Well, it’s angry music…very angry.
Having heard an album or two from Nu Metallers OTEP in the way back I kinda knew what to expect. As a model for what a female Metal vocalist is capable of Otep Shamaya has emotion, rage, and talent in spades. When she formed this band back in the early noughts Nu-Metal was at its peak of influence. Nowadays that genre has mostly run its course. Unfortunately, OTEP never got the memo and continue to press forward this rage fueled rap-metal hybrid. Great talent, passion, and songwriting handicapped by some grimace inducing arrangements and an unironically retro mix.
Reformed with reignited fire this four piece’s 2016 album ‘Generation Doom’ has some damn fine Metal spread about the hokey Hip-Hop and quirky Alt Pop. At least, Otep understands the need for rage in Metal. She’s got plenty to rage about.
‘Doom’ is entirely Otep’s show. Her voice is a thing of wonder. Showing off a diversity and range that puts most fellow singers to shame. Mixing Deathly growls, Serj’s poetical bark, Gothic dark seduction, Rap-chick rants, with soul-piercing screams. Did I mention the anger?
Appreciate the poet here, most notably in the embittered and profoundly profane call to arms “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts” which holds multiple quotables: “He called me a dyke, I called him an ambulance.” / “I’ll always get more pu**y than you!”
Opening shot “Zero” is a standard Nu affair, a rampage of F-bombs carpeting down-tuned guitars, loads of screamed attitude, and a techno mix straight outta 2002. This treatment haunts much of the collection. We even get canned police radio/spoken diatribe inserts for added social commentary.
Lightness first emerges on gem “Lords of War” and its unholy mix of spoken word and Industrial. “In Cold Blood” puts a clean Otep out front radio-friendly Euro-Goth Metal, a la LACUNA COIL.
The quirky “God is a Gun” is pure SYSTEM OF A DOWN Prog Nu. A labyrinthine “No Color” continues with no frills Pop Metal. Ironic that an album placing anger and rage on a pedestal offers the reflective, sorta-ballads “Lie” and “On the Shore” as its best–the acoustic bonus of “Lie” is even more potent.
On board with Shamaya are recent recruits Guitarist Ari Mihalopoulos, Drummer Justin Kier, and Bassist Andrew Barnes. And producer extraordinaire Howard Benson!
I might have to go back and reevaluate OTEP’s back catalog. I wanted to like this release even with its Nu roots. And, surprisingly, I do! It’s most everything I hate about this much-lamented sub-genre. Yet, ‘Generation Doom’ also offers shining examples of Metal, no matter the style. Thoughtful, artistic, and emotional. Forget the cheesiness, forget the retro vibe and embrace all the heart and bleeding soul on display. Recommended.