Dagobert's Revenge


Review of Secret Homeland
Ostara Links

Ostara: The Interview

1. How long was your first project, Strength Through Joy, a reality, and why was the name abandoned in favor of Ostara?

Strength Through Joy came into being in 1991 when we began sending our recordings to Douglas Pearce of Death in June. His favorable response to our work eventually lead to our collaboration on the first STJ album, 'The Force of Truth and Lies' in 1994 and the second double CD, 'Salute to Light' in 1995. Both of these albums were produced by Douglas and recorded in Adelaide, Australia. It was indeed a wyrd coincidence that he just happened to be living 9 miles away from us when we had assumed that he would be residing in the U.K. as opposed to one of the smaller cities in Australia! We see this 'chance' meeting as extremely significant in the formation of Strength Through Joy and subsequently of Ostara. After the two album releases, we worked on two projects with Douglas and Boyd Rice (KAPO! and Scorpion Wind respectively) shortly after which we both relocated to Europe. In 1996 we embarked on the first of a series of tours with Death in June and NON which encompassed over 15 countries including the USA. It was at that stage that we started to experiment more with our studio recordings and to think about some of the issues relating to our name. Timothy Jenn had moved to Germany where the name Strength Through Joy is actually illegal and had been causing a few problems with live performances in that country. After 1997 we did some soul searching and decided that a new name would be a good idea but it was not until the Spring of last year that Ostara occurred to me almost like an apparition from the ether. I performed a search on the internet and was surprised to discover that no one had used the name for musical purposes. The resonance and ancient lineage of the name was an inspiration and a breath of fresh bucolic air.

As for Strength Through Joy, we had always perceived this evocative phrase as a misnomer, the irony of which was never lost on us. It seemed to encapsulate the radical contradictions of the last century, the dream of communal bliss submerged in the gathering darkness of a totalitarian nightmare. Even today when you see those images from the propaganda of the period, you can't help but be absorbed in the strangely naive, hypnotic and sinister visions of the tainted idealism that cast its spell over millions. The intense interest this still provokes today is precisely that merging of the ideal into the most horrible reality and this is exactly what drew us to the whole iconography and legacy of the name Strength Through Joy. But ultimately it is still a name trapped in the epoch from which it emerged and no amount of intellectual justification and poetic license would prevent certain people from drawing the wrong conclusions. We just got fed up with having to repeat ourselves over and over again without much effect, except among those who truly appreciated the music and understood where we were coming from. Ostara has given us a greater flexibility of interpretation and compliments the broadening of our musical horizons. It is a much older name, a root word that reaches into the heart of the Occidental spirit, a perennial as opposed to purely temporal meaning which has more credence, depth and longevity.

2. Why the drastic musical evolution towards Ostara?

Musically, we have not entirely abandoned the style of Strength Through Joy but it has changed considerably owing to the process of artistic development that began to assert itself a couple of years ago. This was a natural progression that allowed for greater versatility and experimentation. Rather than decide consciously to adopt a new direction, the new direction simply opened up like an untrodden path, branching away from the road we had been familiar with.

3. How do you answer some of your detractors claims that your project espouses certain Nazi sentiments? After all, your old project name was also a slogan used by the Nazi's in concentration camps, and Ostara was the name of an influential pre-Nazi Germany newspaper/magazine. I've also heard that you've had problems appearing in certain places in Europe due to this controversy.

Ostara was a magazine produced by the lapsed Cistercian monk, Lanz von Liebenfels, some of whose work is actually quite interesting, particularly his main opus, Theozoology (1905) which postulates some of the most bizarre ideas about racial miscegenation that were also prevalent in the Middle Ages. But it is not an Anti-Semitic text and contains many philosemitic sentiments. Lanz changed his tune later on when the generalizations about race and the equation between Communism and Judaism began to crystalize in the German psyche. We have read very little of the Ostara magazine and it is certainly not the inspiration behind our use of the name which, as I said earlier, is much more open-ended than one man's appropriation of what is ultimately a Pan-European myth.

There have been a few minor officials in Germany who have taken offense and stopped us from performing but not once was the content of our work examined nor were the accusations leveled against us based on any concrete evidence. One bureaucrat actually wrote that our name was enough to justify the prohibition of our performance, a statement that reveals the banality and sterility of the verdict itself. I can understand why the Germans are sensitive about their past but when this leads to falsification and defamatory misrepresentation, the 'defensive' measures become arbitrary and self-defeating. The whole question of artistic interpretation and value goes out the window and democracy becomes an instrument for a reactionary hysteria which can only be counterproductive. A recent article in a Bavarian newspaper called Richard Leviathan a dangerous Jewish Satanist and 'madman'. Obviously this was not meant as a compliment! If we had the inclination, we could sue this 'journalist' for libel but at this stage we can't be bothered to waste our time and energy. We can only conclude from this kind of virulence that these ostensible guardians of public safety are really the lunatics running the asylum!

4. Why the title, "Secret Homeland" for the new release? Which, by the way, I feel is a major work of artistic accomplishment.

Thanks for the compliment. 'Secret Homeland' refers essentially to the metaphysical landscape of the soul and its being in the world, the mysterious otherworld of myth and memory that remains an integral part of the temporal reality of existence. I remember thinking about this idea in the most unpleasant context, that is during the war in Kosovo, as Serbian militias attempted to empty that land of ethnic Albanians from what they considered to be the ancestral womb of their nation. The memory of an historical battle with the Ottoman Turks was conjured to galvanize (and to justify) the banishing of the Muslim population (many of who fled of their own accord) and all the iconography and regalia of the past was (and still is) exploited with tragic and horrific consequences. These events proved that the past was still very much alive but it also showed how history is manipulated in pursuit of political gain. Where the past impinges on the future, the rift dividing them also widens, just as the rift between truth and myth becomes more apparent the closer these things appear to coincide. A secret world of shadows, ghosts and gods hovers between these states where the divine and the demonic spheres of reality converge and between which the soul can be drawn one way of the other, or in both directions at once. I had also just read a book about Claus von Stauffenberg called 'Secret Germany' (written by the same authors of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail?') based on the July 20th military conspiracy of 1944 to assassinate Hitler. The book claims that, through the neo-Romantic poet Stefan George, Stauffenberg cultivated the ideal of a sacred Germany that had been perverted by National Socialism and that, by killing Hitler, he would free the shackled spirit of this ideal and resurrect the stifled soul of the nation. Again, a similar theme of the hidden or secret homeland emerged from the pages of history and, taken beyond a single nation or region, this concept is suggestive of a transcendent realm within the immanent reality of the world, that ever-present, seemingly absent vista of being to which the self belongs but which it can never truly possess.

5. There are bits of speeches and samples of languages other than English on the new release, why are they there and what are the saying, and in what language are they?

There are five pieces in various European tongues: Italian, German, French/Provencal, and Croatian/Serbian.

The first recital is by Marco Deplano who reads from a radio broadcast (Radio Liberta) that was written by Otto Strasser shortly after the 1934 purge of the SA and other alleged enemies of Hitler. Strasser formed the Black Front which maintained a thwarted resistance against the Third Reich and this speech is very powerful as a kind of historical rupture beyond which the the world would sink further into darkness. The second piece appears just before 'The Reckoning' and it is a recording of a speech given by Josef Tito proclaiming the fraternity of all ethnic Yugoslavians. Our intention here is obvious.

Wolfgang Weiss reads from Hermann Hesse, a passage describing the ennui and enervation of the European soul and the blunting of the mind into bureaucratic and social stagnation.

There is also a short excerpt from Liebenfels about the indwelling of God in the soul. Olive Ruehl recites a poem by Albrecht Haushofer called 'Gefahrten' (Companions) for the song 'Operation Valkrie' based on the July 20th plot of 1944. Haushofer was executed for his part in the abortive coup and the poem is a eulogy to Stauffenberg and other military comrades and ancestors.

Sebastien Bacot reads in both French and Provencal some patriotic verse which exudes the warmth and ancient beauty of that land.

I like the idea of weaving this babel of tongues around what has become the dominant global language. As much as I love English, I am very interested in the power of language and the way it shapes the identity of a people (and vice versa).

6. How important do you feel Ostara is on a cultural basis?

It depends on what you mean by culture. Contemporary culture is generally a shallow affair, a fractured garden full of noxious weeds amidst a few seminal flowers of obscure glory. It is in that little niche that I wish to cultivate the delicate bloom of Ostara. There is a surplus of compost to feed upon!

7. What is it that you'd like to see accomplished by Ostara?

Music as a medium for truth and beauty and whatever it requires to achieve this principle.

8. What are your plans for the immediate future of Ostara?

We hope to do a few more concerts before consolidating the recording of the next album which has already begun. A 7" vinyl picture disc featuring an unreleased song and some live material will be released in the Winter.

9. What sort of creative process is gone through in order to write an Ostara song?

R: Usually I will compose a melody on guitar and then write lyrics that capture the mood implied by the arrangement. Sometimes the lyrics come first, whether on paper or in my head, a line or two forming the basis of the rest of the text. But writing is a magickal process and involves elements of the subconscious that can't be entirely explained. Music has a strange tendency almost to create itself.

T: The first ingredient is a long walk, alone. Only by escaping the clutter, that is seemingly inevitable in any life, can the creative process begin. Once the idea has germinated, it?s on to the guitar to try and find the chords I?ve heard in my head. Then it?s back out again for a long walk, (if it isn?t raining), to think about it some more. Lyrics always come to me out in the open. I never sit down intending to write lyrics, it doesn?t work for me. When the basic structure is there, I then use the keyboard and computer to flesh the song out.

10. What are the influences of Ostara's musick?

R: Musically, I draw from both contemporary and traditional sources, the living and the dead. Death in June has been a major influence for a long time, as have The Doors. Others include early Pink Floyd, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Love and Scott Walker. I have also recently discovered the unique genius of Nick Drake and the music of the original apocalyptic folk group, Changes. I also enjoy the works of classical composers like Wagner, Mahler, Debussy. Szyminowski and early sacred and secular music of which there is a vast and rich heritage.

Non-musical influences could be anything from books, to art, to film but experience is the key element whether in the form of a significant place or just a stream of thought.

The song 'Epiphany' was inspired by a drunken conversation about the existence of God - a grey-eyed nocturnal discourse in a crowded public house, the likes of which have probably invoked many a grand and ludicrous Weltanschuuang!!

T: Just being alive and trying to figure out this conundrum of existence, (without success, I might add), is an eternal source of inspiration. I am inspired to write songs from everything; from fleeting thoughts to books I have read; from echoes of dreams to cold reality.

As regards musical influences, I suppose one is always in some way impacted by the music one has listened to. My top six would probably be Joy Division, Pink Floyd, The Doors, David Sylvian, Death in June and Bauhaus.

11. There is a strong Pagan undertone to your musick, how long have you been interested in Paganism, magick, and those types of things?

R: It is not exclusively pagan sources to which I am drawn but I do see a unique and powerful symbolism in the pantheons of the ancient world. The connection between a god and its place of origin is fascinating, especially when you visit the sites to which the myths intrinsically belong. However portable such things may be on an internal level, the external, physical realm of the sacred is the ground upon which all divinity is established.

Even the God of Monotheism was once a localized god projected into a universal context. Allah and the Christian Father may have had the same origin but once they were moved into specific regions, they acquired the nature of the people who believed in them. I have a great respect for all religions but I cannot belong to any organized religious body. The spirit today resides in the dark spaces of the world, in the shadows of the ruins of temples so to speak, where the true essence of the divine is concealed and revealed. The gods too have their secret homeland. For me, magick is nothing other then the apprehension of the divine (or the daemonic) in both an active and receptive state of being. I do not practice ritual magick and prefer to pursue a synthesis of knowledge, will and experience. The world is the receptacle for a plethora of occult forces, many of which are closer to the grain of life than we may otherwise think or imagine.

T: The songs are not consciously derived from Pagan sources. They are expressions of how I relate to the natural world and if this reminiscent of paganism, it?s accidental. I do not believe in any organized expression of spirituality. I do not believe in any gods. There is a presence, but one has to struggle hard to glimpse it. Perhaps this is what some of the songs are trying to do.

12. What are some of the books or authors that you have read lately?

R: The last book I read was a selection of Meister Eckhart's sermons, a truly inspirational and profound exposition of theological mysticism. The philosophy of Heidegger has also been very important to me for some time and it is one of my ambitions to the read the whole of 'Being and Time' and to understand it! I am also interested in decadent authors like Nerval and Baudelaire and the poetry and novels of D.H. Lawrence.

T: Authors I have read recently are Guy de Maupassant, Edgar Allan Poe and W.B. Yeats.

13. Do you have any favorite movies or are there any movies that you feel compliment the musick of Ostara?

R: I enjoyed 'American Beauty', one of the best films of recent years. Siebeberg's, 'Hitler: a Film from Germany', is an absolute masterwork, as is his version of 'Parsifal.' I also love the work of Visconti, Passolini, some of Kubrick and the Hammer horror films of the 1970s. Some B-Movies can be amusing and entertaining, especially Russ Meyer, sexploitation at it stylistic best (and sometimes worst!). I can't say that films are a direct inspiration for Ostara but the iconography and poetics of cinema are certainly an inevitable element of the imagination on a sub-conscious level. Cinema is without doubt the most powerful and also the most illusory medium of the modern world.

T: The best film I have seen for a long time is ?American Beauty?. I am also quite partial to Japanese films. They seem always to have an eye for the aesthetic. Kurasawa is an obvious favorite, but I also like their comedies. The humour can be sometimes very strange. However, I do not watch many films and am not particularly interested in it as an art form.

14. What are your views on the revival of Monarchism that is taking place in the world today?

R: Is there a revival of monarchism in the world today? I am not really aware of it if there is.

I used to think that countries like Russia and Romania may revert back to monarchy, but it would seem that the contemporary world is too caught up in economic concerns to justify or pursue the ostensibly superfluous luxury of royal heads of state. That paradigm of monarchies, the British crown, is in a miserable and moribund state and even Prince Charles' eco-spiritualism, correct as it may be, is not exactly a prescription for a great monarch. He will have to start by ordering a few executions on Tower Hill! The last great European monarch was probably Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia who preferred intellectualizing at Sans Souci to imitating the military glory of his father. After Napoleon, that great pretender,monarchism seems to lose its meaning and the power of presidents and political parties takes over, leaving constitutional monarchical figureheads who conserve only a fossilized residue of the original ethos. of kingship. I honestly think that when the Holy Roman Empire dissolved itself in 1806, the spirit of monarchy, based as it was on the Sacrum Imperium, was truly finished. It was at that point that Hegel had proclaimed the end of history and Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the Ludi Antichristi. It has been said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire but this is not entirely true. Emperors like Frederick Hohenstaufen had ambitions to restore the frontiers of the Augustan Imperium but the world they inhabited was evolving into regionalism and the cradle of nations over which the Church and the Empire presided and vied for power. The Sacrum Imperium was both a temporal and spiritual realm with its own imperial Catholicism derived from the legacy of Charlegmagne (and for readers of DR, the Merovingian heritage!) Christianity had the effect of maintaining a distinction between the earthly and celestial kingdoms which the sacred empire sought to unify: hence the conflict between the two powers that guaranteed divine representation on earth. The emperor, like the Pope, was the Pontifex Maximus, the bridge-builder to the heavens. But there was another dimension to this theme as revealed in the trinitarian history of Joachim de Flora, the Cistercian theologian who believed that history had evolved form the Kingdom of the Father (the ancient world) to the Kingdom of the Son (the Christian world) and was evolving towards the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit that would render all institutional powers superfluous. This was a kind of spiritual communism that concealed a deeper meaning that was also apparent in the Troubadour and Minnesanger traditions: the idea that the true kingdom dwelt within the soul. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven was within and poets like Walther van der Vogelweide and Gottfried of Strasbourg embraced this on a chivalric basis, a perspective that effectively freed the courtier from any obligation to a monarch. I find this development compelling because it is prophetic in its anticipation of the dissolution of Imperial power, yet its intention was actually the consummation of this power in a new form, or formless Form. The mythology of the grail kingdom is also suggestive of this otherworldly realm of self-transcendence and if these ideas were emerging at the height of the Middle Ages, when the ethos of monarchy reached its apogee in the Sacrum Imperium, they are all the more significant today in the epoch of collective individualism where the anonymity of life in the world demands a retreat into the inner kingdom, the dominion of exile. I think that the true essence of the 'Mon-Reale' has abdicated but will be rediscovered in this state of exile where perhaps it will remain forever. I am too weary of the world to even wish for some resurrected kingdom. All I can see is King William V with a cell phone in one had and a quarter pounder in the other! Are these not the profane equivalents of orb and scepter in the modern world?!

T: The Caesar with the soul of Christ is an appealing image, but monarchieshave never lived up to this high ideal. What evidence is there to say monarchism is on the rise? Apart from a few east Europeans getting their king or tsar mixed up with their God, I have not seen anything. Monarchism, in the west at least, has never recovered from the English revolution of 1688. Since then it has always been subservient to the ?will of the people?. The French Revolution was also a mortal blow. I am not at all sad to see this steady decline, although, I would like to see King Zog of Albania back on his throne, for a laugh.

15. What are your views on the formation of the E.U.?

I find it simultaneously interesting and utterly boring. The idea is good but the bureaucratic and business interests that govern it are as dull as any episode of Friends. There is a faceless, amorphous and clumsy side to the whole thing that undermines the principles that inspired it in the first place: a single Europe, one civilization, peace and progress. There are echoes here of an older ideal, a very feint and almost silent stirring of the shadows of 'Imperium', but even Otto von Habsburg's involvement is not going to transform the ideal into a reality. The legacy of the Third Reich (the last attempt at Imperium) will cast its ugly shadow of disgust over Europe for a long time to come. We must try to secure the peace and stability of the post-war world, but that will be a process in which the things that divide Europe will be as important as the elements that unite it and have kept it together from time immemorial. Many people are becoming skeptical about the EU and this has the risk of impeding the fulfillment of its objectives, thus undermining the structure as a whole. I personally would still welcome further unification but then I live in Britain and most of the British seem to be against this.

T: As a way of making trade easier and living wherever you want to in Europe, it?s a good thing. However, that where its benefits stop. It is in reality a massive bureaucratic mess. I do not believe the European Super State will born of it. Can you imagine the French or English accepting a German president? National identity is still too strong for that to happen anytime soon. However, its very presence as a big faceless government, even though it has little power, is quite worrying. You never know what they might dream up next to amuse themselves. I fail to see what benefits inclusion of second rate economies from eastern Europe will bring. All I foresee is a mass migration of Poles, Hungarians and others to the richer economies in search of ?a better life?

16. If you could put together an ultimate dream tour with any active or defunct groups/performers who would they be and where would you guys tour?

R: A night of catharsis in the Roman Coliseum featuring The Doors, Kate Bush and, wait for it, The Carpenters.

T: I find touring, (but not the actual concerts), extremely monotonous, so I do not dream about it! If I was allowed a one night only dream show, the bill would be Joy Division, The Doors, Bauhaus and NON in Saint Peter's Square.

17. If you could strap yourself into a working time machine and go back into time, what are the three places, time periods, and things that you would go observe or participate in?

I would go to the judgment of Christ, the Crucifixion and await the Resurrection. I would like to know more about Jesus and John the Baptist. I would also follow the Jews out of Egypt and catch up on some of those miracles. The royal courts of Solomon, Justinian and Frederick Hohenstaufen would be a treat as would the boudoir of Countess Bathory. Lastly, I would take a walk with Ronald Reagan down Memory Lane!!

T: I have always thought I would like to visit Ancient Rome, when it was burning. To see Hannibal trying to cross the Alps with the elephants would also be fun. A visit to Tara in its heyday would also be a must.

18. What is the best thing and the worst thing that you feel you have ever done as an artist?

R: The best thing was 'Secret Homeland'. The worst when Timothy and I nearly went our separate ways which would have been a total disaster.

T: I always hope the best is yet to come. I have done so many bad things it is very difficult to nominate something.

19. Speaking of art, can you tell us who did the stunning artwork that can be found on your latest release?

The cover is by Alphonse Mucha, a Pan-Slavic image of a young girl that embodies the Spring and the spirit of the Folk. Mucha's sculpture 'Natur' is featured in the booklet, an iron valkrie-like bust that is pure Art Nouveau. Gustav Klimt's Allegory of Sculpture is inverted into a negative image while Fidus' stunning Tempeltanz appears on the disc. All this art comes from the same period, the Jugenstil or New Art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

20. How has your new release been embraced by the fans and critics?

The album has been very well received and very few have expressed any reservations about the the new direction we have taken since Strength Through Joy. Those who have not heard the latter before and are discovering Ostara for the first time have been very enthusiastic while fans of STJ have seen 'Secret Homeland' as a genuine progression. The reviews have been good so far and this is a positive sign.

21. How can we get this new release?

The album is distributed by World Serpent and is available in most shops that stock their catalogue as well as some of the bigger stores. It can also be obtained by mail order and on the internet via reliable distributors like Middle Pillar, Soleilmoon, and Strange Fortune.

22. How much had your web site helped to get the word out about your project? Do you have any comments on the mp3 controversy currently storming the internet world and do you have any available mp3's for download? What's the website address again for the benefit of our readers who would like to further check out your musick?

I would say that the internet has been a vital and indispensable medium for establishing contacts and providing a point of reference within easy reach of our audience. We are in the process of building a better web site and the current address is a temporary one:


As for MP3s, we intend to make some available on the new site as this does seem to be the future of music itself. The recent controversy over Napster is interesting because it has shown that there is a lot of cynicism about the major record companies and the stagnation of the mainstream. What was once thought to be the Mecca of musical success is now deemed by many to be a perilous world of ephemeral opportunism and egotistical infantilism (I hope David Geffen is not reading this - he may be one of the secret templars!). But I can understand why the record industry and some artists want to protect the rights to their work and why the internet does pose some serious questions about copyright and the commercial exchange of music.

23. Any other comments ?

The meek may inherit the earth but the bounty of heaven belongs to the proud.

Secret Homeland

review by James P. Bergman

Some may remember a World Serpent band, named: Strength Through Joy, a grim apocalyptic-folk inspired band that reminded me quite a lot of Death In June. Well, it appears that STJ has gone through a sort of rebirthing process and the end-result is Ostara.

Ostara mainly consists of Richard Leviathan and Timothy Jenn with many numerous musical guests. Picture plenty of luscious strummed acoustic guitars, keyboards, cellos, oboes, and percussion for a good description of the instrumentation. However, just mentioning the instrumentation does nothing to actually describe the amazing musick contained on this disc.

At first I was expecting the same dark hi-jinks that STJ were renown for, and that this was not the case was my first surprise. The music is extremely poppy in a certain sense, maybe not radio ready pop, but poppy and somewhat upbeat on a general whole. Second surprise: the technical expertise displayed in the musick, things like the amazingly adept slide guitar on "The Reckoning". Wonderful cello playing throughout, and a tightness and cohesiveness is glaringly obvious on this disc. It's rare to hear something on World Serpent that is so well constructed and as well-played as technically as this is, and I don't mean this to bag on WSD, it's the genuine honesty inherent in their releases and performers that endears me to the label, but theirs are not always the most technically proficient bands. Ostara, however, is.

I've been in a quandary trying to figure out how to describe this disc to you because it reminds me somewhat of a few bands in musical history that are so far removed from the overall sound of this release that I almost feel I'd be turning people off to this musick by mentioning them. Yet, somehow, I am compelled to do just this, mainly because they share certain particular elements. The first thing I thought after hearing this disc was how much it kind of reminded me in ways of some of the gems from English psychedelic-popsters, XTC's fine release, Skylarking. Maybe it's the shared elements of magick, myth, and paganism that is featured strongly on both releases. Maybe it's the mellow and moody guitar and string arrangements, I'm notexactly sure, but it does remind me of XTC somewhat, albeit more sullen and honest.

Then there's moments when the music is more upbeat that it reminds me of some of the output of the highly under-rated, New Model Army. Again, it's partially because of the mystical, mythological, and paganistic type themes and lyrics, but also due to the wonderful guitar interplay and angular pseudo-Celtic rhythms and European cultural folk musick influences that I am sure have rubbed off into both members, since they both come from Europe.

I also was reminded of Roddy Frame's excellent guitar majesty on Aztec Camera's stunningly amazing Knife release. The lyrics are totally different, but the instrumentation and overall mood are similar.

Here's the comparison that I initially hesitated to make: The Smiths. Ok, first let me say, just the guitar work of Johnny Marr is what I am meaning. Take Morrissey out of the picture and let the jangly, softly strummed guitar genius of Johnny Marr be your comparison guide here. The vocals and lyrics are really nothing at all like The Smiths, but sometimes, in flashes and moments I see comparisons with certain tracks to The Smiths. Despite the shenanigans and posturings of Morrissey, The Smiths were an important musickal band.

Okay, now here is where I attempt to qualify all the above comparisons with musick that is more similar in spirit and nature to Ostara.

In my mind there have been two classic releases of what some people have termed Apocalyptic folk-musick. Both still amaze me in their brilliance and both still get heavy airplay in my home. The first is the epic, Thunder Perfect Mind, by Current 93, a stunning example of what can be done with voice, guitar, a few other instruments, and a certain creative impetuous. The other is the Death In June masterpiece, But What Ends When The Symbols Shatter? I also could put. The Burning World. by The Swans into this same category, making the trio some of the best musick of this sort ever made. Well, Ostara, have made me expand this trio of masterpiece releases to that of a quartet. It's simply that good of a release. Beautiful, breath-taking, and deserving of your attention.

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