Otep was back in New York City, and celebrating the release of a brand new album on their new label. The band’s gig coincided with the Victory Records debut of their music on “Smash The Control Machine” and they would deliver a rousing set for their regional fans. The show also featured local Prog-Death artisans Hung, along with Seven Year Existence and Destrophy and we made sure to cover every single moment of the show.
Venue: Blender Theater at Gramercy (New York, NY)
Opener: Destrophy, Seven Year Existence, Hung
Label: Victory Records
It’s been awhile since I have caught Otep in concert, and I think that the last time that I did was when she and her band mates did a gig down at the now closed NYC Knitting Factory. I should actually correct myself and inform the readers about how the club now resides in Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan for those who might have been alarmed by the statement. As a group I’ve generally found Otep to be intriguing based on the way that she delivers her Metal. She blends the absolute heaviest shit on earth with poetic verse and a strong social conscience and she takes a defiant stand on domestic abuse. Clearly there is a lot to absorb when it comes to this Metal lady and tonight she would be bringing all of this out in force to the Blender Theater with special guest openers Hung from NYC, Seven Year Existence from Champaign, IL and Destrophy. Having never seen any of these openers before I made sure to get inside the venue early enough to enjoy them all. Here is how the night transpired for those who might be curious. Hung would come up first and according to reports were a last minute, albeit pleasant addition to the proceedings.
Continue reading Otep @ Blender Theater at Gramercy (8/18/2009)
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 3/20/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
California’s own Otep have returned and continue their self-created brand of “Art-Metal” with “The Ascension”; an album that some might consider to be their most inspired effort to date. The album finds the band in top form and progresses well from their previous recording “House Of Secrets” (2004). I felt that there were levels of musical growth displayed here as they indulged the listener in their established formula while at the same time chose to reach for new areas of melody and technique. The effort begins with the blistering “March Of The Martyrs”, which is a track that pummels the speakers with blast beat drumming and razor sharp guitar runs before the lyrical poetry that singer Otep Shamaya is so known for even begins. I have to say that she is an interesting performer to say the least as she growls like Angela Gossow (from Arch Enemy) at most times then suddenly flips to the use of rhymes and poetic verse with a very melodic tonality at others. With “The Ascension”, there is a lot more use of the melodic side and I found this aspect gaining my interest a little more than they were able to capture before. Otep’s members are found endeavoring into some different ground and changing the way things are done as far as the usual expectations in their fans eyes are concerned here. While the sections that are heavy will brutalize you, there are also many unexpected surprises like in the song “Perfectly Flawed”. During this number, we find Otep singing in a purely melodic style on a song that was co-written by Grammy winning songwriter Holly Knight. It is one of my favorite tracks on the album and perhaps also the most out of place for its hard rocking vibe and essence totally lacks the growling and verse found on the other tracks and leads to single potential for the group and a wider demographic appeal.
Continue reading “Ascension” by Otep
Venue: Knitting Factory NYC
Opener: American Head Charge, Candiria, Blood Simple
Label: Capitol Records
American Head Charge performed an electrifying set at their appearance at the Knitting Factory last night supporting their latest CD Release entitled “Feeder”. The band was the main opener for Otep and this combination was the perfect mix of quality songs as well as stage intensity. The Knitting Factory is a cool place to see a show, and according to the staff this well known Jazz club has been featuring the heavier music for some time. However, the tricky part is navigation and room. The stage is a little smaller than you would expect if you had a decent amount of equipment. This was painfully the case when AHC hit the stage. The band is 6 members strong, and not only had a full drum kit, but also a keyboard rig. The guys seemed to be almost tripping over one another, yet it did not get in the way of their performance at all. Playing what seemed to be just under an hour’ time, the group proved that their material is strong and will be interesting to see the future developments of the band.
Continue reading Otep @ The Knitting Factory (2/25/2005)