House of Secrets

Capitol Records

Ah, the sweet release of death metal! No need for melody, no need to find a beat. Just scream until the VU-meter pegs blood red, and don’t include a lyrics sheet. Well, that’s the basic procedure, but Ms. Otep Shamaya takes the form a bit farther. Sure, we get an album with the wall of negative noise highlighted by a singer in pain and a drummer on speed. But there are quiet passages as well, quiet enough to make you sneak the volume up. You want to hear what the husky voiced, sultry singer is crooning, and just when you think you’re onto it, POW! Guns and drums attack, and if you thought the neighbors put up with your high end Brookstone stereo, forget that business. You’re in heavy metal world, and it’s just as you dreamed: bang your head, give the good old metal sign and rock out!

Then more of the quieter stuff comes along — it’s lurking about on every other cut, and if you’re really slow, it will take a few tracks for you to catch on to this simpleminded trick. Well, it’s fun enough, and with the audio track more compressed than Phil Spector’s hits on a 500 watt AM station, there’s not much room for finely balanced audio here. It’s clever enough, even though I honesty can’t tell Death Metal from Dark Metal from Heavy Metal, not without my secret internet decoder ring. Take this for what it is: proud to be loud, sneaky for a trick or two and dripping with lyrics about death and live burial and other fun topics.

Capitol Records: www.capitolrecords.com • OTEP: www.otep.com

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