rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 06/21/2005
Otep - Bringing The Fury and The Artistry To Rockford
by Gary Hill

Otep is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Otep is also a band. Otep is a poet. Otep is metal fury coupled with artistic expression to create one of the more unique and creative sounds out there. Otep will be rocking Forest Hills Lodge tonight along with a number of other bands. Since Otep has been featured on Ozzfest three different years, she (Otep is the lead singer's and main songwriter's name) and they (Otep is also the name of the band) are a band that is a group not to miss - especially in such intimate surroundings.

The band have released two albums thus far, and both have been well received both by critics and fans. The music presented is powerful, aggressive, violent and dark - yet still is based as much in art as in metallic fury. In fact, there are points on their discs where the music resembles poetry readings. You can look at these tracks as sort of a ultra aggressive metal take on the poetic excursions The Doors used to journey on. Otep said of that comparison, "I think James Douglas Morrison was the first. I think he was celebrating a long line of traditional bards who used musical performance art as a medium to communicate a message on all levels - going back to the theater. So, yeah, my first real introduction to creative music was listening to the Doors when I was a kid - sneaking my parents' records and listening to them and hearing The End'. Really flipped on a switch inside my head that said, Wow, music can be art. Music can be poetry' and there's no sort of set disguise for it. There's different formulas and different ways of experimentation. So, I'm eternally grateful to their sacrifice and to their commitment to recreating the boundaries of music."

Otep said of their latest release House of Secrets, "I think the new record is bipolar in that it is as creative as it is violent, much like me. I think it's excessively more heavy, and I think it's excessively more creative than the first record. A lot of people ask me how I compare the two, and my standard answer is same roots, just a much bigger tree'. I think that it was our first record. We're very proud of that record. It sort of set the bar for us. It set a standard of who we are - let people know who they're dealing with, but at the same time I think House of Secrets raised that bar for us even higher. It forced us to increase our skill level - from song arrangements and composition to playability to challenging me to force my own creative and lyrical evolution, and I'm really proud of it. I think it's the best work we've done."

Live they are one of the few bands that actual create on stage instead of simply playing carbon copies of their recorded songs. In fact, their shows include segments in which the band seem to be working and reworking concepts as they play - but it never feels half baked or lost - more like a group of artists creating new ideas in front of an audience. The shows are theatrical, while still being real. They are dark yet empowering. The band seem to look at the shows as sort of a joint effort between the band and the audience - a form of shared communication if you will. Otep said of the Ozzfest shows, "there were times where I would slip into my creative possession, and I would look out and it would almost feel like we were in the ancient world, and it was a massive mystery cult festival - a religious sort of gathering of violent pagans. It was absolutely amazing to see people swirling in the pits recreating the DNA helix, finding themselves, rites of passage. It was magnificent. People would lose all inhibitions and go wild. It was quite liberating for us." She describes what they do live as, "a savage, brutally poetic performance." All of these elements lend for a show that will both rock your socks off, but make you feel like you've experienced something truly unique and wonderful.

Make no mistakes the show is brutal, extremely heavy, and very aggressive, but it is also beautiful art. And if Otep themselves are not enough of an attraction to get you down to see the show, they will be joined by Manntis, DevilInside, Daysend and PowerTrip. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door and can be purchased at Forest Hills Lodge is located next to the Rockford Speedway at 9572 Forest Hills Rd. If you are a fan of heavy, brutal music - or of exceptionally creative artistic musical performance and not adverse to the extremely metallic - this is a show you should not miss. If you do, you will regret it.

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