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Wednesday, January 23 2013 00:24

OTEP - "Hydra" (Album Review)

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In one of my past lives as a music writer, I might've spent a great deal of time breaking down the sonic content of HYDRA, the just-released and proclaimed "final album" from OTEP. 2013 certainly brings with it a new era, and one where I'll just cut to the chase and tell you this: HYDRA is not a good album.

OtepI was there in the beginning. I shelled out real money for SEVAS TRA (2002), HOUSE OF SECRETS (2004), and THE ASCENSION (2007 after being shuffled from Capitol to Koch).  I think that SMASH THE CONTROL MACHINE (2009) was the last OTEP album that I really dug (I even interviewed then-bassist "Evil J" for FANGORIA during that cycle), as it was around that time that OTEP SHAMAYA started to assimilate her namesake band into something different than that which I'd previously enjoyed.

As the metal moved more into spoken word, noise, and aural oddities, the audience started tuning out, and the "band" disappeared in favor of hired guns in the studio (the Gil and Rani Sharone, Tony Campos, etc) and touring musicians for the road. Fast-forward to HYDRA, and I couldn't tell you who played on it, as the digital promo included no credits whatsoever. In fact, even the included promo photo of Shamaya was from the last album

HYDRA is a mess that feels forced, rushed, and lacking any sense of true identity. It's boring, and even the anger seems insincere. It's a shame, because I've enjoyed OTEP the band, and Shamaya the person (a lively tweeter) for quite some time. If this is truly the final album to bear the OTEP name, it's a sad way to meet an end.

Available now on iTunes.

1
The Rock Father Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

FTC Disclosure: A Digital Copy of this album was provided to The Rock Father by Victory Records for the purpose of review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn. 

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade as Publisher of The Rock Father Magazine, he joined Adventure Publishing Group as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider—a destination for all things pop culture. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 25 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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