With their fifth malevolent creation, Atavist, Otep dig deep, delivering a pummeling batch of songs that are equal parts catchy and cacophonous, from the brutal “I Alone” to the anthemic “Fists Fall” to the phenomenal “Atom to Adam.” Unfortunately, frontwoman Otep Shamaya's tendency for self-indulgent poetic license that often bloated her prior albums is still present. But the actual songs here definitely live up, in the best way, to the record’s title, which is defined as "one that is marked with a recurrence of or reversion to an ancestral form or a past style, manner, outlook, approach, or activity." Shamaya's unmistakable demonic roar is as savage as ever, putting even the most brutal of vocalists in the metal scene to the test. Likewise, her band's primal, pounding post-nu-metal riffage is as heavy as anything the group has ever recorded. But spoken-word tracks like “Baby’s Breath” and “Bible Belt” break the album’s momentum and would be better sequestered to their own stand-alone poetry-slam record. Still, there's no denying that “We Dream Like Lions” is a great and hypnotizing song. Also very impressive is Otep's cover of the Door’s classic “Not to Touch the Earth.” Ultimately, despite the spoken word tracks, Atavist proves a successful reemergence of the best animalistic traits and tendencies of Otep's previous offerings, resulting in a feral, furious metal record to be reckoned with. JEREMY BORJON
Only $1.66 per issue!