Los Angeles, CA — A complete out-of-body experience was probably the best way to describe last night’s performance by OTEP at the Viper Room. The club was a veritable sauna, filled with bodies, and sparks flying, and sensual dancing to some really good hip hop, while we all anxiously waited for the guests of honor to take the stage at the 11 o’clock hour. You see, this night on April 5th was the official signing party that welcomed OTEP into the corporate world of Capitol Records. It also marked the untimely death of Kurt Cobain some years ago. Opening words of respect and dedication of the set went out to Kurt from the sultry, sloe-eyed Otep Shamaya. From then on it was all out brutality and emotionally intense purging from every cell in every band members’ body. As a witness to this primal ‘ritual of mental alchemy’, experiencing OTEP was, again, a journey of the senses. The music touches the listener where they aren’t quite comfortable being touched, yet it convinces you that you like it.
OTEP opened their heated set with the crushing and explosive ‘Possession‘ then immediately transitioned into a barrage of their heavy, spoken word/rap tracks including ‘Welcome to the War‘ and ‘T.R.I.C.‘. But the one that leaves the deepest impression (and makes everyone squirm) is the carnal and perverse performance-art quality of ‘Jonestown Tea‘; an anti-rape/anti-molestation epic that steals the breath from the lungs of its listeners secretly and silently, while Otep’s smoky voice caresses you, then ultimately stabs at you. But there will be no spoilers here. Just find out for yourself at this Summer’s Ozzfest, when OTEP will slay the masses with their massive sound and even larger presence.
The entire set was raw, real and penetrating. From the looks on the faces of the stunned audience, the band have certainly made their new label proud and have successfully left their careful scars on the minds of everyone in attendance. Watching and hearing OTEP perform live is something like attending a retreat. However, this retreat is unlike anything you might imagine before you actually stepped inside.
Put it this way. If OTEP’s music were a building, I imagine that the walls inside of it would most likely be covered in blood, and torn velvet, with burnt parchment papers tacked up by stitches, listing the crimes and sins of the guilty. The floors would be carpeted with slime and glitter. The furnishings would be fashioned from the hearts, brains, stomachs and veins of everyone who ever came into contact with the members of this band. And the focal point of the room, lying on the floor, would be a ragdoll with the stuffing torn out of her, missing an eye.
It’s useless to try and hide. OTEP is coming for you. Just surrender when you’re found.
Special thanks and ultimate respect to Xen, Otep Shamaya (I think I may be in love with you) and the members of OTEP for their incredible art, their endurance, and for having more balls than an entire army.