Review: Osukaru – Starbound
AOR Heaven (October 22nd 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Osukaru is not a band I ever hear mentioned by anyone, despite them being around for over a decade. I would have never discovered them if it wasn’t for a post on a Facebook group that I saw. I checked out their 2018 release ‘House of Mirrors’ and could not believe a band this good had gone under the radar for so long. The promotion for this band was virtually nonexistent, but I believe all that is about to change with Osukaru signed to AOR Heaven and the release of their new album, ‘Starbound’
I only discovered the band and heard ‘House of Mirrors’ about two months ago and have not been able to check out all of the albums of their catalog. I started with the early ones and it’s apparent that this is a band that has grown their sound over time from a lighter AOR pop band with poor production to a harder edge melodic rock powerhouse. If you have their last album, I am happy to report the band continues on an upward trajectory.
Founder/guitarist Oz Hawk Petersson has constructed some great tracks that cover various aspects of hard rock. You have your airy, anthemic tunes (‘Go For The Legends‘, ‘All Up‘); darker, moody tracks (‘Shut It Out‘), two ballads (‘Somewhere Sometime Somehow‘, ‘Within The Depths of Love‘) and a Yngwie Malmsteen Odyssey era sounding track (‘Rise of The Underdog‘). The latter is a favorite track of mine from the album. I could easily see Joe Lynn Turner singing a song like this.
Which leads me to my next point. I love the vibrato of lead singer/guitarist Fredrik Werner. He can scream with the best singers out there, but also has the ability to sound soulful at the same time. He shines on my favorite track of the album, the mid-tempo ballad ‘Somewhere Sometime Somehow‘. It has the perfect mix of lead and background vocals in the chorus. It’s unusual for me to have the favorite track on an album be a ballad, especially amongst so many other great rock songs, but Fredrik’s and the other background vocals’ tremolo sells the song to me. It’s also a nice touch to add a saxophone solo from Mark Holden of Boulevard alongside the guitar solo and outro, although I wish that part could have been longer.
So for fans of this band, how does this compare to their last album? I found this release to have a stronger collection of songs. While I loved ‘House of Mirrors‘, it did have a few tracks that didn’t work for me. No fillers here this time. I hope AOR Heaven does right by this band and promotes the hell out of this album. This is a fantastic release and this band should be talked about as much as H.e.a.t, Eclipse, and Crazy Lixx. If you like those bands, then this album was made for you. Now go out and support them!