Octavia Sperati

Grace Submerged

Candlelight Records 2007

Bergen, Norway's Octavia Sperati tread a fine line between melancholic and moody metal and pop music.  Taking a base of doomy rock and combining it with Silje's ethereal vocals which soar like an eagle, Octavia Sperati manage to make music that is both emotional and accessible without compromising their artistic integrity.  The opener and oldest track Guilty Am I (from their Guilty Demo) serves as a basic model for most of the songs on the album with its crystal clean vocals and the thick chugging riffs of Gyri and Bodil.  Trine gets in on the action strutting her fat and distorted bass as Going North opens.  At its most accessible and mainstream with the track Don't Believe a Word which sounds nearly like it could have been written by Sarah Mclachlan as it is as bitter as it is lovelorn with its stark and haunting piano, strings and sullen vocals.  My favorite song is Dead End Poem in which they use the Mythology based lyric "As Fire swept Clean the Earth" which of course calls to mind their country mates Enslaved.  Though musically these two bands have little in common.  But Dead End Poem is on the slower and less complex side of things for this album with its main focus being on Silje's vocals which are underpinned by the ever-present synth/piano of Tone.  I guess when I consider the musical template of their songwriting I would say that And the The World Froze would qualify as the best of the album with its ghostly vocals and breaks during the chorus which sink their hooks into my ears.  With all that I have already said I can attest this sextet knows how to jam out and entice the listener in with honeyed sweetness before noticing that it has been laced with poison which blackens both the listener's mood and soul.  Octavia Sperati has a solid sound with broad appeal and I can certainly see them expanding beyond the metal community given the right set of breaks and circumstances.