There have been few furnaces in word, sound, and defiance as potent and irresistible to our ears over the past decade than Otep Shamaya and her band Otep. Across six albums she and co have crafted and crafted provocation, incitement, and incendiary metal invention like an artist with a palette of unquenchable suggestiveness. Now to ensure and show that the fires of art, imagination, and discontent burn as imposingly bright as ever, her band uncage Generation Doom. The seventh album from the LA hailing protagonists of noise and thought, body and spirit, is an inescapable predator within a kaleidoscope of metal fury woven from nu and industrial through to groove and poetic alchemy.
In the world we live today and the breed of bigotry and injustices that comes with it, there is an endless supply of fuel to the lyrical ire and challenges that escapes Otep Shamaya’s mind and pen. Fair to say though, that every inventive twist and emotional flame shaping Generation Doom has arguably the band’s fiercest venom and greatest animosity yet, but intimidation and rage aligning with some of the band’s most imaginative ideas and exploits. Certainly the album has everything you expect from an Otep proposition, a rare time when expectations are wonderfully fed to no displeasure, but every track, each moment of adventure, comes with new ingenuity and fearsomely imaginative craft to drool over. You do not have to know who created Generation Doom, ears can tell within the opening minutes. Otep is perpetually a proposition and artist out on their own which with their new album has unleashed a fresh pinnacle in their inspirational presence within music.
Generation Doom opens up its virulent warfare with Zero; global and intimate apathy as much in its sights as the ears and imagination of the listener. Within its first few breaths, the song is an uncompromising assault of barbarous rhythms and rapacious riffs ridden by the distinctive vocal presence and prowess of Shamaya. Grooves are soon dancing and flirting with tenacious enterprise alongside; throaty harmonics in turn regaling the air as her ever diverse and gripping tones spring vocal and lyrical traps as easy to get caught by as the maze of unpredictable sound igniting the senses.
The track is the sign of things to come, of the unexpected and ferociously striking explorations that infest release and appetite as in Feeding Frenzy. The second track is almost bull like in its initial steely pawing of the ground before prowling and grinding its punk metal hued rock ‘n’ roll into the greedily welcoming psyche. As the first, the track is swift addiction feeding an already Otep seeded appetite whilst weaving a voracious tapestry of diversely baited textures and confrontational trespasses that devour as a whole new creative scourge. The track is superb, an irresistible intrusion which drops out for one of the cinematic/ emotively visceral samples/pieces that Otep are and have been so great at conjuring over the years.
Lords Of War follows with its haunting voice and descriptively evocative mystique. The sounds of invasive force and subjugation litter the disturbed ambience of the track, its portentous inevitability exploding in a tirade of riffs and merciless rhythms as vocals flirt with and dance on the assaultive intent. Gripping body and thoughts, the song epitomises the Otep ability to reflect the object of their lyrical attack in tone and sound whilst simultaneously placing it under attack by the same.
Already the variety of the album is a clear quality across early songs and broadened to enthralling success by Royals. A striking cover of the Lorde song, the band embraces the pop theatre of the original and weaves it in an aggressive growl and raw metal escapade drenched in Otep distinctiveness. Floating harmonies lurk in the background as melodies kiss and go across the emerging tempest of shadowed emotion and creative drama. Not for the first or last time, Shamaya confirms her stature and agility as a vocalist; clean and throat scarring tones as easy from her body and on the ear as the rap bred delivery which steers this compelling proposal. The vocalist has a voice which can charm the birds or spark the darkest demons, the former a bewitching flame across the melodic rock of In Cold Blood and its pyre of honest reflection brewing up into an almost animus like roar of noise and emotion, Throughout keys court the sonic rancor with poetic elegance, the track ruffling the feathers and stirring the imagination before the eastern hued Down intimidatingly seduces and hungrily bristles with its industrial infused kaleidoscopic and fractious emprise.
Religion and its source feels the full creative force of God Is A Gun next, the track an unbridled face melting gladiatorial challenge of volcanic metal and intensity, whilst the hip hop/electro scented Equal Rights, Equal Lefts has its eyes and aim on intolerance and bigotry easy to assume being as intimately as observationally inspired. Both tracks grip ears and thoughts with sublime efficiency and creative alchemy in sound and syllable, swiftly matched by the invasively infectious and forcibly fascinatingly melancholic No Color. That seductive sombreness also continues in Lie, a hypnotic blending of light and dark textures casting a snarl in its beauty and mesmerism in its tempestuousness across an ever evolving creative landscape reigned over by Shamaya’s expansive vocal presence and adventure.
The album’s title track goes for the jugular next, its irritable maelstrom of toxic grooves and cancerous riffs entwined in choleric industrial volatility and rhythmic antagonism. It is all bound together by another fluid bedlam of galvanic and corrosive vocal dexterity creating a savaging as delicious as it is destructive. The track leaves ears ringing and senses numb with pleasure in turn thick and set to overflow over the closing beauty of On The Shore. A rhythmic catchiness is matched in gait and vocal swing with Shamaya kissing ears with sunlit melodies and warm caresses as darker, angrier shadows lurk and subsequently crowd her dominant presence.
The track is a glorious end to a stunning album which, even with a definitely biased outset because of previous encounters, simply blew our expectations and hopes away. For Otep fans, Generation Doom is new manna for the ears and for newcomers and those maybe yet to be convinced by the band’s sound, something to seriously consider exposing their intrigue to; the rewards are relentless.
Generation Doom is released via Napalm Records April 15th on iTunes and other stores.
Pete RingMaster 14/04/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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