Bart M. : Otep is an American band that will come up with their eight studio album this month. This remarkable quartet under the supervision of frontwoman Otep Shamaya has been busy since the year 2000 and once again brings us a tasty combination of nu metal and rapcore, sprinkled with a layer of politics. Wait, did I say sprinkled with? Of course, what I meant is I think it is safe to say that these songs are all drenched in the political statements that have sprung up in Shamaya's mind. This woman speaks out openly and Otep is clearly her vehicle to vent every kind of frustration imaginable.
I cannot help but think that what Otep is trying to do with this album, is get people on their side, and they are playing this out quite smartly: using the current, tumultuous political climate to shout things that most of us will agree with but nobody really thinks is worth getting worked up about. In a verbally very aggressive way certain people and groups are being affronted and this makes Shamaya just as bad as the people she wishes death and damnation to. Fighting hate with more hate in a way that tells us: if you're not in favor of us you are clearly opposed to us. And that is a huge turn-off, because there are a lot of people who have grown beyond that and are actually thinking outside of the left-versus-right spectrum. The lyrics are quite negative in a deconstructive way and the vocabulary used is of a very immature level. It's like listening to someone who is on her first period and somehow feels a need for drama and let the entire world know about it.
All of that does not compare in the least to the music on this album: musically this band is on a really high level and can compete easily with the big names of the genre. I think what they do here even transcends the music of, for instance, Korn and Coal Chamber - and yours sincerely happens to be a fan of the latter. Sometimes rough and fast, other times quieter and more relaxed, but there is a constant barrage of nifty guitar parts, intense drums and delicious bass lines. The vocals do not really connect with this. There are times that Shamaya uses her voice very effectively, like the groaning, vengeful sounds on 'Trigger Warning' or the death grunts that she is so well known for, but on the whole she provides the music with quite unpleasant vocals. One song I like very much is 'Be Brave', because this is a ballad in minor on which the singer shows without any superfluity that she does have quite a lot of potential.
So, in conclusion, musically this album is very much worth listening to, and if you manage to see beyond the sense of misplaced political correctness that is so evident on this record, or if you are perhaps part of the small niche this is catering to, then it is well worth investing your time in. To me though, this really ruins the experience.