Otep’s Concept Album ‘Hydra’ Gets A First Vinyl Release

Craft Recordings celebrates the 10th anniversary of Otep’s concept album, Hydra, with its first-ever vinyl release. The cinematic Metal album is based on a novella by the band’s founder and frontwoman, Otep Shamaya, and centers on the story of a vigilante assassin named Hydra.

Arriving October 6th, 2023, Hydra is presented as a 2-LP gatefold set and features an etching on Side D, based on the character of Hydra and emblazoned with Otep’s signature tenet, “Art Saves.” The design, which will also be available on a limited Apple Red edition (exclusively via CraftRecordings.com), was overseen by Shamaya.

Founded in late 2000 by singer and songwriter Otep Shamaya, the Los Angeles Metal band caught the attention of manager and TV personality Sharon Osbourne, who invited them to join 2001’s Ozzfest.

Over the next few years, Otep established themselves as an outspoken act with political songs. Shamaya, meanwhile, had already published two books of poetry, earned a 2010 GLAAD nomination for Outstanding Music Artist and was a guest speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

For her sixth LP, however, Shamaya drew inspiration from a novella she had written, titled None Shall Sleep. She set to work on a concept album, written from the perspective of its anti-hero, Hydra. Speaking to fans on Facebook, Shamaya explained the character’s backstory:

Corrupted by the world, corrugated by evil, ripped away from the golden, molten elixir of creativity, and abandoned on the placid, jagged rocks of a cruel and barbaric island. . . . This is a story of her personal alchemy of theophagy, revenge, and righteousness. Her rise from the smoldering ash as . . . a vigilante serial assassin, codename: Hydra.

The album was Produced by Ulrich Wild (Pantera, Deftones, Static-X).

Reflecting on the creative process a decade later, Shamaya shares:

Hydra is a very unique and special album to me. Out of all nine albums, it’s only the second concept album I’ve written besides House of Secrets, which was an exciting challenge to undertake: adapting a novella into songs and to transcribe it as the main character herself. I did a lot of research into the minds of serial killers, thrill killers, and mass murderers. One of the most impactful moments of research was listening to the Ted Bundy tapes, which had been retrieved from an old tape recorded and played in mono (so only in my left ear) as he whispered where he had hidden the head of one of his youngest victims.

As Hydra neared its release, Otep announced that it would be their final album.

A year later, Shamaya announced that Otep would continue to release new material. Generation Doom arrived in 2016, followed by Kult 45 in 2018. Today, Otep Shamaya continues to stay active on the road. Outside of music, she is busy as a voiceover actor, appearing in the likes of The Last of Us, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, World of Warcraft: Legion and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

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