Tuesday, May 10, 2011

OTEP Delivers Strong On Atavist

If Otep Shamaya was a box of crayolas, then she would not be the small 8 count box. She would be the massive economy pack of 150. Her visions push the envelope of normalcy and she challenges you to think way outside of the box. She is a poet and a lyricist who is strong, opinionated, outspoken and a breath of fresh air from the divas dominating the radio.

OTEP is Otep Shamaya’s musical baby and one of her outlets for her strong, impressionistic visions. Her latest CD is entitled Atavist and there was a huge buzz growing over the months in anticipation of this release. It was included on numerous “Most Anticipated Releases of 2011”.

The second track, “Atom to Adam” really sets the tone for the CD. The intensity level on this song is off the charts both musically and lyrically. The inclusion of a Moby Dick reference really got me to thinking about the songs meaning of mind games and control. This song is similar in tone to “Warhead”.

“We Dream like Lions” is a slower, acoustic style song that really stands apart from the other tracks. It’s a beautiful song and its symbolism really helps to paint a picture in the listener’s mind. “Drunk on the Blood of Saints” has Otep reciting the verses in spoken form until the chorus on which she unleashes her growls. This song also contains one of the nastiest bass lines that I have ever heard.

“Fists Fall” is an epic track with an epic video to accompany it. An anti-bullying song that also doubles as a fight for what you believe in anthem. It doesn’t matter if you win the fight or if you lose it, just as long as you do fight for it. If this song doesn’t get you fired up and ready to go, then Red Bull just won’t do the trick.

“Baby’s Breath” is a track that is either a hit or miss; it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s one of two spoken word tracks in which Otep really reaches deep into a dark side that exists in some people. It’s a seven minute journey in voyeurism and violence with a twisted smile. Listening to this track in a dimly lit room with headphones on actually was a bit creepy for me.

“I Alone” is a standout track both musically and lyrically. You can almost feel the pain in the lyrics of being an individual and not wanting to fit in too what society deems as the “norm” This will hit home with a lot of Otep fans as she has always been a leader in the right to be who you are and not compromising. The final track is the cover of the Door’s “Not to Touch the Earth”. This is another that is either hit or miss. I really like their take on it and I think that Jim would be proud of it, but I can see where some fans of the original are just not going to get it.

Overall, I think it is a really good CD. There are some songs that are quite diverse from others on it. I like that it mixes things up instead of giving you twelve tracks of monotony. Otep switches back and forth on some tracks with her screams and clean vocals, but her growls are just as intense as ever. I really liked it upon the first listen, but with each subsequent listen, it makes an even deeper impact on me.

I would recommend spending the few extra dollars and getting the deluxe edition. It comes with a DVD that includes music videos, a film called “Baby’s Breath”, a segment where Otep talks about recording the CD and about each song and even more stuff. Otep and Victory Records really went all out on this deluxe version. This is way better than some CD/DVD sets that many established artists have tried to put out and came up short. Either way, this is a solid CD with some of the most intense imagery that I have come across in a very long time. Check it out, give it a couple of listens and expand your mind…..if you dare.

No comments: