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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.

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. 

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