Capitol recording artist OTEP has the announced the release of the highly anticipated new album, "The_ Ascension", which is slated for unveiling on March 20. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Dave Fortman (EVANESCENCE, MUDVAYNE) and recorded throughout 2006 in New Orleans, the album is the band's fourth label release, following 2004's celebrated "House of Secrets"."Dave was an amazing guy to work with," says Otep Shamaya, the namesake and creative heart of L.A.'s OTEP. "He has such a gift for tonality and rhythm and he really became a fifth member of the band. He helped us manifest a sound that allows each instrument to play a vital role in every song. The strength of this album is sexier and more seductive, but is still just as powerful and emotional as our live shows." On working with OTEP, Fortman remarks, "To work with musicians of this caliber was an honor and an inspiration for me. OTEP is a force to be reckoned with in the music world. I feel very lucky to be a part of a record this original and that sets the bar for women in the heavy music scene." Unrelenting yet vibrant and utterly musical, "The_ Ascension" features the aggressive rhythms and defiant vocal performances — on such tracks as "March of the Martyrs" and "Crooked Spoons" — that fans have flocked to throughout the band's more than five-year history. The album also reflects the band's ever-present drive to challenge genre conventions, as with the stirring, delicate sounds of "Perfectly Flawed" — a melodic gem that places Otep's compelling vocals at center stage. The multifaceted album is further highlighted by the explosive dynamics and looming drama found on songs including "Milk of Regret" and the band's inspired rendition of NIRVANA's "Breed". "We recorded 'Breed' to celebrate an inspiration that means so much to me," says Otep of NIRVANA and Kurt Cobain in particular. "His death left a huge vacancy in this world and I wanted offer a tribute to a band that had done so much for music. Our version still sounds like an OTEP song but honors the original, which is exactly what we wanted." In addition to writing with longtime comrade and original bass player, eViL j, the band recruited guitarist Karma Cheema and drummer Brian Wolff. The multitalented Otep teamed with Grammy-nominated MUDVAYNE guitarist Greg Tribbett in composing "Invisible", "Crooked Spoons", and the powerful protest anthem, "Confrontation". She also collaborated with Grammy-winning songwriter Holly Knight to create the hauntingly beautiful "Perfectly Flawed". In the meantime, OTEP is leading the way in developing new ways to engage their fans utilizing various communication technologies. The Los Angeles-based quartet is already stirring anticipation for "The_ Ascension" by hitting the road in late November on what will be the first-ever fan-generated tour. The tour, which sees OTEP partnering with Eventful.com, Snapvine.com and Umundo.com breaks new ground in the music industry by allowing fans to determine the tour route. In addition to selecting the venues, OTEP fans can also help determine the band's set list by voting for songs via cell-phone during select shows. The release of the band's Paul Brown-directed companion video to "Ghostflowers" coincides with a fan-generated video contest. In conjunction with SingShot.com, OTEP will offer their fans the chance to create personalized versions of OTEP's "Ghostflowers" video, with OTEP personally selecting the winner. "We have always encouraged our fans to explore their uniqueness and creativity," says Otep of the "Ghostflowers" contest. "The beauty of web 2.0 and citizen marketing empowers them to be even more active and allows us to reward the people that support our music and message the most." Future endeavors include collaborations with ChipIn.com, in which OTEP will utilize ChipIn's innovative donations widget to allow fans to donate to OTEP's own philanthropic venture, "You Are Not Alone", as well as other charity organizations via the Internet. OTEP is used to defying the norm. They were signed without a demo (purely on the power of their live performance), and played the eighth show of their career on the very prominent stage of Ozzfest 2001 — after accepting an invitation from Sharon Osbourne to join the enormously popular traveling festival. Later that year the band released their "Jihad" EP, before stepping out in 2002 with their full-length debut, "Sevas Tra". A return trip to Ozzfest in 2002 found the band making further creative and performance inroads, earning a dedicated and popular following along the way. 2004 saw the release of "House of Secrets", which spawned a hit single and companion video with "Warhead". Last year, the road-ready OTEP headlined the "Alliance of Defiance" multi-artist U.S. tour, which featured such musical allies as BLOODSIMPLE, CANDIRIA, and THE AUTUMN OFFERING. With 400,000 units sold worldwide, the band is now preparing to bring "The_ Ascension" worldwide.