OCTAVIA SPERATI is a band with five Norwegian women playing an interesting mixture of Doom Metal and Gothic Rock. Now, which part of that sentence was hard to catch, exactly, the women right? Before you close this digital window, I’d like to say something. Believe me or not, this works. “Winter Enclosure” sheds intimate, introspective, soul searching music, these girls will have none of that fashioned girl power, they’ll rather take a dive into their personalities and turn whatever cryptic emotion found into atmospheric and metallic sounds!!! This is great promotion for Metal music, female fronted Metal bands have existed for quite a while, all female groups are the next step. Ok we’ve had the frustrated aggressions from the chicks in HOLE and KITTIE but OCTAVIA SPERATI really is an all female Metal band with real Metal as their blueprint though not as extreme as ASTARTE.
The band is five years old this year, the basic idea started out from casual talk from several drunken sessions and snowballed steadily from there up to their debut album “Winter Enclosure”. I didn’t catch this at first, I mean women usually rock out, not head bang and girls just wanna have fun… ok that’s pretty chauvinistic thinking patterns coming from my side. Point is that I was surprised of the compositional and performing level of the band.
Their music runs in a “Mandylion” like atmospheric pace only scarcely stepping down to doomy tempos here and there and toying with one or two chilly Black Metal moments as payback to their duo of producers whose main bands are none other than ENSLAVED and AUDREY HORNE, some instruments were recorded at Grieghallen Studios so there’s a strange mix of individuals involved but the vision is definitely shared between them. These gothic temptresses work with heavy guitars and atmospheric keyboards, underneath we find a slow rhythm keeping things in doom mode complementing the emotional lead guitars and soaring vocals, sounds pretty normal but they definitely put thought into the arrangements that’s for sure.
“Lifelines Of Depths” opens up with cold Black Metal guitar harmonies, which I didn’t expect at all, then shifts into a more down to earth Goth style not far from THE GATHERING back in the day when they knew how to write good riffs and melodies. THIRD AND THE MORTAL pops up in the closing tracks displaying more experimental ideas but again, they can’t seem to stay away from the vintage glory of THE GATHERING, a huge influence to the sound of the band. “Icebound” and “Below Zero” borrows some BLACK SABBATH chords and blends them with unexpected tremolo picks on the guitars and various experimental features, oddly, it all sounds catchy and distinct, the vocals however take some time to get used to.
The music has such a soulful vibe, the only downside I see is the sound, which needs more sonic power. An interesting and somewhat strange album, these songs don’t follow any standard protocol but the two constants flowing in each track are of gloominess and experimental input and to think there are five females behind all of this, Candlelight has a new ace on their band rooster, no question about it. (Online August 8, 2005)