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Generation Doom

No voice, in metal, is more important than that of Otep Shamaya. Her primal, enraged poetry amplified by an aggressive onslaught of crunching guitars and pulsating drums, broke onto the scene in the early 2000’s. In a time of mass marketed, cookie-cutter “nu metal" acts that flooded the airwaves, Otep brought a raw, uninhibited voice to the scene.

She stood on her own two feet in an otherwise primarily male dominated genre, with a vocal range that could harmonize beautifully while at the same time, hold her own amongst some of the best growlers out there. With a microphone and a fist, Otep attacked political and social issues, with not only an unapologetic attitude, but with skills beyond reproach.

Nearly two decades and 6 studio albums later, many fans (myself included) thought that Otep was finished. But lucky for us, this is not the case. On April 15th 2016, “Generation Doom" is being unleashed onto the world via Napalm Records.

So how does this album compare to the rest of Otep’s repertoire? Well, it’s the perfect addition to an otherwise already phenomenal career. Otep’s voice is literally and figuratively stronger than ever and her band’s sound is on point.

Fans that heard the album’s first single “In Cold Blood,” might have questioned whether or not Otep’s style has mellowed out, but rest assured, “Generation Doom” contains some of the heaviest tracks she has ever recorded. She is back with a vengeance and will continue to take no prisoners. Part of the beauty of this album is that every song has it’s own unique sound, with some tracks being heavy with the most guttural of screams and others being hauntingly melodic with beautifully angelic vocals. What every song has in common is the urgent importance of Otep’s poetically driven lyrics. With subject matter ranging from religious beliefs to equal rights, she perfectly turns America’s mirror on itself for everyone to see.

Generation Doom
(Napalm Records)
Written by: Ryan M. Andrews
9.5 out of 10

Now, politics aside, this is a hard rocking, head-banging opus that entertains start to finish. Opening with the song “Zero,” Otep goes straight for the jugular with a song that you can’t sit still for. And the next track “Feeding Frenzy” is exactly the same. It’s heavy metal mixed with a groove metal that forces you to move.

Perhaps the most interesting tracks on the album are “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts” which poetically infuses Otep’s rapping skills with a haunting beat and her cover of Lorde’s “Royals.” The latter, may turn people off at first listen just because the recognizable lyrics stand out like a sore thumb. But trust in Otep’s art and vision because she makes this song her own.

Start to finish this album is not just her best work since “Sevas Tra” (“Art Saves” backwards) and “House of Secrets,” this is Otep’s best album ever. If she chooses to end her career after this album, then she is going out on the perfect note. But God help us if she does, because the world needs the Heavy Metal political activist and art advocate that is Otep Shamaya.

9.5 out of 10.

Album Highlights: The Whole Fucking Album.

Ryan M. Andrews, HMS

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