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Otep Generation Doom Review

Otep Generation Doom

 

 

OTEP Generation Doom Rages to Fame

 

Otep, the hardcore poet from California is back in 2016 with the crazy heavy album “Generation Doom”.  Otep is a mix of industrial rock, rap rock, and Metalcore with a common theme of liberation.  Otep’s message has been consistent throughout every project, but she is a highly diverse artist.  I was not surprised on first listen of “Generation Doom” to find that it is all over the place with the direction of the music.  This album has every combination of styles that modern Metal listeners flock to, but it remains unique and non-mainstream.  It’s not your run of the mill Metal record, as it utilizes Death Metal with rapping and melancholy style vocals with really strong beats.  Whatever you describe this album is, it’s pure uncensored chaos where Otep says whatever the hell she wants and does whatever the hell she wants.  “Generation Doom” breaks all the rules and barriers, especially with songs like Equal Rights, Equal Lefts that explores Otep’s sexuality and the issue of Equality.  However, I think this album has a song for everyone because it is so incredibly diverse.

 

Overall the musicality is surprisingly good.  The instrumentation isn’t outstanding or virtuoso-esque, but it serves as a heavy delivery service for the prominent lyrics and message.  I am not a fan of political music, but “Generation Doom” is more about liberation and inspiration, so it gets a pass for me.  The dirty vocals and heavy breakdowns are well executed and I think they will be well received by a diverse group of listeners.  It’s an intense album all the way through, regardless if the song is fast and heavy or an Industrial Rap Rock breakdown, Otep is in your face.  Songs like Zero, Lie, and the title track are pretty extreme and hit you in the chest with heaviness.  Otep’s cover of Lorde’s Royals is also one hell of a surprise and I thought their version was comically better than the original.  The spoken word interludes throughout the album are also enchanting and mesmerizing.  It’s an aspect not explored much in Metal music and I love the darkness Otep integrates into it.  It is extremely artistic and allows for a better personal connection to the message she’s trying to convey.  However, the song that stands out to me is the outro track On the Shore.  This track is hauntingly beautiful and Otep’s clean vocals absolutely blow me away on this track.  The more melodic side of Otep leaves me wanting more.  This track also includes more hauntingly half-sung spoken word that will probably give you chills.  “Generation Doom” is one hell of a diverse album and is incredibly hard to sum up in one review.  It’s either an album you jam out to or immerse yourself into completely, so it depends on the listener’s personal connections.  You’re either going to love or hate this album, and I don’t think Otep gives a damn either way.  8/10

“Grey Heavens” Omnium Gatherum Review

grey heavens Omnium Gatherum

 

Omnium Gatherum’s Grey Heavens Smashes Expectations

 

I am a huge fan of Omnium’s entire diverse Melodeth catalogue, but their previous release “Beyond” was a cut above any Melodeth release.  “Beyond” was beautiful and as inspiring as enjoying looking out on Finland’s vast coastline, that can be experienced in a music video from this album.  For me, Omnium foreshadows At The Gates’ last disappointing attempt at a radio friendly album and In Flames’ even more harsh attempt.  Yes, without the Gothenburg Melodeth bands like At The Gates and In Flames there would be no Omnium, Insomnium, Woods of Ypres, and many more.  However, I prefer the Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum style of Melodeth.  The melodic sides of these bands rival anything I’ve ever heard before.  So Omnium set the bar impossibly high with “Beyond” for me, and I was just sure nothing could top it.  Boy, I was wrong.  Finland has a lot of great bands, but I dare say that “Grey Heavens” puts Omnium high above.

 

I have reviewed a lot of albums since I began this blog, some great and some absolutely terrible albums, too.  It is rare that I get to review an album that I truly enjoy every track on, so this album was mind blowing to review.  I have listened to it a dozen times since it came out, because it is worth giving that many in depth listens.  “Grey Heavens” is anything but your typical Metal album.  The growls are perfectly set into a melodic pocket, giving this “beauty and the beast” sound to it.  While the lead guitars are beautiful, the growls are harsh and chest rattling, especially on songs like Skyline and Frontiers.  The guitars are melodic, but not understated.  The guitars wail loudly and the technicality is absolutely astounding.  Every sweep, solo, rhythmic underlay is perfectly executed with the guitars as well as the layered vocals.  The vocals are mostly dirty, but the clean vocals evoke incredible emotion and tone on this record.  You get a taste of cleans in the past two Omnium records, but “Grey Heavens” has superior mixing.  Majesty and Silence has to be my favorite song on this record because of the layering; the acoustic guitars as well as heavy rhythmic guitars mix together expertly as well as the clean and dirty vocals.  The juxtaposition of Melodeth that Omnium achieves on this record makes it an easy candidate for record of the year.  Every song is flawless and will leave you speechless.  I highly recommend it for entry level Death Metal fans and anyone with a good taste in music.  10/10

 

Nightwish/Sonata Arctica/Delain At the Colorado Springs Auditorium

NIGTHWISH/SONATA ARCTICA/DELAIN CITY AUDITORIUM COLORADO SPRINGS  MARCH 15

 

The City Auditorium isn’t a stranger to great Metal shows in my hometown of Colorado Springs, but it is an unlikely venue for a show of this caliber.  My first time there and I was leary of having seats for a Symphonic Metal show, but my height is definitely suited for seats.  It is an entirely different experience to watch these three bands from seats,but in a very good way.  It was my third time seeing Delain, and second time for both Nightwish and Sonata Arctica.  I was very excited for this show, because I knew they would change the setlists from the tour last year.  I was ecstatic with the addition of Sonata to this tour, I felt like they were a better support than Sabaton for Nightwish.  Although, I bought the tickets before Sonata was added and expected a Delain support set, meaning a longer set than their 30 to 45 minute set.  I am a huge fan of Delain and desperately want a longer set in the states, but they made the best with their 8 song set.

 

Hands down Delain’s set was the best I have ever heard them play live.  The band was just absolutely electric with energy and really left it all on stage.  The crowd was sadly not giving them the energy the deserved, so they really tried to get the Colorado Springs fans to participate.  Delain are an extremely hard working band and I think it paid off as more and more people were getting into it.  “Suckerpunch”, the newest addition to Delain’s catalogue off the Lunar Prelude EP, brought in their set heavy and loud.  Ruben Israel’s drumming shined on this song live greatly, as well as the addition of Merel Bechtold’s guitars.  The band’s sound is more rounded than ever with two new energetic and talented members.  “Get the Devil Out of Me” is one of my favorite songs I have ever seen live, if this song doesn’t get the crowd off their feet then nothing else will.  I noticed the band’s dynamics and synchronicity of play have gotten even better since the last show in Colorado.  “Army of Dolls” is a new addition to the short American setlists and was a massively impressive hit between vocals and one hell of a guitar solo.  I also love the chemistry between Charlotte, Timo, and Merel and it was very evident on this song.  Also, the raw message of this song is very relevant to society right now, and it hits hard for an American girl like me.  Then Delain gave Colorado a very special treat with “Sing To Me” featuring Marco Hietala of Nightwish.  Marco has been a featured guest on Delain records since their origin.  It’s always special to see Charlotte and Marco perform together, two of the most fantastic voices in Metal.  Delain also played the hauntingly beautiful “Turn the Lights Out” off Lunar Prelude, one of the best songs of the night.  They also jammed to “Don’t Let Go” and their classic anthem “We Are the Others” before ending the blazingly fast set with epic ballad “Not Enough”.  Of the three times I’ve seen Delain, this was by far their best set.  Charlotte held notes longer than I’d ever heard before  and the mixing was for once spot on for vocals and the rest of the band.  One of the best performances I’ve ever seen and I cannot wait for a Delain headliner in the USA.

 

Sonata Arctica is a band whose catalogue translates better to a live setting, so seeing them is always a huge honor.  The entire band has an epic live sound with immense energy and emotion.  Songs like the opener “The Wolves Die Young” and “My Land” and “Don’t Say A Word” are insanely fast and dynamic, Tommy Portino on drums gave it his all, stunning the crowd with his speed.  Tony Kakko on vocals is always charming, entertaining, and an unparalleled powerhouse.  I was floored to experience “Last Drop Falls”, getting my hopes up for a rare duet with Tony and Charlotte, but my excitement was to no avail.  The song was moving and a flawless live performance nonetheless.  Keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg shined on “The Cage” with an insane keytar solo, managing to make the keytar a heavy instrument.  Keyboardist Henrik and guitarist Elias also had a killer dual, something I have never experienced before.  Sonata’s set was absolutely fantastic, but seemed extremely short for a support band.  I would’ve loved an extra two songs like “Replica” or “Cloud Factory” or “Letter to Dana”.  A legendary Power Metal band such as Sonata deserves a longer set, especially since Colorado goes nuts for this band.  Nonetheless, Sonata played another mind blowing set for Colorado fans.

 

Nightwish is either a band you love or hate, or just love or hate the singer, but either way Nightwish is an incredible live band.  On North American tours it is a blessing to see them in smaller venues as opposed to large festivals and stadiums.  A more intimate setting like the auditorium is a very fitting setting for Nightwish, even though they’re used to bigger crowds.  Songs like “Yours is An Empty Hope” and “Shudder Before the Beautiful” off their latest record are absolutely incredible live.  The dynamics of this band are extremely unique, sometimes having lulls in their set and then massive uprisings.  Seeing Nightwish live is an emotional roller coaster with songs like “My Walden”, “While Your Lips Are Still Red”, and massive ballad “Ghost Love Score”, the songs mediate between heavy and flowing beautiful piano parts from visionary Tuomas Holopainen. Although the songs had some long waits in between them, the set was high quality and exciting.  The song of the night was their mega hit, “Nemo”, getting everyone on their feet and experiencing occasional tears.  “Nemo” is one of Floor Jansen’s best live songs, as well as “Stargazers”.  She is an unbelievably powerful vocalist and should be recognized as one of the greatest of all time.  Her vocal stamina and power are indescribable live, especially in an indoor venue with fantastic acoustics from all areas.  Having Troy Donockley as a full time member is definitely a blessing as well.  His performance on the pipes and also guitar was mesmerising, he has some of the best stage presence in the band, I really enjoyed his vibe on stage.  Nightwish overall has good stage presence, but lacked fan interaction at the Colorado Springs show.  I heard of better fan interactions at other shows on the tour, so I think Colorado is not the best state for Nightwish.  However, they soldiered on and had an impressive reaction to their final song “Greatest Show on Earth”.  I was approached by a diehard Nightwish fan after the show and was insulted because I was wearing a Delain shirt.  He said, “That set was so much better than Delain’s” in so many words.  I told him the truth, I come for all three bands but always show extra support for my favorite.  Comparing bands live is pointless, but it shows that Nightwish will always have diehard fans wherever they go.