OTEP – “Generation Doom” (Napalm Records)
As mad as the Mad Max album cover and look, “Generation Doom” is aptly defined as OTEP’s seventh album in post apocalyptic chaos! Formed by LA’s vegan, animal rights champion Otep Shamaya, their 2002 debut “Sevas Tra” won them critical acclaim and impressed Sharon Osbourne enough to put the band on the Ozzfest bill. Easy to understand why, both from the striking visual look of Shamaya herself to the highly catchy west coast electro nu rap metal sound and beats that OTEP possess. Vocally, Shamaya mixes ear piercing screamo with sultry soulful femme vocals and the contrast, as reflected by the music in nothing short of impressive like on ‘In Cold Blood’ where a cool, light electro beat with deep bass and delicate keys soon gets shattered by dark, heavy riffs and wild screaming. Even better is ‘God Is A Gun’, where heavy riffing and double bass drumming is tastefully contrasted by the insane vocal rhyming of Shamaya with lyrics like ‘…there’s a monster in the garden eating you alive..’ before she screams again laying waste to everything. Things get even stranger on ‘Equal Rights, Equal Lefts’ with Shamaya rapping to a tick tock beat but the dark tone and lyrics of ‘…he called me a dyke, I called him an ambulance…’ probably make this OTEP’s most controversial song ever, it’s subject matter being sexual freedom (for all) as demanded militantly by the openly gay Shamaya. ‘No Colour’ then brings another contrast with its dripping pure rock energy fueled by high octane dark rock riffs before the ballad of ‘Lie’ and its addictive chorus and emo vibe soon show the tender but still dark heart of Shamaya. I’m not exactly a big nu metal fan but “Generation Doom” definitely impressed me, mixing in excellent compositions with wild, off the wall performances all of which made for an unbelievably catchy album that won me over. Strangely enough, after it’s 2013 predecessor “Hydra”, Shamaya had said that that would be her final album, and after difficulties with deals, it certainly seemed that way. Thankfully Napalm stepped in and “Generation Doom” is the amazing result, so I really hope that Shamaya continues as she is an incredibly talent artiste with clearly a lot to say, and an attitude to match!