Otep Shamaya, the leadsinger/songwriter of Otep has surrounded herself with an ever revolving cast to make her heavy metal dreams go round. On her fifth studio album, Atavist, she debuts an all new line-up featuring Markus Estrada of Cromwell on guitar, Rani Sharone of Stolen Babies on bass and Gil Sharone of The Dillinger Escape Plan on drums.
The new cast of musicians help make Atavist, Otep’s heaviest album since 2004’s House of Secrets. The album’s first single, “Fists Fall” have all the hallmarks of a good anthematic hard rock track. Otep’s vocals are a guttural growl as she repeats phrases like “keep your voices raised/keep your knuckles bloody” and “fists fall like rain”.
But where anthems like “Fists Fall” succeed, the album fails to preserve continuity. “Fists Falls” is preceded by “Baby’s Breath”, a seven-minute spoken word poetry track that breaks the album’s mood and pathos. While these poetry tracks have become a hallmark of Otep’s albums, it makes them no less disruptive to the album’s flow. The same can be said for the album’s second to last track “Bible Belt” which makes the album’s closing track, a wonderful cover of the Doors‘ “Not to Touch the Earth” feel like a bonus track rather than a part of the actual album.
Continuity issues aside, Atavist is one of Otep’s strongest efforts to date. With the fans Otep lost with the poorly reviewed, The Ascension, should be back in full force now with this return to form.
MP3: Otep “Not To Touch the Earth”
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