REVIEW: OTEP – “Generation Doom”
Otep Shamaya was thought to have disappeared from music after she announced her bands previous album, ‘Hydra’ was to be their last. Otep has now returned with the band’s latest effort ‘Generation Doom’ which consists of twelve tracks fueled by broken relationships and inequality. Both combined, the content in the writing has been enough to bring the already fierce Otep out of the shadows and turned loose on ears that have softened since her departure.
Dropping F-bombs left, right and center in album opener “Zero”, Otep seems set to rival Slipknot or Limp Bizkit for most used in an opening grove track. Her signature shriek and impressive vocal range sit on top of a band ready to kill as the horns worthy opener brings us into “Feeding Frenzy”. Otep’s manic delivery rages throughout and a heavy sigh of relief is released as the album is off to a great start. “Lords of War” initially comes across as a protest song but in fact it is far richer than just that. Lyrically the track is based upon self-empowerment and self-worth. Although the clichéd Shepard and sheep analogies bring a sense of dumbing down, it takes nothing away from the song. A cover of Lorde’s “Royals” follows respectfully and tucked behind it the albums leading single.
“In Cold Blood” is not as harsh a piece as one might imagine. If anything it portrays a more vulnerable Otep. A fiercely honest woman, always, Otep finds strength in this stripped back moment that shines through this single as she delivers a chorus that will echo eternally through her catalog and her fans. A track clearly tough to follow, the Lacuna Coil meets Hip-Hop “Down” does so well, adding to this collection of one good track after another. “God is a Gun” and “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts” are arguably the albums strongest point. Lyrically and titles alone, the subject matter is not necessarily as blatant as one might think. Though as is all music, the content is open to interpretation. What is for sure is that the poet in Shamaya delivers a raw and contemporary perspective and a voice on the neglect and discrimination so many are forced to endure. Even still, by the time the final words in these tracks are spoken it is evident that she is made of scars that have made her stronger.
“No Colour” could and should be the next single to follow from ‘Generation Doom’. It is big, bold, ballsy and infectiously anthemic. This is bound to be a fan favourite both on record and live. Though, a recurring theme continues as a spoken fade out hinders the climax slightly. A lot can be said for “Lie” which takes the form of (wait for it) a ballad. You may struggle to imagine the same guys that violently paraded through “Smash the Control Machine” all those years ago performing a ballad of sorts that will resonate on a universal level but here it is and beautifully so. “Lie” is a standout track and if it is not the strongest it is certainly one of them. It has to be said that title track “Generation Doom” is one of the weaker tracks found on the record and sees Shamaya lashing out in all directions. Otep in a more familiar light maybe, however the substance found in the she and the bands new light is far more grand as is proven in the heart-breaking album closer “On The Shore”.
‘Generation Doom’ deserves a thorough listening to and in this case reviewing. It would be a shame to simply pass over any of these tracks as they each contain a bitterly seldom sense of raw honesty which Otep delivers unconditionally. If you have been spinning the previous catalogue in fear of what this album may deliver, fear not as ‘Generation Doom’ produces some of the bands best work yet. It would be shame to pass over any track but it would be a crime to pass over this album.