Brett Fisher: Hydra-tion
Otep, a Numetal band formed in 2000 fronted by Otep Shamaya, has been a favorite of mine for about three years now. The dark, poetic, and heavily political lyrics of the Smash The Control Machine album drew me in. I dived into other albums from them and I was hooked. Otep’s most recent album, Hydra (2013), was said to be the band’s very last album by the frontwoman herself.
Hydra has a lot of common elements that fans expect from an Otep album. Extremely dark (pleasantly so), heavy, and filled with spoken-word poetry-to-music sort of songs that Otep fans have come to love. It saddens me that this will be their last album, because it is far from their best. But that is far from it being “bad”.
The album opens with the song “Rising”. It is a spoken-word song until the end when the instruments come in. It is quite possibly the darkest piece on the collection.
The next three songs are “Blowtorch Nightlight”, “Seduce And Destroy”, and “Crush”, are probably the best on the album. They are reminiscent of older Otep songs. They are fairly “normal” due to the traditional song format they follow which is absent in a lot of the album. “Seduce And Destroy” is very, very easily my favorite on the entire record.
Following those three is “Hemotopia”, a very soft (but not quite spoken-word) song that serves as an introduction to the next song, “Necromatic”. “Necromatic” follows the same tone as “Hemotopia” until halfway through where it erupts into pure heavy metal. “Necromatic” then transitions into “Quarantine” with, again, the same tone and feeling as the previous two. The song is heavier than “Hemotopia”, but alike it in a way that it isn’t exactly spoken-word, but its not a traditional song that follows the verse, chorus, verse, scheme that most songs do.
“Voyeur” is completely spoken-word and poetic. It reminds me a lot of “Kisses And Kerosine” from Smash The Control Machine and “Baby’s Breath” from Atavist Animus. All three songs are spoken-word poetry songs about Miss Shamaya murdering someone deserving of death.
“Apex Predator” was the most advertised on Otep’s Facebook page. It is the “hit” (as much as it can be for a band not widely known) of the album. “Apex Predator” is the only song from the record with an official music video. The music video itself is very artistic and features many locations.
“Feral Game” is the next track. It is a lot like “Apex Predator” and the other “normal” songs.
“Livestock” is yet another somewhat spoken-word track like “Hemotopia” and the others.
“Hag” is most certainly the heaviest song on the album. It begins and ends with a scream and maintains the brutality throughout the entire three and a half minutes.
The album ends with “Theophagy” which is, yet again, a poetry-to-music track. The song is nearly twenty-three minutes long, which seems ridiculous, but the actual music ends at about the six minute mark, and the track is silent until the last twenty seconds. There is then a startling scream. When I first got this album I let it play through as I always do with new music. With the nature of the genre, of course I had the speakers on a very, very high volume. When I assumed the album was finished, I was working on something so I did not bother to change music or listen to it again just yet. Twenty some-odd minutes pass and shamefully I nearly have a heart attack at the random (and very loud) scream coming from my speakers.
In all, Hydra is a very good album. It’s not the best, but most certainly not the worst Otep record to date. We are only in the middle of March, but I feel that (so far) Hydra is the best rock/metal album of 2013.