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Triangulating between early Hole, Kittie and Slipknot, Otep is basically poetry-jamming uncloseted-lesbian PETA supporter Otep Shamaya and whatever metal dudes she surrounds herself with. Since forming at the millennium's dawn, at least four guitarists and two drummers have passed through the West Coast band -- and that only counts ones who played on actual albums. At least five more of each have gone on tour, and 2011's Atavist was manned by session musicians; even bassist "eViL j", who recorded on all of the band's previous outputs, was absent. But Shamaya's aesthetic -- proudly disturbing, ugly and transgressive, from occult-altar-style album art on down -- remains. After being corralled for Ozzfest by Sharon Osbourne and debuting with a 2001 EP called Jihad (released three months before September 11), Otep put out their first full-length, Sevas Tra, in 2002. The record peaked at No. 145 on the Billboard 200, and each of their subsequent albums charted higher than its predecessor, which suggests that Shamaya's soul- and teeth-baring fury strikes a chord with a growing group of outcasts.
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