In the fall of 2000 the band OTEP was formed by front lady Otep Shamaya. The band was invited to play Ozzfest even
before being signed by a label. In 2001 the band released their first album Jihad.
Their second release came in 2004 and peaked at 93 on the charts. After 3 years of touring the band signed to Koch Records
and released their 3rd album, The Ascension. In 2009 the band signed
with another label (Victory) and released their next album. Smash the Control Machine
peaked at 47 on the charts and was followed by the “Shock & Raw” tour. In 2010 their bassist left the band.
2011 seen their 5th studio album, Atavist. They are now back with what
is stated as the band’s final album. Hydra features 13 tracks and gets going
with “Rising” which is a little intro that includes a voiceover and heavy tunes. It would be a perfect way to
get a show started. “Blowtorch Nightlight” is the next track that comes up. It features a wide variety of vocals
and a sadistic musical pallet. The track will give you chills up and down your spin while you enjoy every last word. Vocally
the track offers up screams, low growls, and then a pleasant soft voice. Musically the track is great. It has solid transitions
and the different types of vibes that it gives off will have you on the edge of your seat. There is so much in this track
to enjoy. The track almost sounds like it changes to a new song in the middle which catches you off guard even after a few
listens. “Seduce & Destroy” is a slow and deliberate track that sucks you in for the explosion of vocals that
erupt out of nowhere. The track holds you captive, not letting you get away. The dark sound screams horror movie backdrop.
“Crush” stays on the same path. This slower tune is laced with high powered vocals and thick bass lines, but the
pace is still slow. They start to get to the more metal side of things, but still refrain from going too crazy just yet. The
backing vocals rip through while the lead vocals take the spotlight. This track will get the huge fan’s hearts racing.
“Hematopia” is just a simple tune that features some background music sweeping along with the voice of OTEP reading
some lines. There is really nothing to this number. “Necromantic” continues on that path before it erupts in the
middle of the tune. The blast doesn’t last long though, before they get back to the softer side of things. It leads
us right into “Quarantine” which sounds more like a play with loads of theatrical sounds than anything. The track
really doesn’t go anywhere. “Voyer” is a very strange track with lyrics that many people won’t like.
They are very graphic; however they do tell a story. It again is just lines begins read. “Apex Predator” has a
cool beat to it. This one might be the best thus far. There is actually some singing involved while the music glides along.
The vocals roll through the lyrics and extra sounds are solid. You can really get into this one. “Feral Game”
offers up some more actual singing. This gives you some fast paced fighting action with huge drums and sweet guitars, but
then they slow everything down again with a low vocal set and even lower music. The track goes back and forth a few times
like that. It’s not a bad track and the hard parts will provide a great moshing opportunity. “Livestock”
is another tune that just speaks in the wind and glides by. “Hag” actually has some more singing involved. They
toss some effects on the vocals and they sound pretty kickass. The music is heavy and hard. The guitars rip through while
the drums lay down the law at a fast pace. “Theophagy” wraps up the album with another low voiced reading session.
It really doesn’t have any beat or vibe to it. It feels more like a poetry reading at the local goth coffee shop. Overall
this album is half and half; meaning half singing and have reading. That is my opinion. I was a little disappointed with this
last effort from OTEP. I don't think half the stuff is worth to have the name attached to it. It seems like they were trying
to create a horror play with the album, but just came up short. The songs were poetry readings at best. There were a couple
things that I didn’t enjoy, but some of the tracks sound killer. When they actually did their thing and rocked, the
album sounded good. They offered up some nice vibes and beats while others barely had anything going at all. This was to say
the least, a disappointment. More singing would have improved this album tenfold.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Tracks to Watch:
Blowtorch Nightlight and Apex Predator
Seduce & Destroy
Website (s): www.facebook.com/otep