"Generation Doom" (Napalm Records; 2016)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is the seventh disc from Otep, the first with their new label, Napalm Records. I got my taste of Otep with "Sevas Tra" (2002) and really dug their sound. It was fresh but not like a summer breeze; it had a new sound which gave it that Nu-Metal moniker but it was the front woman who was really the show. Otep is still screaming and rapping her metal right up in your grill. She's aggressive, she holds nothing back and in this time of feminism and social justice warriors, you can see Otep with a flamethrower instead of a puny sign demanding equality.

The heavy tracks are full of chaos and disjointed Otep. She's all over the map with her emotions. She laughs with a sinister evil, she screams out her frustrations and even though she's got enough wind power to blow you away, she's also got a soft side when reaching down for an emotion that uncovers the empathy of children and their innocence against the plight of this world. The track "On The Shore" is where she ventures into pop territory but not too far. "Lie," is a calm side of Otep; she doesn't always scream to get her point across.

I especially like all the sounds within the music - there's police radio, shotgun sounds, rifles being cocked. You get the whole lyrical, physical and emotional experience when you listen to an Otep recording. Otep even covers the pop hit, "Royals," (originally by Lorde). I liked the original because it was crisp, Otep makes it crispy.

Otep: Otep "Trouble" Shamaya - vocals & mouthpiece; Aristotelis "Steampunk Spartan" Mihalopoulds - guitar; Justin "Handz" Kier - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

"Generation Doom" (Napalm Records; 2016)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I have been an Otep fan since 2002 and, as you can see from that early review ("Sevas Tra") and the others, I have become a big fan. Let me back up a little here: When I reviewed "Hydra" in 2013, vocalist Otep Shamaya stated that she was going to retire from the music business, much to my chagrin. Now, in 2016, Otep has released yet another recording and everything in my musical universe is good.

I pre-ordered "Generation Doom" on iTunes and I was given the option of listening to two tracks before the release, but I decided to wait and experience the entire thing. I am glad I did. Right from the start of the album, I knew I was back in an Otep frame of mind and anyone who has experienced this group knows what I am talking about.

Shamaya is a loud and in-your-face metal singer with no musical inhibitions whatsoever and I was winded and sweaty by the time the recording finished. Shamaya is not afraid to scream, yell and/or rap it to right into your face. Take this line from one of my favorite songs on this recording, "Equal Rights, Equal Lefts": "He called me a dyke and I called him an ambulance." How great is that?

"Generation Doom" has got to be not only one of of the best recordings I've heard so far this year, but it might be one of the best put together recordings I have heard in some time. No shit! This is one outstanding recording. No filler here, nothing but outstanding rock'n'roll heavy metal. You know as you listen that you're hearing something special.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

"Hydra" (Victory; 2013)

Reviewed by Snidermann

This is a bittersweet pill I am about to ingest and I write this with a heavy heart: One of my favorite metal acts is calling it quits. I have received the final chapter of the great metal act known as Otep, a recording called "Hydra."

Otep has supplied me with musical diversion for a decade. One side of me is sorry to see such a prolific performer leave my music of choice, but the other side of me is thrilled about reviewing such an exciting project such as "Hydra."

I think a little background is necessary about the dance between myself the supremely talented Otep Shamaya. I first reviewed "Sevas Tra" in 2002 and that was when I knew I was listening to something special. Not only was she a world class musician, but the story her music tells is truly exceptional. By all means, go to YouTube and listen and watch what is band/person is all about. Since that time, Otep has kept me entertained, provoked my thoughts and given me musical sustenance. Now, "Hydra" is Otep’s self-proclaimed magnum opus and it is all she has said it would be.

"Hydra" starts slow with Otep setting up what is going on and it just builds from there. This is a concept album about a graphic novel Otep is writing. The music is darker than any previous Otep release. Otep becomes each character in this twisted epic with eerie abandon. The basic storyline I get from the recording is that a female, possibly a young girl, is trapped or held hostage. She is lured away with something she desires. Next comes the Aggressor, someone who desires her from afar. The antithesis of the recording comes from a song called "Apex Predator" and I tell you, if you listen to this cut, you will be singing the hook for quite some time.

Each track on this album is a different aspect or character of the release. "Hydra" is a high-powered metal release and any fan of Otep should run out and get this album the moment it is available in your area.

 If you want to see more about what this metal singer, artist, poet, scribe, bard of songs both light and dark, person of the people and purveyor of everything good and bad in people, check out http://facebook.com/otepsaves. She uses social media better than anyone I have ever seen and Otep inspires me to be a better writer. I can think of no higher praise than that.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

"Smash the Control Machine" (Victory; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

We here at Rough Edge truly believe in the mantra "Long Live Rock N Roll." And we've never believed that more than when listening to Otep's latest release, "Smash The Control Machine."

"Smash the Control Machine" has all the usual Otep signature sounds, along with a shit load of attitude and killer songs. This band's music just keeps getting better and better and, to keep the progression alive, "Smash The Control Machines" may be Otep's best release to date.

With loads of social commentary (without being preachy), brutal wit and an explosive sound, Otep's new album is a shining example of what a metal band needs to be in the first decade of this century and beyond. Music that is meaningful, without being presumptuous, and a sound that just keeps getting better with age.

Otep Shamaya is not only an outstanding metal singer, she is also beautiful to boot. She holds (along with Floor Jenson of After Forever, Karyn Crisis and Cristine Scabbis from Lacuna Coil), the banner that early previous metal acts like Lita Ford, The Great Kat and Joan Jett started in the 70s. Thankfully, female metal singers are a strong presence in today's music and the band Otep is right up there in the forefront, singing loud and proud.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

"Sevas Tra" (Capitol Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

“Sevas Tra” inverted is “art saves.” Although the name of this album is spelled backwards, the music is very forward, as in right up in your grill. Vocalist Otep Shamaya quickly dissolves any myth that a woman can’t front a metal band.

Otep is distinctive in their sound and Shamaya's vocal delivery. She has so many voices and attitudes that she uses, one might say there is a type of Sybil emerging with each track. It’s quite haunting and even frightening, which is a major element in Black and Goth metal. The thing that makes Otep really stand out is the female front. Twenty years ago, all the hot girls were in the crowd; now a few are commanding the stage.

There is a nihilistic standard to the lyrics here. A vicious wave could easily sweep over a crowd witnessing Otep’s brand of music. Otep could also appeal to a variety of music connoisseurs: Goth gets a few parts to soak in, metal has more than its share to keep the teeth gnashed, even hip-hop might find something. If “Death-Rap” ever decides to muscle its way into music, Otep would be the fist that punches its way through.

I don’t play this CD often because I don’t want to conjure up any more dark images than necessary, but Otep can surely purge any demon within. Imagine yourself in a dim room with a single light bulb swinging back and forth. Enter Otep and let the sinisterness begin. 

Otep: Otep Shamaya – vocals; eViL J – bass; Moke – drums; Bob on guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

"Sevas Tra" (Capitol Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Just as it's designed to do, Ozzfest guides me to bands that I may not have heard of but that I probably should. Otep is one of those bands.

"Sevas Tra" is simply brilliant. I was totally captivated by the CD's raw aggression from the very first track. I gotta admit - I didn't know that the lead vocalist was a female; all I knew was she rocked and I liked her voice. Otep Shamaya not only has the best female metal voice around, she's got one of the best metal voices period. What really impressed me about Otep's singing style was her wide range of emotions - one minute sounding very much like a lost child and the very next screaming out skull-splitting heavy metal vocals. 

Otep, the band, delivers a dark and very twisted aural performance that leaves the listener breathless. Otep has everything it takes to be an outstanding metal band: good writing, excellent musicianship, an awesome singer and last but not least, a killer fucking attitude. Now I know why the Osbournes wanted Otep in Ozzfest. Once you hear "Sevas Tra" you’ll know too.

This enhanced CD also contains videos, artwork and band interviews.

Otep: Otep Shamaya - vocals; eViL j - bass; Moke - drums; Bob on guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.otep.com or http://www.myspace.com/otep

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2016 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 16 Oct 2016 14:38:39 -0400 .