2. Blowtorch Nightlight
3. Seduce & Destroy
9. Apex Predator
10. Feral Game
Few bands are as obscure or unique as Los Angeles’ Otep. Otep Shamaya is a lyricist of incredible caliber and her poetry, whether or not you’ve read it, is no different. The follow-up to 2010’s “Atavist” and the conclusion of this breathtaking band’s career, “Hydra” is everything a final album should be. It’s dark, mysterious, heavy, and filled with insight into Otep’s massive psyche. This band has always struck me as one of metal’s most underrated and the news of their departure from the music scene strikes me with grief but lives must be lived and must move on eventually. Without further ado, here is my review of Otep’s 6th and final album, “Hydra”!
If you listen to the lyrics in the opening track, “Rising”, you will find out that the theme for this album is simple: Violence. Whether in it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual, there is a reference to some form of violence in every track on this album. “Hydra” takes you deep into the mind and anger of Otep. This is easily their darkest album to date. “RISING LIKE A HYDRA FROM THE ABYSS!” Gives way to the next track “Blowtorch Nightlight”. For those who have been following the band since they started writing this album, you will realize that this is the only track we will originally received a preview for and the reason is simple: It’s one of the best on the album. It starts off slow and, as most Otep songs tend to do, gets heavy as fuck! The drums are loud and fast, the riffs are gritty and heavy and Otep’s screams haunt the mind. The next song “Seduce & Destroy” focuses more on the lighter, more mysterious side of the band. This 6 and a half minute journey will quickly become a favorite among fans. Next comes “Crush”. This track begins with a dark piano intro accompanied by the eerie whispers of our heroine/villain and then suddenly bursts into heavy guitars and pounding drums. The track builds suspense as it goes, starting with whispers, making way to spoken parts, and finally into the gut-wrenching screams we’ve all come to love. Following this masterpiece of a track is “Hematopia” is a dark spoken-word track, but it doesn’t in any way take away from the wow-factor of this album. Following this creepy, poetic track is “Necromantic”. Which is also a spoken-word track which builds from and adds to the eeriness of the last track and finishes it out with powerful screams. Following these is a track called “Quarantine” which is creepy in itself just from the title, but this is one of the 4 tracks on this album that still gives me chills. The mixed synth, guitar and very light drums along with Otep’s poeticism is almost too eerie to bear. After the chills settle, “Voyeur” starts, this is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. It shows just how dark and sinister Otep can be. It’s a story of revenge. “He has a webcam and likes to video himself, with animals. A stray dog, a neighbor’s cat. Binding them, torturing them, murdering them. He has a webcam, so I helped him understand how they felt!” Sinister as hell right? Well it gets better, she goes on to explain how she tortures him and kills him. One of the eeriest tracks on the album, but yet somehow, one of the best. After your heart slows down, we are led to the “Apex Predator” which, to my knowledge, was the album’s first single. Starting with what ALMOST sounds like a heartbeat and sirens, Otep describes a sadomasochistic scene which gets a little out of hand. “Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt. But where’s the fun in that I gotta satisfy my thirst.” This, to me, seems like another story of revenge. This person has wronged her in some way and she wants to make sure they pay. This is one of the most fun songs on the album, while still keeping that sinister quality of the rest of the album. The rest of the album focuses on animalistic and demonic themes and gives way to the final 12-minute long closing track, “Theophagy”. Now this track, starting out, isn’t too bad….or so you think. It gets worse and worse as it goes and finally leaves you sweating, panting, and heart racing.
This album is not for the faint of heart. It is easily the darkest album that Otep has put out. But for those who can stomach this deliciously evil masterpiece, I definitely recommend it. To all Otep fans, nothing is taken away from us. There are new elements added but change is definitely good in this case. For a band who has steadily strived to be the best they can be, this final album will go down in history with the greatest! Go check out “Hydra” out on Victory Records January 22nd!