My Cup of Tea...But perhaps not yours.
Vocalist/writer Otep Shamaya, guitarist Aaron Nordstrom, drummer Brian Wolff, and bassist "Evil" J. McGuire are OTEP, a delicious, heady brew made of steaming hot angst, intense, tasty lyrics, and aromatic charisma -- with a touch of honey thrown in for good measure. OTEP aren't to be chugged, rather, they should be breathed in, sipped, savored, appreciated.
Okay, enough with the asinine tea metaphor (I'm dopey like that) and on to whimsical opining...
Granted, OTEP may be an acquired taste, but for someone like myself, an old school punk from way back when, no sound has excited me as much as OTEP's since, well, way back when. Sure, I've come across many, many bands in the last twenty years or so that made my blood rush, electrified the roots of my hair, induced manic bouts of impromptu air-drumming (I have an embarrassing, involuntary "tic" wherein I flap my thumb and forefinger against my thigh -- wildly -- to the beat of something good, whether it be during a live act, heard on the radio, or in my head), but not since the days of "back when" have I so loved, nay obsessed over an artist.
Otep Shamaya is somewhat of an enigma; her age is unknown, her life's resume shrouded in dark, tantalizing veils of obfuscation, though her lyrics and poetry give us a balls-out peek into what appears to be a turbulent, tragic past that, at times, lends to the listener/observer an almost voyeuristic feel. With raw, completely unselfconscious abandon, Otep whispers, shrieks, growls her pain so effectively, it's as if we are there with her, inside her psyche, inside her rage. It is disturbingly erotic.
Political, steeped in activism and social concern, Otep is more than just another pretty face who happens to possess the voice of a demon (yes, that really is her voice -- no studio magic involved whatsoever); her obvious intellect and writing skills, combined with the aforementioned features, bring forth an artist that is not only powerfully unique, but influential. Otep speaks the truth, you see, and although some may question the overt violence of her music, her persona, her message, are to be respected, marveled over.
With all of the fluffy, anorexic, devoid of substance, crotch-flashing, convicted "role models" our girls and young women are bombarded with these days, it is refreshing to see someone such as Otep Shamaya step from the shadows, fist raised, and speak out against injustice, poverty of the societal soul, indifference to human suffering, and ignorance. Otep is an anti-hero in a world full of poseurs, liars, and do-nothings, a woman's woman. She is the mouthpiece for those of us who have been ignored, forcibly silenced, dismissed. She is the voice of revolution.