Otep-The Ascension Album Review

One thing I never got was, why has Otep always been classified as Nu Metal? Sure, they contain some elements of Nu Metal like, the occasional rapping, down tuned guitars, and lyrical subjects comparable to other Nu Metal bands but, when I think Nu Metal, I think Linkin Park and Korn. Not only is Otep heavier than both of these bands, they convey their message in a much more intelligent and aggressive way. One of the things I like about Otep is the fact that you really can’t genre classify them.

Their last album House Of Secrets was brutally heavy at parts but lacked the punchiness and overall winning sound of the prior album, Sevas Tra. After the hit or miss House Of Secrets, Otep had to overcome the sophomore curse and reclaim a name in heavy metal. Their latest offering The Ascension finds the band seemingly more focused and determined this time around. Like any other Otep album, you will hear, angst filled, brutally honest and haunting poetry supplied by singer Otep Shamaya but unlike House Of Secrets goes more with the flow of the album than just providing filler.

Singer Otep Shamaya and bassist Evil J Macguire have made progress on their respective instruments and the addition of Karma Cheema on guitar (Aaron Nordstrom providing live guitar) and Brian Wollf on drums the band seems to have found a winning line up. Is The Ascension heavy? Yes it is. I would say it is their heaviest album to date but they don’t limit themselves. Crooked Spoons and Ghostflowers are balls out metal songs while Perfectly Flawed is mellower and almost radio friendly. They also go in the direction of hardcore punk rock in Breed.

The production is not excellent but not bad in any respect. There is some very interesting bass and drum work on this album and those two things greatly contribute to the albums effectiveness. Otep Shamaya retains her instantly noticeable growl and the band overall sounds like the same ol Otep while not being too repetitive and restrictive. The lyrical content isn’t much different than their other albums but Otep Shamaya has a way of creatively conveying many of the same emotions again and again without becoming stale and monotonous.

There may be 2 or 3 skippers on this album but in the end is worth the purchase for long time fans. If you are new to Otep I would recommend Sevas Tra and if you like what you hear there, pick this up. After a fairly long hiatus, line up changes and, record label problems, I fully expect Otep to hit the nail directly on the head next time and look forward to their next release. 6.5/10

Webmaster recommendation: Otep-Sevas Tra

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