Like a bat call to Batman, the disasters of 2018 are used to signal political warrior Otep Shamaya. Metal band Otep could not have picked a better time to return, with issues like Trump and consent being as prevalent as ever. Otep attempts to be the voice speaking against these issues in their new album, Kult 45. Although the album is new, they returned to their old sound, recording in The Lair in Los Angeles, the same place where they recorded their first record Sevas Tra. They even used the same equipment, including a Shure Beta 58 microphone. Otep does not just have full control of their equipment, but full control of the album, too, producing it themselves. This is what was necessary for them to get the message across.
In an official statement from Napalm Records regarding the album Shamaya says, “It’s primarily a rallying cry for people with common sense and good-natured patriots to rise up and know that we own this nation.” The rallying cry is blatant in track ‘Halt Right,’ as Shamaya raps, “Hate won’t make America great again.” ‘Molotov’ continues this theme, sounding almost too similar to ‘Halt Right,’ ‘Says The Snake’ opens eerily with a speech, before the screams and drumbeat begin, arguably the catchiest song on the record, having an easy to shout-a-long chorus. ‘Boss’ is another highlight, with “I’m not a boss bitch. I’m just a boss, bitch” becoming an instant motto for all women.
Lone ballad ‘Be Brave’ shows that Shamaya can sing as well as she can rap. She moves away from the screaming of previous albums and raps much more, which seems to be her forte. As if it wasn’t evident enough of Rage Against The Machine being one of the main influences of the album, they cover ‘Wake Up,’ giving it a fresh sound.
Just like Rage Against The Machine, every track seems to tackle a different issue, from the hypocrisy of religion in ‘Cross Contamination’ to the immigrant crisis in ‘Invisible People,‘ to name only a few. Shamaya’s brutally honest lyrics and rhymes drive the album forward, especially her reference to Trump being an “orange whore,” but there are only so many songs you can listen to about political protest, particularly when it’s paired with the same repetitive instrumentation.
Check out the short documentary accompanying the album bleow: