CONCERT REVIEW: OTEP – Inimical Drive – Cemetery Legacy Live at Old Iron Sides


It had been far too long since I have seen OTEP, when I arrived in Sacramento, at the start of a road trip. Other than a few one-offs to celebrate some album anniversaries, the band had not been on tour since 2019 and I have not had the good fortune to see them even then. Excitement was high as I arrived at the venue for the “Sermons of Fire Tour” and mingled with many fans who lined up early, and made some new friends. I saw many with OTEP tattoos and heard personal stories, exchanging some favorite show anecdotes or talking about personal experiences with meeting Otep Shamaya herself. Sac always has great metal fans of all stripes. Amazing stuff. Everyone was buzzing about the show and the new album, coming later in 2023.


Old Ironsides is a fresh little club with a great vibe, and decent sound. I had never been to it in my few years living in the Bay, but the staff was first-class all the way, and the fans were cool. There was a fan with a broken foot and we keep making room for her upfront and protecting her from occasional moshers. Classy!


After hanging with Inimical Drive on their bus and doing a wide-ranging interview for our podcast, I ran inside to catch the rest of Bay Area locals Cemetery Legacy, a killer extreme metal band with a great vocalist. The local crowd seemed to be repping them hard and even knew the songs. I look forward to catching them again sometime. Next was Inimical Drive! A multi-faceted band with the ability to shift from brutal modern metal to hard rock in the same song, they promised me before the show they would make the most of their slot. The band opened up a can of whoop-ass, although I observed the fans we cautious. Still, the band captured their attention and by the end of the set there were many new fans. For a bunch of guys packing a tiny stage, they played with a lot of energy and stage presence, terrific guitar solos, slamming drums, and great vocals. They definitely leveled up and it was a performance to be proud of, for sure.


The change over to OTEP’s gear was pretty seamless. The small room tightened up with fans pushing to get close to their returning heroes. With the strains of the classic devil music Carl Orf’s “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, the band came on to a cheer and finally Otep emerged from the side where their costume changes take place. The tiny stage could barely contain Otep on the riser, and they frequently punch the ceiling grates in all night. Still, no stage could cage the beast that was about to be released on us.



Immediately launching into “Battle Ready” the vibe was immediately lit as the band crushed the track while Otep’s flowed that familiar fiery lava rhymes. I was pleased with how many fans were shouting along, and not just at the anthemic chorus either. The Sermons of Fire Tour is a celebration of not just the return to touring of a vital act in heavy music, but of their debut Sevas Tra (20 years old in 2022), and also the album Hydra (10 years). The set list was rife with heavy jams, but also the classics OTEP theatrics: part poetry seance, part Rock N Roll revival meeting, part protest against wannabe political and religious leash holders. Otep spit hot fire in her verses with a reinvigorated level of grit and venom, that as an attendee of many shows in 20 years, was on a new level of hard.


In addition to a freestyle jam, and the announcement of a new single and new album incoming, the set list highlights included “Eet The Children,” “Blood Pigs,” “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts, “My Confession, “T.R.I.C.,” and, “Lords of War,” “Menocide,” and more. A tribute to the band, the fans would not allow them to leave without playing one more song. The lights came on but the crowd kept chanting their name. Thanking the crowd humbly, OTEP closed with their cover of “Breed” by Nirvana and left us all sweaty and sated.


For now.




Setlist via

O Fortuna (on tape)

Battle Ready

Eet the Children

Blood Pigs

Equal Rights, Equal Lefts

My Confession


Apex Predator


Lords of War


Smash the Control Machine




Breed (Nirvana cover)


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