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on September 1, 2002
Before I saw Otep on OzzFest's second stage this summer, all I knew about them was that they existed. As soon as I heard them, the next day I ran out and bought 'Sevas Tra'...they are downright amazing. Not only is the singer (also named Otep) extremely hot, but she can SING. Not only can she sing, but she can GROWL...this lady can grown deeper than most men I've heard. And as great as her growl is, the words she growls surpass everything. Otep is truly a poet, as her name would suggest, and crams all her songs with beautiful, devestating lyrics that she sings/screams/growls/raps perfectly. I fail to find a band to compare them to, but most people like to compare them to Kittie, because Otep is a female. If you're going to do that, just know that Otep makes Kittie look like Destiny's Child. Hell, they do that with most male bands. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who is a fan of music, poetry, or thinking in general.
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2005
I've been an Otep fan for a few years now but never gave this CD too much credit until just recently. After eagerly purchasing their newest offering House Of Secrets a few months ago I decided to take a walk down memory lane and give this a thorough listen through. My initial thought was "Wow." I was never too big on Otep's rapping but I now appreciate it greatly, in fact a lot of my favorite songs on here include rapping in them. This CD has the raw quality that is lacking greatly from bands nowadays and lyrics with such depth that it's heart breaking to think about. The semi-spoken word songs included are such fun to listen to, Otep Shamaya has a tremendous gift for writing poetry and it is reflected in songs like My Confession, Emtee, and Thots just to name a few. This CD is not lacking the brutalness one would expect either, songs like Blood Pigs, Battle Ready, Fillthee, and even Menocide are extremely heavy. Ms. Shamaya is one of the elite few female singers that can properly front a metal band, she puts it like it is. If you can't except that fact then don't even bother listening to this.

Blood Pigs could be considered an anthem in it's own right. This is one of the heaviest songs on here with take-no-prisoners lyrics. Her roar in this is top notch, it can even be considered better than a lot of the guys that are fronting metal bands right now. Emtee is a slow song that progresses to a climatic end that is unforgettable with her repeating the lyrics "Can't be this emtee." This song has her going for an all out scream rather than a roar which suits this song perfectly, definitely one of the best songs included. Menocide starts out slow but quickly changes directions and gets extremely heavy. The beat in the bridge is the best beat in this CD, and with Otep Shamaya screaming in the background it only makes it better. The end is also something to pay close attention to, I personally love the ending almost as much as the song as a whole. Jonestown Tea is one of those heart breaking songs I mentioned. I won't go into too much detail but the choruses are amazing. The high-pitched screams of the guitars going against Otep's devilish roar is enough to make you press the repeat button time and again.

Overall, my favorite songs are Blood Pigs, My Confession, Emtee, Thots, Menocide, and Jonestown Tea. Every song is breath taking and the fact that this CD sounds even better when listened to all the way through is an added bonus. This is a CD filled with two different kinds of songs, heavy and melodic. This is definitely worthy of any attention given.
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on February 3, 2004
First off I want to say that I am very sick and tired of everybody praising this band and its vocalist because she's a woman. For which do you really think she will want to be remembered and respected - being a female in rock, or being a talented vocalist and poet who touched lives?
Now on to the music. The CD opens with a haunting spoken track that leaves the listener in a slightly disturbed and cautious state, unprepared for the intensity of "Blood Pigs" that comes without warning. I must say though that I'm not especially a big fan of the hip-hop vibe that runs through "T.R.I.C." and "Sacrilege". Others may like it but it's not my cup of tea. Otep Shayamala does however manage to bark the 'F' word at what seems like the perfect moment in "T.R.I.C.".
"Battle Ready" has what I consider to be perhaps the best opening and intro of any heavy rock song I've heard in a long time. Shayamala starts rapping after the intro though which throws me off somewhat, but the song is still quite good, especially toward and at the end. "Emptee" is quite the mood setter, as it consists of only piano notes backing the vocalist's subdued nursery-rhyme-like voice. But once you reach 2:30 minutes into the song, it transcends into an epic and downright bloodcurdling mass of screams that seem like they have risen from the bowels of hell.
Though a few of this CD's tracks touch on physical abuse at the hands of another ("Filthee", "Tortured", and "Menocide" mainly), "Jonestown Tea" is the most disturbing and nerve-rattling. One simply cannot listen to Shayamala descending deep into a bout of complete rage and screaming without feeling like they themselves are experiencing her pain. It sends shivers down the spine. No lie. Jonathan Davis's "Daddy" performance pales in comparison.
I would very highly recommend this album to anybody who digs music along the veins of Slipknot and Mudvayne and who appreciates intelligent lyricism. And PLEASE stop pointing out how Otep Shayamala is a good FEMALE singer. She's a tremendously talented SINGER, period.
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on June 17, 2003
Otep describes themselves as 3 musicians and 1 poet. I'd say that's a fair description.... Albeit a very dark poet.
Female fronted metal bands. I must say I'm a big fan of the idea, and am always excited about them. Now I'm talking ACTUAL metal vocalists, not bands like Evanescence which just has a female pop singer fronting a radio rock band. I'm talking a metal chick that's going to get aggressive, heavy, growl and scream with the best of the guys. Up to this point, I'm sorry to say I've yet to hear a female vocalist that has really been on the level of the greats in metal, yet I'm always excited to hear them. We've had Tarrie B. who did a respectable job in Manhole/My Ruin, Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy who pretty much does straight up death metal growls, and Kittie. I like Kittie and was happy to see females really playing metal and not cutesy stuff, but let's be honest; Kittie up to this point has been closer to a novelty act. The music, while heavy and aggressive was mediocre at best, and Morgan's vocals can be sort of comical when she tries to growl. Still, I like them for what they are. There are also a small number of other female heavy bands here and there, but really none of them have especially shone until now. There finally is a female who can hang, and in fact TOP, many of the best male metal vocalists out there.
How good are they? Well let me put it this way. They had no demo, no record contract, no album, NOTHING, when they got signed to Capitol. That's unheard of in music. At the very least, record companies sign bands to development deals and help them produce a demo to see their potential. A MAJOR LABEL saw how incredible the potential of Otep and their live show was and signed them to MAJOR LABEL deal with not so much as even a demo! That's insane!
OTEP. Before I spill my love for Otep Shayamala herself, let me describe the music a bit. It's heavy. It's heavier than your typical nu-metal type stuff. You're gonna get cutting guitar riffs, big guitar crunch, and lots of sustained bursts of double bass drum pummeling your chest. Their sound is sort of like the first Coal Chamber record (when they were sorta heavy and good) mixed with liberal doses of Slipknot's intensity and modern metal sensibilities. The music itself is a bit above average, but not groundbreaking. Perhaps with an average male singer this would warrant 3-1/2 stars or so. Maybe 4, for the simple fact that they're not afraid of bringing the fury at times. However Otep herself is what makes this a 5 star record and a MUST for anyone who wants to hear the female metal singer potential becoming realized.
First of all, this is one f----d up little girl. She's like the Jonathan Davis of girl singers. Her lyrics are very angry, sometimes spiteful, and often insecure and sad. Yet, she's still a poet. Her choice of words is very much artistic and unusual. You'll hear her often referring to her "muse" and being a "slave to the muse" and other such poetic devices. On this record she even has a straight up spoken word poetry track, with low volume beats in the background. She has a real Jonathan Davis moment on the last track, "Jonestown Tea" in which she graphically describes her father raping her many times as she grew up, and how it manifests in herself today. At the end of the song, she suggests killing her father, then herself. Very disturbing to say the least.
Don't let this scare you away too much, because her vocals are just too damn great to pass up. Her shining moment for me is the album opener (after the intro track) "Blood Pig" which is the best metal song I've ever heard by a female vocalist. Her growls and screams are punishing and legitimate, and she can lull you with her shy and fragile moments, then crush you with a blood curdling death growl. She does rap several tracks on the record, and her vocal flow is very impressive, as good as anything in current hip hop. I'm extremely tired of rap rock and have been a long time, but Otep is fresh and new enough to make it exciting. You'll be blown away by her machine gun vocal flow in songs like "Sacrilege" and "Battle Ready".
Whether the rap rock thing turns you off or not, you owe it to check out Otep, if nothing else for a glimpse at a band that can truly become groundbreaking. I would like to see more songs from them like "Blood Pigs", and maybe get away from the rap thing a bit - however her rapping vocal flow is so good, quick and tight, I do like having a few songs showing that off. The album itself is quite diverse. There are several straight up metal songs, several slow build up type songs with her "fragile" vocals, a few rapped ones, and even a couple that are pretty much spoken word dark poetry.
I absolutely cannot wait to hear what this band has in store for the future, and I really hope they can take the step to the next level. They can truly be great. I am in love with Otep. If not the band, at the very least the poet.
Standout tracks: "Blood Pigs", "Sacrilege", "Battle Ready", "My Confession", "Emtee".
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on June 21, 2002
Otep is LA's answer to Slipknot, but with an intese, sexy, female singer. Otep Shamaya's style varies from rapping, to gutural and high pitched screams, to breathy moans. The songs are very dark & heavy, and the production is awesome courtesy of Terry Date (Pantera, White Zombie, Deftones, etc). The musicianship is top notch as well.
Another thing I should mention, is that there is some distubing subject matter . Without getting too graphic, let's just say she had similar problems as Jonathan Davis when she was a child. (All you Korn fans will know what I mean) She uses the track Jonestown Tea as an exorcism. I've seen them live, and I highly doubt she's faking those emotions.
One more thing, you don't need to buy Jihad since all those songs (except for one track which is boring) were redone on Sevas Tra. The arrangements are a little different now, but the production is WAY better. I only recommend Jihad if you are/become a die-hard fan and HAVE to hear the old versions.
I didn't give it 5 stars because I'm not crazy about her Jim Morrison esque free verse poetry behind eerie soundtracks. Luckily, those moments are mostly interlude tracks and don't dominate the CD.
Overall, I highly recommend this CD to anyone that likes Slipknot and other Heavy Metal bands. Enjoy!
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on October 27, 2002
Some of the previous reviewers din;t like the fact that Otep raps simply because shes rapping. But this aint no Limp Bizkit, turntable raps about getting the nookie or breaking s**t, these are pure poetry and sound more along the lines of the Deftones. I really think they fit well with the great riffin' action produced by the guitarist or the smooth groove laid down the bassist, and don't get me started on the drummer, you never know what he's gonna do but you can gaurantee it will take the song to that next level. If thats not enough, Otep can scream better than most dudes in the hard rock scene. This release is full of energy and paced just right so theres plenty of time to relax after a nonstop headbanging setion. I know you'll dig it. So please check out this hard rockin quartet and let your ears enjoy the head bangin pleasures of OTEP, you owe it to yourself.
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on August 28, 2002
I saw them at OZZfest and I knew I had to go and pick up this CD. When I finally did I couldn't believe how well done this album is. The music is hard and heavy, the lyrics are beautiful and disturbing but together they flow brilliantly. The lead singer Otep has a range that is unreal. The growling makes you think it's a male but at times when she breaks down in sorts you can hear the woman. Destroy to create and poetry is the perfume of the soul is their message. I definitely think you should give this CD and their message a chance because unlike many metal artists this group has an artistic aura surrounding them. Think Slipknot's heavy beats with early Jonathan Davis lyrics but more poetic and touching. In my mind the best album of 2002!
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on May 5, 2006
This album is genius. I thought that the 1st moment I played it and 3 years later I'm still convince that this is the closest a death-metal album has ever come to being a work of art. Otep Shamaya has a way of weaving words into a poetic stream of anguished conscientiousness. The songs are alternatly devestating and empowering. I've never heard anything like it and I probably never will again. That said, this album is most definately NOT FOR EVERYONE! Otep Shamaya takes you to some very dark unconfortable places. One of the themes continuously revisited is her childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father. She is not vague in her discription either. It's genuinely disturbing, and will stay with you long after the last track ends. So, this is definately intended for the over 18 crowd. It's not something you'd have playing in the background while you play Grand Theft Auto or whatever. If you're okay with that and are open-minded medal-head, then I can't imagine that you wouldn't get something out of this album. Listen to the sample tracks and see what you think.
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on August 28, 2014
ive been following this band since 2001 i first discovered them when i bought hybrid theory by linkin park i bought it at soundwaves and it came with two promotional demo tapes one was a split with candiria on one side and god forbid on the other and the other was by otep it had like 4 songs on it i loved it and immediatly purchased the full lenth debut when it came out
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on June 19, 2002
I've been waiting for the new album for awhile now, the Jihad EP wet my appetite. Unfortunately I have never seen them live - I heard they put on quite a live show. They were signed to a major record label without ever even recording a demo, that's how impressive their live show is. I saw a lot of potential for this band and had high expectations for their first full-length. The album, unfortunately, didn't quite meet my expectations. While its a pretty good album, it lacks some of the raw power the EP had. The songs that they re-recorded from the EP sound weaker, possibly because they lost their second guitarist before recording the LP. The technicality of the guitar work has improved a little bit, but the bass guitar seems a little less impressive. The vocals and percussion still remain standouts. This chick can really sing. A lot of people will probably compare this band to Kittie Kittie, in my opinion, is a very weak and unimpressive band and these guys totally blow them away. Their vocalist is far better than Kittie's singer. Otep can both sing and scream with the best of them. This album, like many othe nu metal albums, has its flaws. However, its still better than most of the crap out there. I give it a thumbs up - I think they have enough talent to stay around for a while.
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