Ostara – Kingdom Gone

Finally the second album of Ostara has been released, two years after the debut “Secret Homeland”. In between Ostara has made various singles, which showed that the direction of the debut was further developed. Without completely abandoning the apocalyptic folk style of its predecessor Strength Through Joy, the sound of Ostara was becoming more poppy. With a stress on pleasant, ‘earwurm’ melodies, intelligent lyrics and a very good production. Various sixties influences can be heard. Besides a few more experimental tracks, the majority of the songs on this album are pretty accessible, and could appeal to a bigger audience. Which is something different than saying that Ostara has ‘sold-out’.

Shortly after the recordings of this album, central figure Richard Leviathan parted ways with Timothy Jenn. A new line-up now is formed, so that Ostara can promote this album with concerts later his year. Perhaps a little disapointing was that I already knew half of the songs on “Kingdom Gone” from the previous singles: ‘Trees march North’, ‘Overworld’, ‘Never weep’ and Divine Wind’. But on the other hand, why should you use your best songs only on limited singles?

Opener ‘Bavaria’ is already a classic. Already months ago it could be downloaded from Ostara’s mp3.com page. It has a very attractive, timeless melody and the chorus (‘I’ll meet you here, In Bavaria / In dreams we’ll live forever, forver”) is very suited to sing along with. The next song ‘Hammer of Ages’ starts with an orchestral introduction, reminding me of some military parade. Then it evolves into a midtempo popsong. Not the best song in my opinion, it’s a bit too repetitive. One of the highlights is ‘Sword of Reverie’, very cheerful with a great melody, an instant hit. A remarkable track is ‘Tatenokai’, at first i thought they made a mistake at the pressing plant to include this track. A strange Oriental techno track.. Bonzai!

But don’t worry, it is followed by ‘Life’s symmetry’, an intimate acoustic song. Then comes the excellent ‘Transsylvania’, in which I find Richard’s vocals especially good. The last song, ‘Kingdom Gone’, is a spoken word track, which is really grim, a sermon about hell and the blood of Christ, with references to the Twin Towers. All religion can be buried, only ‘Shunyata’ remains, the Buddhist concept of nothingness…

artist: Ostara
label: Eis & Licht
details: 12 tracks