Otep Shamaya says, "Art is war." The singer for her namesake L.A.-based metal-fusion band, Otep, considers herself a revolutionary, and makes art catharsis via visceral screams and songs that sear the ears like hot grease. Her lyrics are laden with apocryphal poetics about religion, politics, love, and loathing; she's a big fan of Jim Morrison, and his influence emerges in lines like "Here in the serial killer holy land/It's not over" ("Hooks & Splinters") and "Palace of madness and sadness" ("Communion"). Despite more lineup changes (bassist eViL J is the only other remaining original member of the band) and a label change (the band took its 2007 album, The_Ascension, from Capitol and on to Koch), Otep has remained one of the premier avant-garde metal acts in the nation. The_Ascension is filled with fierce, provocative tracks (like the raging "Eat the Children" and the pummeling number "Crooked Spoons") but balanced with a few more ornamented, sophisticated numbers, most notably the piano-laced power ballad "Perfectly Flawed." Shamaya refers to the band's live performances as "ritual," incorporating symbols like severed baby doll heads and decapitated pig craniums into the experience.
Mon., Feb. 15, 6 p.m., 2010