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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'The Ascension' (Koch Records)
Artist - Otep

Otep's (r)evolution continues...!

Few times have I seen a CD get pushed back as much as Otep's The Ascension has. But, we can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was well worth the wait.

One of the best things about Otep is the fact that they evolve with each new release. Sevas Tra was mainly heavy with a few melodic parts. House of Secrets dealt more with the eery side with some standout heavy parts. And now, with The Ascension, the heaviness rules supreme again but the eeriness is always palpable and seems as if it could show up at any time.

Then there's Otep's lyrics. My God. I've heard some intense lyrics but I really doubt many could hold a flame to Otep. There's not a lot of new ground broken, she deals mainly with the same topics (God, religion, self-abuse, etc.) but she does it with such a flare that it evokes as much emotion in us as the previous CDs have. As for the vocals, they saw a major change from Sevas Tra to House of Secrets, and there's more change introduced to us with The Ascension. Maybe it was because I haven't heard anything new from them in so long but I thought her voice had changed significantly. With further listens though, it really hasn't. Her roars are still insane, her rap-ish moments are still tastefully done, and her singing--yeah I said it--is actually pretty good, resembling Poe a little.

As with every Otep CD, the music is always intense, whether it's heavy or just a piano, there's always that feeling of dread and creepiness. Special mention musically goes to Milk of Regret. The simple guitar melody mixed with the tribal drumming works wonders for the song. It begins slow but just completely erupts towards the end, classic Otep.

Every fan of Otep, whether you were around from Sevas Tra--or the Jihad EP--or just discovered them after House of Secrets was released, everyone will find salvation in this CD. The Blood Pig-esque songs are definitely here. See Eet The Children, Crooked Spoons, Noose & Nail, and March of the Martyrs. The Warhead-esque songs are here. See Confrontation and Home Grown. Then there's the slow-to-fast songs like Milk of Regret, Ghostflowers, and Invisible. Heck, we even get a radio-worthy (if only, God knows Otep would bring some much needed originality to it) track in Perfectly Flawed.

Pay special attention to Otep's version of the Nirvana classic, Breed. It has every oportunity to be corny, unneeded, and flat out stupid, but for some reason they really pull it off and pay a great homage to it.

My favorite songs are Crooked Spoons, Perfectly Flawed, Milk of Regret, Noose & Nail, and March of the Martyrs. Otep is finally back and demanding attention. Few will give The Ascension the due it truly deserves but this ranks right up there with the best CDs of 2007 for sure. Each song begs repeated listens and the CD as a whole is easy to listen to fully. There's a little something for every different brand of metalhead out there. Highly recommended.