Otep, the band, has never produced an album that really nailed it for me all the way through. That’s not to say I don’t respect the band, because I do, they just always needed just a little something extra to really drive home their message and be the band I always thought they could be. On their latest album, Generation Doom, they finally achieve that feat and the results are beyond imagination.
Call it a resurgence, a reboot, or a rebirth. Whatever it is, it’s working. While opener “Zero” might be considered “typical” Otep fair with vocalist Otep Shamaya alternating between savage screams and whispered bile over a chaotic barrage of guitars and “Feeding Frenzy” follows much of that same template, Generation Doom is anything but a “typical” Otep record.
That statement especially rings true once “Lords Of War” hits because once that song drops you better hope you’re strapped in as the real ride is about to begin.
“I’d rather be in battle than at peace/I’d rather be a wolf than a sheep/I’d rather be in battle than slaughtered like cattle/The weak can sleep while I scream”
Featuring the above, which is one of the most intense yet infectious Otep choruses, “Lords Of War” seethes with all the stuff that has made Otep stand out in the past infused with Pop sensibilities. And that’s not a bad thing, people.
Credit the added catchiness to producer Howard Benson (Kelly Clarkson, P.O.D.) or to a new found sense of vigor within the band but there’s no denying that while Generation Doom is one vicious motherfucker of an album it’s also a damn catchy one, too. And if you doubt me, just check out the cover of Lorde’s “Royals” which follows “Lords…”.
From there, shit gets really real.
“In Cold Blood” rumbles as Shamaya croons while “Down”, on the other hand, is metal and hip-hop at its finest hearkening back to Tarrie B’s groundbreaking days in Manhole. Hip-hop takes center stage once again on the new anti-hate anthem “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts” which fits as perfectly on GD as it would an upcoming Missy Elliott record.
Delving further, “No Color” is like nothing else Otep has accomplished musically thus far. Shamaya’s lyrical prowess and smooth vocal approach shines through on the pre-chorus before erupting into the glorious synchronicity of her voice and the sonic riffage underneath. If you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security as to what’s next then the schizophrenic cacophony of the title track is here to shock you back into reality with chants sing-a-long gang vocals and an “old school” style that brings listeners back to Sevas Tra.
Ending with the beyond epic “Beyond The Shore’, longtime listeners will be wondering what the fuck happened to their favorite band but still be thoroughly satisfied. As a whole, Generation Doom is Pop. It’s metal. It’s gorgeous. It’s Otep.
Generation Doom is out through Napalm Records on April 15th. Pre-order options are available here.