Platinum-haired metal goddess, Kathie Jarra, has gone solo with the release of BLEED under the band name Stygmata. Although this is her first solo album, some of you will recognize her name from the defunct band Jarra. In a nutshell, the style of metal on BLEED is straight up heavy metal. Some elements of power and thrash metal creep in at times, but overall this is classic heavy metal.
Kathie plays rhythm guitars, sings lead vocals, and writes the material. Some compare her to Doro Pesch, and I can hear why (ie. The intro vocals on “Haunted”) even though it’s not the same. Perhaps the best reason for the comparison is for lack of any other female vocalist with a similar style. Her vocals are at times very strong and impressive and but in some places goes a little sour or whiny…nothing overly bad, just something that could use a slight polishing.
“Holy Lies” is a faster track with some modern Priest-like riffage. The build up at the beginning of “Sea of Red” is great and the vocals that come in after about 1+min in have a unique vocal melody, almost middle eastern in feel/ phrasing. The beginning of “Haunted” with its clean guitar and melancholy vocals is, dare I say it…touching. I also enjoyed the “head bounce-along-ness” of “Kill the Rainbow”. As the name suggests, “Hate”, is one of the more angry songs. As well, it has a nice ripping solo, perhaps the best on the CD. The closing track, rounds out the bleed/blood theme with the very fitting cover of Slayer’s “Spill the Blood”. I think Kathie did a great job in selecting this one because for one it’s not the typical choice (she could of went with a standard like “Raining Blood”) and “Spill The Blood” is more fitting to the musical style on BLEED. Her haunting vocal style suits the vocal melodies making you almost think this is the way it was meant to be sung!
Although I enjoyed this CD, a couple of minor changes could turn good into great. For example, more polished vocals and a full band (not session musicians) behind this would go a long way to improving the band. The other thing is the slower or more repetitive parts of songs like “Bleed”, “By Myself”, and “Crawl” have got to go….just my personal taste perhaps. All in all, this is great foray in to the solo world for Kathie Jarra!
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