Forgottem Gems: Kat-Metal and Hell
The band Kat (which is Polish for "executioner") was formed in 1979 in Katowice, Poland. "Metal and Hell" (which does sound like something s teenage metal-head would yell "METAL AND HELL!') is the English language version of the band's "666" album. In case you are wondering yes, the band was attacked by their native media for being "satanic" and yes, that most likely just made them all the more popular in Poland. In fact the band is huge in their homeland. Arguably Kat (who have reportedly sold more than million albums) is the best heavy metal band to have ever come out of Poland. They have toured with some noticeable names (Metallica, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Overkill, Running Wild, Hanoi Rocks, etc. just to name a few) and as of 2005 (the year in which they released "Mind Cannibals") were still releasing studio-albums. "Metal and Hell" was the album that started the party and is the first, and sadly only album so far, release I had the pleasure of "experiencing". In fact, if some kid was to ask me "Andy, what is heavy metal?", I would be tempted to start a discussion with this very release. This is HEAVY METAL. Not so much straight-up heavy metal, but it is HEAVY and, by the name of all things that are metal, it is down-right METAL! There is a reason this band has toured with the likes of Metallica and Iron Maiden and that is because these guys have a sound that is universally heavy (like early Metallica) and sort of spooky (like Iron Maiden's "The Number Of The Beast" album). On this album Kat played vintage thrash (early Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, Overkill and Testament) mixed in with doom (a little Black Sabbath never hurt anyone!), classic metal (Iron Maiden), some German power/thrash (everything from Helloween to Sodom) and a splash of black metal (early Venom) in order to create an album that feels like your getting punched in the face sonically! The production is a bit raw (which actually works towards the albums advantage) and the album is both crusty and crunchy. The songs whip past you like blood-crazed demons and the whole album feels dark and dreary. And yet it is an album you want to listen to over and over again...or at least I do! In a way it reminds me of the first time I listened to Venom's "Welcome To Hell" in that it has that same sort of evil pull to it. Only difference is Kat can play real heavy/thrash/speed metal and don't sound so cheesy. Unfortunately this one is an import so expect to spend some $$$ or hope that you just get lucky like I did (I got it as apart of a trade with a friend as he had two copies of the album somehow!). It is worth it though as this is the sound of metal mayhem and pure speed/thrash.