Otep House of Secrets
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Marilyn Manson

Otep's House of Secrets in high-concept art and poetry in the form of dark metal. That's really the only way to describe this effort. House of Secrets features a number of brutal tracks intermittently sprinkled between lulling soundscapes, spoken word tirades and disconnected ramblings. Described as "Marilyn Manson-meets-Kim Gordon", the band features female vocalist Otep who acts as ringmaster of this offbeat metal circus. Musically, the band features a mixture of sounds that play off the lulling moods that the album goes through.

Talent-wise, Otep's band features some creative individuals who aren't afraid to throw in some different moods and sounds to the mix. Instead of being full-blown metal all the time, the songs have a certain ebb and flow to the mix. When the music does kick in, it's savage and relentless. Otep's vocals feature a wide range, going from thrashing rage to a more subdued temperament. On a handful of the songs, Joey Jordison of Slipknot provides the drum tracks, which is a nice bonus as his performances are always top of the line.

The album opens with Requiem, a soundscape littered with rage and screams, like a slice of Otep's personal hell. This is followed up by Warhead, a fast and brutal track that feels a lot like Slayer in execution and power. The vocals are heavy on the growling and really punctuate the high octane aspect of the song. Buried Alive begins as a haunting track that lulls forth with bass and slow-paced drums. Near the end of the track, the song shifts gears into a roaring power riff that completely shifts the mood of the song. Sepsis proves to be one of the more straightforward metal tracks and to its credit, does a wonderful job at it.

The title track, House of Secrets, is more high-concept art, providing a more Marilyn Manson-esque dark mood that dances about like a possessed corpse. This is followed by the groove-heavy opening of Hooks & Splinters. After that point, the album takes a dark shift into more moody themes. Gutter is nothing more than sounds with Otep uttering out poetry in spoken word manner. This is followed by a morose Autopsy Song that barely audible, even when it reaches its rage-induced climax. After this is the lengthy Suicide Trees, which takes a while to get to it's point, making a long trek to a tribal-like finale. The album gets back on track with Nein and Self-Made, two heavy tracks that prove to be the powerful bookend to Warhead. The album ends with Shattered Pieces, yet another spoken word piece that's barely pieced together enough to be considered coherent.

While I strongly appreciate the artistic "concept album" flair that House of Secrets presents, I would have to say that I'm rather disappointed with the lack of actual songs on this album. If I want instant gratification, I can only get it with a handful of tracks. Once you listen to the album as a whole, you're most likely going to want to skip between four and five tracks altogether, trimming the album down to less than thirty minutes of listenable music.

Otep is one of those acts that is sure to stay with their own off-beat mannerisms and the metal world is better for it. House of Secrets is a good album that begs for more content, leaving metal fans waiting patiently for the next offering.

- - Vane

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