the right thing as this opus is reminiscent of two efforts from the year before, Heathen’s “Victims of Deception” and Dark Angel’s “Time Does Not Heal”. Shades of Metallica’s last two before The Black Album are also tangible at times; in other words, some of the finest US thrash of recent years has landed on Polish soil.

The album-title is misleading as there’s no singing in English anywhere, all the seven “bastards” presented here are performed in the guys’ mother tongue “W Bezksztaltnej Bryle Uwieziony” thrashing the neighbourhood in a brisk energetic manner in the best tradition of the mentioned Heathen opus, with calmer choppy breaks provided regularly the singer falling behind the virtuous music with his limited semi-clean baritone, adhering to muffled semi-recitals at times. “Zawieszony Sznur” switches to more hectic, less predictable time and tempo changes although the pace remains within the mid-parametres for more than half the time with gorgeous melodies served all over along with a surreal subdued chorus. The title-track returns to the headbanging execution the resultant rifforama “wading” through a couple of pounding, ship-sinking sections and dashes of nice screamy leads; and “Ojcze Samotni” is a weirder accumulation of moods and tempo-shifts with the leads making more regular appearances to a melodic, lyrical effect.

More leads amply provided on the short instrumental piece “N.D.C.” before “Piwniczne Widziadla” complicates the environment with a wide array of intriguing time-signatures and great technical decisions which form a surreal symbiosis with the excellent leads for the umpteenth time, and the frequent speedy “excursions”. “W Sadzie Smiertalnego…” is the next in line stylish shredder which even tries to bend it the Deathrow way on “Deception Ignored” with smattering riff-knots, not to mention the several psychedelic passages creating nearly otherworldly atmosphere, and the several minimalistic creepy strokes. “Odmiency” pours more eccentricity into the proceedings with jarring overlapping rhythms which try to keep the headbanging going without losing their less ordinary character; the balladic lead-driven respite is another unorthodox decision that puts an end to the faster-paced ways of execution surrendering the song to more atmospheric undercurrents. “Lza Dla Cieniow Minionych” is a cool heavy ballad, a somewhat downbeat epitaph to this interesting offering, losing a few points from the not very expressive again, dispassionate vocal delivery.

The veterans had to respond to the more demanding musical horizon, which was especially heightened in their homeland, and to get these complex soundscapes out of their system. They couldn’t quite touch the best from that crop (Astharoth's "Gloomy Experiments", Acrimony’s “Into the Unknown”, Turbo’s “Epidemic”, Wold Spider’s “Kingdom of Paranoia, Dragon’s Scream of Death”), but I guess they just wanted to show to their fans that they weren’t strangers to progression, and in a way akin to Turbo they never followed up with another outside-the-box recording.

However, if Turbo stayed within the thrash metal confines for two more capable instalments, out friends here opted for moody atmospheric rock/metal with a strong balladic flair on the aptly-titled follow-up a year later, trying to emulate the Scorpions lofty examples in the style, and succeeding to produce a few pretty good pieces, as a matter of fact. However, groove interfered on the next showing, and with the still present balladic flavour and a couple of more aggressive old school thrashy stokes, the final blend wasn’t too striking. The post-thrash formula started dominating more and more on subsequent releases, including on those from the new millennium. The old dogs… sorry, cats don’t feel too nostalgic for their roots; at least not until the obligatory “bastardization” process of the new millennium’s musical environment has been complete.

Masterpiece - 100%

demental69, September 23rd, 2005

What can I write about true masterpiece and the best Polish album ever recorded? I think that a lot, but everything I write is too little.

KAT had started with heavy/hard rock then turned into black/thrash/speed beast quite similar to early Venom (great "Metal And Hell"/"666"). The next step in their career was briliant Metallica-influenced "Oddech Wymar³ych Œwiatów" - probably their most well-known record.

And then... Then heavens stepped asunder bringing down to the world divine "Bastard". First of all they've changed style into... hmm... imagine perfect combination of elements taken from thrash, death, black and even jazz and punk. Strange? Disorder? No way! In this music prevails brutal, melodic and (awesome) technical thrash metal. You won't find anything similar to It in creation of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Annihilator, Overkill, Kreator and others... KAT made something beyond thrash music.

Feast for your ears begins with 'W Bezkszta³tnej Bryle Uwiêziony'. Strong structure compounded of heavy drumming, complicated riffs and rough vocals. Next one, 'Zawieszony Sznur', is in my opinion the best song KAT has ever made - beautiful melodies, great bass-playing, dissonance in chorus and twisted solo. And so forth... Every smallest piece of "Bastard" is worthy of note and should be examined for a long time. Potential of band members is fully stretched on these masterpiece. Pay attention to 'N.D.C.' and '£za Dla Cieniów Minionych'. The first one is over two minutes long instrumental brilliant, explosion of technical skills and sense of melody. The second is slow and melancholy ballad. Forget shit like 'Nothing Else Matters'! This one is really heavy!

Word about voice of KAT. Roman Kostrzewski did great job making various, strong and original vocals. He also wrote an interesting lyrics (only for Polish-readers, ha!) about life and its shades.

There is also magnificen cover art with frightened angel and devilish-lady... You must see it on your own eyes!

49 minutes and 52 seconds of true perfection! Seek for "Bastard" and listen to It till death!