Octavia Sperati - Winter Enclosure
Gothic Atmopsheric Doom
11 songs (40'41")
Release year: 2005
Octavia Sperati, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

It is unfair, but nonetheless a fact, that Octavia Sperati will have to answer one annoying (for them anyway) question. At least early on in their career. With an all-girl line-up, is this Norwegian band a gimmick? Pardon me if I sound sexist, but that was the first question that popped in my mind when I opened a promo card, and so it will be the case with many other people. “Oh, please, not another Kittie”, I thought to myself. I will be happy to report then that Octavia Sperati is here on its own merit, no gimmicks, and Winter Enclosure is as solid a debut as they come.

It is, again, unfair (who said life is fair, anyway?) to compare female fronted bands. The truth is, however, there are much fewer metal bands where a girl is singing, so the stupid “let’s see if there is an analogy” game is almost always on. And so I became the prey to the trend, first trying to think who front lady Silje sounds like, missing the big picture in the process. I had to drive a lot on this hot’n’sticky day, all irritated with minutia, Winter Enclosure missing the mark. A few days later weather turned to crap, cold rain beating on my car windows, and the album began to make sense.

Remember when The Gathering used to be metal? I do, although vaguely, almost never listening to Mandyllion and Nighttime Birds these days. If you take those albums and replace the penchant for pretentiousness with a cold inner core, you will get a remote idea of what Winter Enclosure sounds like. Lifelines of Depth, undoubtedly the strongest track on the album, is the model display of Octavia Sperati. Heavy guitars with muddy production, pensive melodies and leads with Silje Wergeland forcefully floating over this gothico-atmospheric gamut, her voice modulations very reminiscent of Anneke von Girsbergen. However, if The Gathering was more about ether and space, Octavia Sperati is definitely leaning onto earth and doom. Guitars, with few prominent leads, churn out chords which are doomy in nature (Below Zero, Without Air – After), not crushing with heaviness but certainly scraping one soul’s bottom. Keyboards add an obligatory atmosphere, winter and Norwegian nature the main inspirations for the band. Some songs (Without Air – Before) sound as they were born in some remote Norwegian cabin with Silje Wergeland’s voice leaving soothing tender kisses on frozen windows. She keeps this persona most of the time, only rarely sounding girlish during short piano interlude Hymn or coy at the beginning of Without Air – After.

Except offbeat, experimental and trippy Soundless and totally out-of-place acceleration on Future Is I can relate to most everything on Winter Enclosure, gothic, doomy, serene and atmospheric at the same time. A few points have to be deducted, however, for not being able to hold on to Horgh’s (ex-Immortal, Hypocrisy, ex-Grimfist) girlfriend as a drummer. If she was only half as good as her boyfriend, the band would have benefited. Drumming on Winter Enclosure is a little pushed back and non-descript.

Killing Songs :
Lifelines of Depths, Icebound, Below Zero
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Octavia Sperati that we have reviewed:
Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon May 16, 2005 4:27 pm
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