Octavia Sperati Winter Enclosure

Darkly haunting, equal parts goth, doom, and rock, Octavia Sperati’s debut spins a delicate yet powerful web of mystery and romance. The season of snow and ice, a dominant one in the band’s Norwegian homeland, provides inspiration, but the sounds themselves are much warmer, from the rich tones of Silje Wergeland’s voice to the thick metal riffs and unflinching drive, and the softer moments of contrast holding it all together. Produced by Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal of Enslaved, Winter Enclosure sounds big, conveying Octavia’s strength while capturing the band’s subtleties as well. Though inevitably inviting comparisons to the Gathering, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and the like, Octavia is distinct and vital enough to stand entirely on its own. (Candlelight)