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Otep - Generation Doom
Written by C.   
Friday, 20 May 2016

Otep - CD Review
Generation Doom

Otep - Generation Doom

CD Info
Genre: Nu-metal/alternative metal
Label: Napalm Records
Language: English
Tracks: 12 Total time: 55:26
Rating: 8 of 10

Otep has been on the metal scene since the early 2000s, but I must admit that I was not terribly familiar with their music before taking on the task of reviewing this album. As a native of Los Angeles, I knew they were a local band and I had obviously heard some of their more “popular” songs, but if you asked me to name of them, I would be hard-pressed to identify any. After all, there is so much music out there, and it’s impossible to keep track of everyone all the time.

So, as any good writer would do when attempting to write about a subject they know little about, I looked to Wikipedia to help bring me up to speed on what Otep was up to these days. Apparently, this latest album was never supposed to happen, as their previous album was referred to as the band’s “final album” at the time of its release. Obviously that’s a good thing for their fans that they are not hanging it up just yet!

“Zero”: From the opening scream of “I don’t…give a…FUCK!”, the album’s opening track is heavy, frenetic, and positively brutal. “You want me to disappear, but I won’t go away”; I think that lyric could be read as a statement that anyone who thought Otep was done will have to just wait a little while longer!

“Feeding Frenzy”: Reminds me a lot of Static-X (which makes sense, as the two bands once toured together); that same industrial, “evil disco” sound to it and the staccato-like vocalizations that the late Wayne Static did so well, except Otep adds a little funk and rap to it to give it that extra flair.

“Lords of War” starts out slow, with a groovy bass line and less aggressive vocals. Otep is known for political lyrics, and this appears to be one of those songs: “I’d rather be a wolf than a sheep”.

“Royals”: Sounds like it would make a good single. There’s some rapping, and the chorus is reminiscent of Marilyn Manson (which I like). Unlike most rap songs these days, Otep’s not rapping about bling and all the fancy cars she’s driving!

“In Cold Blood”: A little electronica influence here; gives it that dark, cold, gothic touch. Has almost a new-wave feel, which I really like, as I am fond of ‘80s music. So far, this stands out as the favorite track for me.

“Down”: Some Middle-Eastern elements are incorporated here, and Otep gets down on her rapping: “I’m half Mark Twain and I’m half Jesse James”, and then it kicks into a heavy chorus that sounds a lot like Korn. This is another song I would cite as a favorite.

“God is a Gun”: “God is a gun and the bullets are afraid”. This is another heavy track that gets political, and some of Otep’s vocals make me think a little of System of a Down.

“Equal Rights, Equal Lefts”: I really like that Otep uses her music to call attention to social issues, and this song might not be for the “politically correct” crowd. The music is slow but her lyrics are harsh, which makes for a great contrast. The chorus is heavy, however; it sounds like you’re in a psychotic funhouse!

“No Color”: This is another song that would make a good single; there’s a slow, heavy groove that builds up to a chorus that instantly sticks in your head. I don’t claim to know anything about Otep’s fanbase or what her audience would like at a live show, but I have been to a lot of concerts in my day and the chorus of this song just screams “sing-along moment”.

“Lie”: This is another tune with goth elements, so I put this one on my list of favorites as well. I’d say it ties with “In Cold Blood” for my favorite track on the album.

“Generation Doom”: The title track is just as you’d expect: it’s filled with screaming vocals, fast, heavy drumming, and guitar riffs that bite back! There is some chanting in the chorus that would also make for a good sing-along for fans who don’t want to brave the mosh pit (which will undoubtedly be at a frenzy during this song).

“On the Shore”: The final track is a little more “mellow” than the others, but no less intense than all the others. You get to hear more of Otep’s singing voice here; her voice reminds me a lot of Courtney Love or Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth (yes, I’m aging myself!). But Otep is around the same age as I am, so she’ll probably get the reference if she were to read this. At any rate, it’s meant to be a compliment!

Speaking of which, in the tradition of ‘90s alternative bands, it appears that there is a hidden track about 7 minutes into “On the Shore”. It’s not much more than Otep talking to some unknown person. There’s some faint music in the background, but it doesn’t appear to be much of an actual song. Whether this is part of “On the Shore” or this is some hidden bonus track, I’m not sure, but at any rate, don’t stop the album after the music stops playing, because there is extra stuff. Wait a minute, is that the sound of an old-school 56K modem in the background? Wow, talk about a ‘90s throwback!

Overall opinion: OK, so I admit, I was not familiar with Otep’s music when I was asked to review this, and I wasn’t really sure if I was the right person for the job for that very reason. What little I knew of her music didn’t appeal to me enough to look further into her music; mainly because I’m not a huge fan of harsh vocals. But, being a fan of bands like Kittie and vocalists like Alissa White-Gluz, I am not entirely turned off by a screaming vocal style, so I was definitely up for giving this a fair chance. While there is a lot of screaming vocal-wise, there is also a rap element that clearly has garnered Otep the “nu-metal” label, as that has become the go-to term to any band that incorporates rap components into their sound. Otep also has a strong rock voice, when she has a mind to use it. Musically, it sounds at first like a mad cacophony of noise, but there is melody within the madness if you look hard enough. If you’re willing to look past the loud screams and the brutal death metal-type heaviness of the first few tracks, you will be rewarded with an array of different musical sounds and styles; everything from electronica to pop to goth to Middle-Eastern to funk, and it’s all mixed in to this heavy sound topped with blunt yet insightful lyrics. I don’t know enough of Otep’s back catalog to say whether this will please her longtime fans or not, but if you are new to this particular style of music or are just testing the waters of the heavier side of femme-metal, this may be a good starting point. There is a fair share of heaviness here, but there are also large portions of melody as well. I went into this not knowing what exactly to expect, and I came out of it pleasantly surprised. Give it a try and you might find a few surprises there yourself.

 Otep

For more information on Otep, visit their website

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