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Tuesday, 12 December 2006 06:00

Otep Scratches Their Mark in Chicagoland

Written by  James Payne

OtepOtep thrilled the audience by playing their promotion song “Ghost Flowers” along with a few other tracks that I’ll be waiting to hear again when their new CD comes out in March 2007. Still, as great as their new material sounded, Otep didn’t neglect to share with us their older stuff, such as “My Confession”, “Buried Alive”...

OtepWhen Shamaya (vocals) told the audience that this was their best show on the Ascension tour so far, I believed her. I have to admit, when I found out that I was going to the Otep show to review them on their promotional tour, I didn’t expect much. I’d heard some of their music before, and I suppose I was focused more on Shamaya’s amazing voice and heart wrenching screams (and the basic idea that a woman could pull it off), rather than the intense energy and feeling that they showed in their music at the Colosseum on December 7th. But don’t get me wrong, Shamaya’s voice is truly metal and will now push the standard for women and men vocalists in this music genre.

I’ve never seen an audience of fans more devoted than Otep’s legion of metalheads, and I’m proud that I had the chance to jump into the mosh pit and rock out with them. The moment Otep came onto the stage and opened with the song “Battle Ready”, off of their earlier CD “Sevas Tra”, their crowd of fans were screaming and singing along at the top of their lungs. People in the mosh pit were slipping all over the beer soaked floors, but even such a hardcore group as this didn’t hesitate to help each other back to their feet. Shamaya marched around the stage wearing a netted mask, randomly changing into other masks throughout the show. “Evil” J. McGuire (bass) followed suit by sporting a huge boar mask, with tusks and all, for half the show.

Otep thrilled the audience by playing their promotion song “Ghost Flowers” along with a few other tracks that I’ll be waiting to hear again when their new CD comes out in March 2007. Still, as great as their new material sounded, Otep didn’t neglect to share with us their older stuff, such as “My Confession”, “Buried Alive” and “Jonestown Tea”, which she told us afterwards is a hard song for her to perform live. It’s a song about a girl working up the courage to tell her mother that their father was molesting her and her sister. Though she apparently hesitates to play the song live, Shamaya told us that because we were such a good audience that she was willing to sing it for us. Shamaya went on to perform the song with raging intensity in which the audience sympathized with her and seemed just as emotional. When the song was over, Shamaya told us that that man was put in jail.

Otep front woman had a lot to say about ignorance and violence. “This world is a fucking holocaust,” she said. The crowd shouted in agreement, and so did I.

On a different note, I was surprised to see Karma Cheema, who recently left American Headcharge, on the guitar. Cheema was a perfect fit and complimented Shamaya very well while somehow remaining an entity in himself. The two work together like a well-oiled machine – the perfect union. Cheema’s signature style is unmistakable, even with a band as uniquely different as Otep. No doubt, Cheema will make a great new addition to Otep’s new CD.

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