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Jihad

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★☆
(34 Reviews)

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  • Being an old guy, I had never heard Otep before. However, a local newspaper reviewer had provided so many positive comments regarding Otep that I asked her to loan me some music from Otep, and Jihad was one of two that she gave to me.At first I was put off by the music. However, when you listen to music so far off from what you usually listen to, that is often the case. I listened to Jihad four or five times, and then read the lyrics. The principal thing that Otep Shamaya does that is different from other female singers is her growly, screamy singing. She reminds me somewhat of the “primal scream” technique that some metal groups liked to incorporate in their music back in the dark ages of metal. The growls and screams put me off a bit, because she does seem to rely on them a bit much. However, I read her lyrics, and listened and listened to give Otep the fairest review possible.Who is Otep most like? Not any single group. Her lyrics are dark like some early Black Sabbath, but much more graphic. The complexity of her lyrics is reminds me of groups like Spock’s Beard and some of The Moody Blues more challenging lyrics, though of course her lyrics are about the deeper, darker aspects of life. She throws in elements of rap, but she is not a rap singer. Neither would I really call her a gothic singer, because her lyrics and style do not really feel goth to me, they are too modern. So that leaves me without a real comparison.While Otep will not be on my list of favorite singers, because her current style is out of my usual range, I appreciate that she is creating to please herself, and not any particular person. The third cut on this album, “Germ”, is really interesting. For those of you have been around a few decades, you’ll recognize an updating of “Beat” of the 50s and some of the more experimental works of the 70s. In this piece, Otep interprets a poem with background sound effects to enhance the experience. I consider this composition perhaps the most challenging and effective of the entire CD. I also really like the growl and scream combination she gives the final word “me”, as she transitions to the “Fillthee”, the next song.The music surrounding Otep’s lyrics are solid, and while achieving a periodic complexity, at essence are relatively simple and pleasing. The unusual vocals are Otep’s signature on this CD. I’ll have to listen to more Otep CDs to determine whether that’s Otep’s normal style. However, it’s the lyrics that are the real winner for this CD. Otep brings in elements of mythology, theology, current affairs, politics, and relationships to create a witches’ brew of images and feelings. Music like this is not for the faint-hearted. If you are looking for something to challenge what you think music should be, can handle very dark, intense images, and the occasional expletive, this just may be the CD for you. Four stars for having her own artistic vision that has very real potential.

    Posted on January 10, 2010