The sophomore effort from art house nu-metal practitioners Otep only briefly flirts with the genre's anarchic political leanings ("Warhead"), focusing instead on the medium's most revered theme: angst. The lupine howl of a shattered youth proclaiming that "I hate my life" is nothing new, so when frontwoman -- and namesake -- Otep screams the phrase endlessly throughout "Buried Alive," she's channeling everyone from post-rock mouthpieces Gordon Gano and Exene Cervenka to pop
ock tunesmiths like Roger Waters and Ricky Nelson. This would be all fine and dandy if the music contained a mere particle of the cathartic spirit of the aforementioned artists. When House of Secrets isn't pummeling the listener into submission with predictable riffs and distorted vocals, it's leading the listener into a sterile waiting room -- bereft of even the most mundane periodical -- of spoken word poetry wrapped in tedious post-Nine Inch Nails soundscapes. Otep is at her most genuine on the title cut, an atmospheric dirge that finds the artist assuming a sultry Chrissie Hynde-like croon, but it's merely a deviation from an exercise that in its entirety is mediocre at best.