Octavia Sperati- Grace Submerged

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, July 28, 2007

I have a confession to make. With the exception of one or two bands, the female fronted gothic band has never stuck my fancy. But despite that, the genre has skyrocketed to new popularity in recent years with the success of groups such as Tristania, Lacuna Coil, and Collide. One of the newer bands to join the genre was Norway’s Octavia Sperati, who has now unleashed their sophomore album Grace Submerged. Mixing in doom metal influences with the traditional gothic flair, this album is a good listen that ultimately falls short due to some repetition.

While some female gothic metal bands fall into the trap of having their vocals sound too cheesy or too high pitched, Octavia Sperati’s singer Silje Wergeland has the perfect vocal range to match up with the heavier instrumentals. Whereas some groups have tried to have their singers go way too high in pitch, Wergeland’s range feels just right and helps the music to have plenty of melody without becoming irritating.

As previously mentioned, the instrumentals on Grace Submerged seek to add a slight doom metal flair to the gothic metal genre. This works fairly well and helps the band to stand out above much of the genre (especially considering how mainstream and generic Lacuna Coil has become in recent years), but Octavia Sperati haven’t quite perfected it yet. This album suffers from a little too much instrumental repetition throughout, with the occasional standout song (the piano driven “Don’t Believe a Word” is a great listen). The band has improved from their debut, but they still need to work on keeping things fresh throughout the entire album.

I may still not be able to get into the majority of female fronted metal bands, but Octavia Sperati is another exception to add to the list. It may not be perfect, but Grace Submerged is a solid album that is more complex than the generic bands that the genre has been producing for the last couple of years. While it won’t change anyone’s mind that isn’t already into the style and Octavia Sperati could still use some more varied riffs, Grace Submerged showcases growth for a still somewhat new artist.


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