Octavia Sperati - Winter Enclosure - 2005 - Candlelight Records
1. Intro 2. Lifelines of Depths 3. Soundless 4. Icebound 5. Hymn 6. Hunting Eye 7. Future Is 8. Below Zero 9. Wasted on the Living 10. Without Air (Before) 11. Without Air (After)
Octavia Sperati are an all-female gothic/doom band hailing from Norway. Their aptly named debut full-length, Winter Enclosure, was produced by none other than Herbrand Larsen and Ave Isdal of Enslaved. The crisp production is only one of many high points for the band, as they deliver forth a powerful yet depressive album. Their style of music isn’t what you’d expect from a female fronted “gothic” band. The tempo of the songs rarely goes over a mid-pace tempo, and the keyboards are used almost exclusively for atmosphere. The band’s strict doom metal approach may turn away fans looking for something more in the vein of Nightwish or Lacuna Coil, but inaccurate comparisons should by no means be cause for a band’s downfall.
Vocalist Silje Wergeland has a relatively deep voice when compared to other clean-singing female vocalists, but that doesn’t stop her from hitting high notes when she needs to. On “Lifelines of Depths” she does an especially good job of this, varying the pitch of her voice nicely to keep the listener interested. The guitar work is solid throughout most of the album; Gyri Losnegaard and Bodil Myklebust chug out steady riffs consistently. During certain parts of “Icebound,” it almost seems like they’re taking an approach that would be more akin to black metal – dual grinding, distorted guitars low under the vocals. The drumming could use a bit of work, however. Oftentimes it lags behind the music a bit – the pace needs to be increased a bit, with more snare and less double bass.
After only one listen to Winter Enclosure, it’s clear that Octavia Sperati’s music is dominated by vocals. Silje has enough variation in her vocal cords to sound emotional, haunting, happy, or sad; she can more or less fit any theme that the band’s going for. Musically, Octavia Sperati may come off as average at first, and even after several listens it’s hard to see them as overly spectacular. For a debut album, however, they show a lot of potential. Fans of After Forever and The Gathering will probably find something they like here, as will doom metal fans looking for something a bit different.
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