Octavia Sperati Grace Submerged

Octavia Sperati’s second album is both a logical step forward and a surprise, falling somewhere between Madder Mortem, Lacuna Coil and even Evanescence. Grace Submerged has actually submerged more of the band’s metallic elements and upped the hard rock factor for a somewhat simplistic but very thick, pumped up sound — aside from the one piano ballad, that is. While the record starts out strong with leadoff single "Guilty Am I,” the meaty texture isn’t enough to hold the songs together or keep the riffs and vocal melodies always moving toward the same goal. "Going North” is another strong track but the second half of Grace Submerged gradually loses steam and its ability to hang on to your attention for more than a few seconds at a time. (Candlelight)