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I don't know if it is because I expected too much out of Octavia Sperati - all-female band, Norwegian, influenced by black metal bands, especially Ensvaled and Immortal - but I find this CD rather...boring. Disappointing and frustrating, almost.
The first song I heard off "Winter Enclosure" was "Lifelines of Depth" and I remember thinking instantly: "this is SO not what I had in mind". Silje, the vocalist, has an angelical and remarkable voice (certainly the best about Octavia alongside with the keyboards), but the guitars are just lame. I miss the fat, big chords - the riffs alone just WON'T do it this time.
I also believe that vocals should definitely be in a higher volume when the band plays gothic / doom metal, but here I don't think it's really that...fair. I'm not sure, though, if I get that impression because the "guitar work" isn't that good, but the first impression is that something is...missing.
Octavia shows their "mellow" songs from the middle part of this CD, which are much, much better than their "heavy" ones. "Hymn", for example, which is more of an intro to "Hunting Eye" (this one also a type of "ballad) and features just Silje's voice and Tone's pianos, is absolutely beautiful. I believe Octavia is a better band playing soft songs, or at least accepting that they, at this very moment (I can't say in the future, though), they are better playing lighter melodies.
I would recommend for anyone who is curious to listen to something by this band, to skip the first three tracks and do not pay mucch attention to "Future is", which begins amazing, but come on, the blast beat is just so teenager. I mean, there was no need for that, and if there's a huge necessity to show black metal roots, then first I would suggest Bodil and Gyri, the guitarists, to begin studying how to write riffs.
Technical details: although the CD cover is a little too minimalist for me, the booklet is very interesting and the art pleases the eye. The idea of photographing as if inside a huge cube of ice serves the CD name very well. Some lyrics can be real silly too (see "Soundless", for example: "I'm shivering, I'm cold / I'm alone for all time / I am surrounded by love / And endlessly warm / But they can't reach me / Cause I can't open") but in Silje's voice they can sound OK :)
Overall I would say this is a regular full-lenght album to begin your career with and I love the thought that these girls can evolve into something really interesting. What lacks is probably being mature.
Best songs: "Hunting Eye", "Wasted on the Living" and "Without Air (After)".