Strength through Joy – The force of truth and lies

Before changing their name to Ostara, Richard Leviathan and Timothy Jenn operated under the name Strength through Joy. “The force of truth and lies” is their first full-length album and was released in 1995 on NER, well-known from lots of Death in June releases. Besides that, Douglas P. produced this album and also plays guitars on a few tracks and does the vocals on “A grave for burning wings”. Where Ostara could be described as very melodic neofolk/pop music, S.T.J. is more typical neofolk, with rhythmic acoustic guitars, occasional heavy drums, percussion, keyboards, and some samples here and there.

The album starts with the title track, which one can hear occasionally at the better parties here in the Netherlands, and immediately sounds very powerful. Besides the music being more powerful than Ostara is nowadays, another striking difference concerns the lyrical part. The lyrics are quite pessimistic, stating that life in general is pointless and that there is “no need to fight, no need to cry”. Over the whole album this theme is woven through the lyrics, finally leading to the last track with the suitable title “Life’s absurdity”.

One of the best tracks on this album is perhaps the third one, called “Rosin Dubh”, a song with a very catchy refrain and lyrics taken from a poem by Joseph Plunkett. This track is followed by a more noisy piece, called “The blond beast:”, consisting of the typical noisy e-bow by Douglas P. and spoken vocals. The rest of the tracks (except for the last one) is just very good neofolk music, sounding powerful and harbouring good melodies.
A very recommended album, but unfortunately hard to get nowadays, although I heard some rumours about a re-release. For the original release from 1995 you probably have to check Ebay…

artist: Strength through Joy
label: NER
details: released in 1995