History

 

Ostara is the Neofolk music project of Richard Leviathan. Sometimes wrongly associated with the New Age group of the same name, Ostara belongs essentially in the Neofolk and post-industrial music genres. Strongly influenced by Death in June, with whom they have collaborated, Ostara has developed a distinctive sound described in the music press as a "neo-folk / pop music hybrid."

Founded by Richard Leviathan (born Richard Levy) and Timothy Jenn in 1999 as a change of name and stylistic direction from their previous band, Strength Through Joy, Ostara have released six albums and two EPs and performed with artists such as Current 93, Sol Invictus, Death in June, Fire and Ice, Boyd Rice, Rome, Foresta di Ferro, Die Weisse Rose, Of the Wand and the Moon, In Gowan Ring, Sorrow / Rose McDowell, Waldteufel, Forseti, Spiritual Front, Sixth Comm and Changes. Jenn left after the duo split in March 2002. Leviathan, always the principal songwriter and lyricist, went on to record two albums with various musicians and three solo albums. He is currently based in Australia. The seventh album, Napoleonic Blues was released in October 2016 on vinyl and online via US label Soleilmoon Recordings. Ostara were also featured on the European score for the film SAW 2 by Charlie Clouser, released by German label Trisol in 2004.

Leviathan has been a long standing collaborator with Douglas Pearce of Death in June, who produced the first EP and two albums by Strength Through Joy in 1994-6. Leviathan went on to collaborate on the Death in June album, KAPO! and with Jenn on the Scorpion Wind album featuring Boyd Rice and John Murphy. 

Strength Through Joy toured with Death in June and Boyd Rice / NON in Europe and the USA consecutively between 1996-7. Leviathan also collaborated with Marco Deplano and John Murphy on the Foresta Di Ferro album Bury Me Standing (2003) and with Ian Read of Fire and Ice on the song "Lady of the Vanir" for the album Runa. (2000), performing with Fire and Ice in Germany and Sweden and with FDF in England, Italy and Austria. Ostara performed on two occasions at the renowned Leipzig Wave Gothik Treffen in 2000 and 2008.

Strength Through Joy was disbanded in 1997 and Leviathan and Jenn reformed as Ostara in 1999. The duo recorded the first Ostara album Secret Homeland in 2000 released by World Serpent Distribution. This was followed by the EP, Whispers to the Soul in 2001. In 2002, the album Kingdom Gone was released featuring the song "Bavaria", still considered an Ostara classic and described as "pagan pop." The album also featured contributions by Kari Hatakka of the Finnish band Waltari.

In 2002, Timothy Jenn departed the group, leaving Leviathan as the sole song writer. Leviathan went on to tour with session musicians before beginning work on the third Ostara album, Ultima Thule. Teaming up with guitarist, Stuart Mason and former Bronski Beat and Communards bassist, David Renwick, the new ensemble took the band's sound into a more rock-oriented direction and played as a four piece with drummer, Tim Desmond. Ultima Thule was released by German label, EisLicht. During a concert in Jena, the group was signed to German Gothic label, Trisol, who released the albums, Immaculate Destruction (2005) and The Only Solace (2009)

In 2009, Leviathan decided to make Ostara an exclusively solo project after relocating to Australia where he began work on the 6th album, Paradise Down South released in 2013 by US label, Soleilmoon (who had also taken on Death in June). Ostara performed several concerts on the West Coast of the US, including the famous Knitting Factory. In 2014, Leviathan began work on the seventh Ostara album, Napoleonic Blues released by Soleilmoon on vinyl in October 2016.

 

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