Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged
Atmospheric Gothic Doom
10 songs (37'57")
Release year: 2007
Octavia Sperati, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex

Being dragged in front of TV by my wife to watch Eurovision the revelation hit me. I may have a solution to Norway’s woes at this woebegone event. Plead with Octavia Sperati to go. If these girls decide, although it is unlikely, that this joke parade is not beneath them, at least Norway will be represented by a competent band. C’mon, if Lordi could do it for Finland with a spectacle, perhaps Octavia Sperati can do it for Norway with their hit track Guilty Am I from the latest album Grace Submerged, or, in the very least, with a piano/cello ballad Don’t Believe a Word.

Whatever the case may be, Octavia Sperati has matured. Despite the fact it may be considered a sexist remark, I am sure many wanted to check out this Bergen’s band debut Winter Enclosure because of all-girl lineup and former drummer association with Horgh (Immortal, Hypocrisy). Hopefully, with Grace Submerged the situation will change and people will start checking the band for the music, an interesting take on atmospheric doom with a gothic touch. Besides, it looks like the drummer is a guy now, named Ivar Alver.

If you ever thought The Gathering reached their pinnacle with Mandylion and Nighttime Birds, you are in need of Grace Submerged. Heavy, yet simple, guitar riffs, periodically breaking down into gothic chops a la modern day Paradise Lost (Going North) or throwing an Eastern touch (Provenance of Hate), Grace Submerged songs are made atmospheric by careful synth touches and are being carried forward by Silje Wergeland voice, which does remind me a little of Anneke van Giersbergen. The throat modulations (Moonlit) or the soft, practically defenseless, style (Guilty Am I, Dead End Poem) are quite reasonable points of comparison.

One of the biggest differences that jumped at me comparing Grace Submerged and Winter Enclosure were the way Octavia Sperati sound grew muscles. A ton of credit should go to Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal (Enslaved) for twiddling the knobs during production. As a consequence, or maybe it is the main reason the album sounds the way it does, Trine Johansen (bass) is made into a star of the show, totally usurping the stage on Moonlit or intro to Deprivation. Another reason the album does not slip into monotony, Octavia Sperati was not afraid to cover both side of the aisle, with a couple of softer ballads (Don’t Believe a Word, Dead End Poem), as well as tremolo riffed The Final Rest, which only needs extreme vocals to be not out of place on a melodic black metal record.

Even though the majority of the songs on Grace Submerged are stylistically similar, I tended to like some more than others, not to mention again those which went outside of the envelope. It did seem a little tiring when this dreamy/heavy foundation was laid on a little thick, almost to a drony quality (And Then the World Froze, Deprivation), so I preferred it be torn apart with a double bass pummeling into a ritualistic moment (the end of Moonlit).

Killing Songs :
Guilty Am I, Moonlit, Don't Believe a Word, The Final Rest
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Octavia Sperati that we have reviewed:
Octavia Sperati - Winter Enclosure reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
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