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
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.