Musical Joy

Octavia (Octavia Sperati)

Octavia

Octavia

Octavia Sperati, formerly known as Octavia, is a gothic metal band from Bergen, Norway in 2000. It was basically the result of new friendships and common musical preferences. The first line-up consisted of Silje Wergeland (vocals, synth), Trine C. Johansen (bass), Bodil Myklebust (guitars) and Gyri Losnegaard (guitars). Shortly after, drummer Silje Røyseth joined the band. In 2001, Silje met Tone Midtgaard and invited her to replace her on keys, completing the line-up which (with the exception of a Spinal Tap-ish trail of past drummers) equals the band as we know it today. When drummer Silje left the band after only a year, the girls persuaded Hege Larsen from local tundra rock band Östblokk to join forces with them. With a brand new line-up Octaviawas honoured to support Enslaved at the release of their ‘Monumension’ album in Bergen in 2001. During the next couple of years Octavia played several gigs in Norway, including major festivals like Hole in the Sky, 1001 Watt (Skien), Ride This Train (Bergen), Rjukan Rock (Rjukan), Slottsfjellfestivalen (Tønsberg), Lost Weekend festival (Askøy) and the Elements of Metal festival (Sandefjord). In 2002 Octavia Sperati released a self-financed, low budget 5-track demo ‘Guilty’. Early 2005 the debut album Winter Enclosure was finished after signing a record deal with Candlelight Records autumn 2004. In 2004 Octavia recorded the first “Lifelines of Depths” music video, that ran on Metal Svisj, Norwegian channel NRK2’s metal video program, for almost 6 months. Rounding off the eventful year 2004, drummer Hege Larsen left the band, and the resisting members immediately started looking for a new drummer. After a few months Octavia found another local drummer, Kristoffer ‘Kikken’ Risbakk Vegsund – the first male member of the band. At last, “Winter Enclosure” was released on May 9th, 2005. “Winter Enclosure” was embraced by both critics and audience. Octavia won flattering comparisons to the likes of Candelmass, The Gathering and The Third and The Mortal, and top UK hard rock magazine, Kerrang! described the album as ‘Extravagant, dramatic doom with a rock ‘n roll heart.’ Octavia reached top 10 best newcomer acts 2005 in highly important Terrorizer magazine. At home, the readers of the newspaper Bergens Tidende chose ‘Winter Enclosure’ as the best album of the year by a local band. Male drummer Kikken was also delighted to find that he was on Terrorizers 10 ten list of “most shaggable females”… Two videos were recorded: ‘Hunting Eye’, which was shot at composer Edvard Grieg’s home Troldhaugen, and a second version of ‘Lifelines of Depths’. The latter was A-listed on the English TV channel Scuzz, and also played at Viva, NBC Giga, NRK2 among others. Both videos made by director Asle Birkeland (Enslaved, Audrey Horne ++). The album being rewarded with great reviews and sales numbers increasing beyond expectations, Ocavia now started touring. Octavia’s played GoNorth, Aberdeen/Scotland in May followed by UK ‘Winter Enclosure Tour’ in June 2005. In September Octavia supported metal legends Paradise Lost, followed by a number of own gigs and an appearance at In The City Music in Manchester. In December, Octavia was granted success as support act on Cradle of Filth’s UK tour together with legendary Cathedral. A few months into the new year 2006, it turned out that Octavia was once again short of a drummer, and the band decided to dedicate some time and effort into finding the right person for the band. On June 6th 2006, at a split concert with Vulture Industries and Syrach, Octavia introduced their fourth drummer Ivar Alver. Ivar also plays in Trine’s side project Hunting League. Preparing the recordings of a new record, Octavia went to Tone’s home in Sandefjord in October 2006 to do a pre-production in Morpheus’s (Limbonic Art, Dimension f3h) studio MO. Shortly after they started recording their second album. Like with ‘Winter Enclosure’, Octavia used producers Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal. Also Bjørnar Nilsen, singer of Vulture Industries and producer of several Bergen bands Helheim, Vulture Industries and Bourbon Flame, assisted during the recording process. Morfeus took part in recording the synth and one of the songs on the album. In addition, Herbrand Larsen collaborated with producer Geir Luedy on the mixing this time. The band hit the road again and supported Amon Amarth and Finntroll in UK and Ireland April 2007. The launch party for the new album “Grace Submerged” took place 16th of May in their home town Bergen at Garage and thereafter Stavanger. UK was once again visited, this time with legendary Fields Of The Nephilim at Astoria, and then with To-Mera at the Underworld. “Grace Submerged” received fantastic reviews all over. To mention some: Big Cheese 5/5: “The likes of ‘Moonlint’ have that droning, gothic feel that will have fans of bands like Type O Negative almost breaking into a smile while haunting ‘…And then the world froze’ is the sound of a band who are surely destined for even bigger things upon the release of this gorgeous album.

Discography (That I Own)

  1. Grace Submerged (2007) – The latest album by Octavia Sperati. This is my first experience with listening to Octavia and in truth I didn’t expect to like the album very much. I usually don’t like Gothic metal because there are usually far more growls and the like for my taste. Well, Octavia is not one of those type of Gothic bands as they prove with this album. The lead singer has a lilting commanding voice that ranges between demanding and sultry to sweet and tender. This band is Gothic due to the content of their songs and not the stereotypical growls and grunts. The guitars are demanding on some songs while soothing on others.

In Conclusion
This band reminds me of Evanescence with an edge. Though I was skeptical about this group I
wanted to give them a chance because they were an all female metal group, though now they have a male drummer. In any case, I found them to be greater than I expected. A great deal of their songs have complex lyrics that cause the listener to think. Their lead singer has a lovely voice and again I cannot stress enough that this band reminds me a great deal of bands like Evanescence, Within Temptation, and even The Gathering but with more edge, something sharper somehow. I know I will have to keep my eyes open for more of their music, both old and new in the future.

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