Kult 45 is Otep’s best album since, well, since forever. Raw, passionate, and less subtle than a planet-ending asteroid strike, Kult 45 is a crude hate crime in wax to Donald Trump.
Otep tries so hard to hit the mark with this hot cinnamon-flavored blob of bile, that it might have been nice if the effort wasn’t so derivative. Whatever political value this vomitus effluvium decries, it loses in its inability to cogently spew the latest tripe from the politics column in Rolling Stone.
In 13 originals and three covers, Otep Shamaya’s Rage Against the Machine tribute band (“Wake Up” is one of the songs they cover) slams through the tracks with great rhythm guitars. The production is very good and keeps Otep vocal-anchored and rhythmically dynamic. Opener “Hail to the Thief,” a forty second mélange of noise and sound bites cleverly morphs a Donald Trump speech into an Adolf Hitler harangue.
Thus, the single brick is set upon which this album balances… for a few seconds. Halfway through “Halt Right,” the album becomes unbalanced and monotonous. One’s unbridled hatred is another’s political rally.
In an interesting twist on “Let’s turn the show over to the folks waiting on the phones,” Kult 45 ends with “The Tribe Speaks,” a mashup of fan voicemail. Otep Shamaya wants the people heard and the fans’ adoration to ooze forth.
The album is an earnest evocation of protest metal with empathetic appeal to the masochistic minutes spent since the proletariat suffered ruin in the election of 2016. Ultimately though, it has a shelf life of some short months before it becomes a quaint ember in the same smudge-pot as a burning draft card.
(released July 27, 2018 on Napalm Records)
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