OSTARA - KINGDOM GONE - 12 tracks - CD - Eis & Licht - 2002

Pagan Pop!

"Bavaria" opens the album. A very Ostara-esque song, whose tambourines remind you of a wintry atmosphere. A good track, very pop sounding. Already available as an mp3 since September !

"Hammer of Ages" will surprise more than one. It's Timothy Jenn who sings on this very pop-orientated title, tinted by flutes. Here we are miles away from Strength Through Joy, the previous incarnation of Ostara, the song could sound like a pastoral ballad for some ears. Very surprising !

For those who downloaded the mp3 ages ago, "The trees march north" has no secrets ! A track in the direct linage of the first album, "Secret Homeland", a catchy chorus, a rhythm that has almost become trademark and the now traditional cello - everything's there ! A well-arranged track.

"March of the rising sun" plunges Leviathan back into the entrails of his past. Here indeed, one is closer to KAPO! Than what the beginning of the album augured. Looped heavy percussions, samples, one has the impression of listening to a compilation so much does this track stand out from the others. Here is something that could reconcile the old "fans" with the new Ostara !

"Overworld". One of the best tracks on this album, but absolutely not a new track as it was already released a year ago on the 7" picture-disk and it also figures on "Whispers to the soul". One does not tire of listening to it however, lulled by the cello, the swathes of keyboards in the background and a piano that accompanies Leviathan's voice perfectly.

Sword of Reverie". One of my favourite tracks. once again there's no surprise, just pure 100% Ostara, a haunting cello and a superb chorus : "Burn away in reverie, sink again into that pain". A track that could ,like many others, could be played on the radio without any problem. A very good track.

"Never Weep". This track figured on the B-side of the 7" picture-disk. Another "oldie" but one does not tire of listening to the singing of the Irishman Timothy Jenn !

"Tatenokai", banzai ! A classical music sample launches that begins immediately in a mixture of techno kitsch and 80's electronica, reinforced by many claps just like in the old days ! You would think you were there. The lyrics are recited in Japanese and a "Banzai" punctuates the tale. Another strange track which adds extra richness to this album, that of diversity ! A track that will probably be much discussed. It's for you to judge !

"Life's Symmetry". Another song made to measure for Tim Jenn whose voice, full of irishness, sometimes reminds us of Brendan Perry's (ex-Dead Can Dance). Acoustic guitars and keyboards share this track whose chorus also brings us back to the past through its sonorities. Richard Leviathan intervenes only on a spoken passage in which he excels. One could sometimes imagine listening to an album of the late STJ.

"Divine Winds". This track has already been released on the "Whispers to the soul" maxi single.

"Transylvania" also opens on a sample of grand music, but it doesn't leave place to an electronic track, but a drum rhythm and an electric guitar that announce this track which figures amongst the favourites of this album. The unconditional of Ostara will not be disappointed by this title, superbly played and which seems to announce the future direction of Ostara, although after listening to the previous tracks, one can not really guess any direction as this album is so full of contrasts.

"Kingdom Gone", the title track, comes to close the last Ostara harvest. A title that takes elements from KAPO!'s "The rat and the Eucharist" which then became "The marble cliffs" on "Whispers to the soul". A track that has a direct relation to the events that have occurred since the 11 September and the attack on the World Trade Centre ! "They're going to school to learn how to die, They're going to make whores of the virgins in Paradise", here is a more than explicit warning that echoes through the voice - made for narration - of Leviathan. A superb track that will ravish those who loved KAPO! And the second STJ.

Gloria excelsior, Sacrum Imperium, Kingdom gone forever and ever ! A successful challenge for the pagan duo !

Rob Nikada
January 2002