Osukaru – “Starbound”


Swedish glam metal band Osukaru bring their blend of classic hard rock and metal to their 6th album Starbound.

For those who have never heard of Osukaru, like myself, it is pretty amazing to see that the band has been around 11 years and released 6 albums. Guitarist Oz Hawke Petersson began the band and in 2012 the band released their first album Salvation. Three years later and after addition of a few band members, Transition was released (2015) and the band now known as Osukaru really took shape. For Starbound, the album was produced by Oz and Fredrik Werner with Svein Jensen (Sister Sin) handling mixing and Christoffer Borg (Art Nation, Six Foot Six) taking mastering responsibilities.

There is something about Osukaru on Starbound that instantly transports you back to the mid-late 80s sounds of popular metal…you know, the kind that actually got airplay and was generally considered “safe”. Think epic choruses, super-clean vocals, keyboards playing a supporting role and the type of sounds that filled stadiums and other large venues. Instantly on the opening track “Starbound” I hear what I can only imagine a Europe B-side might have sounded like. What can’t go unnoticed though is the care that has gone into the songwriting and arrangements. Even if the production quality is too polished and smooth, this is expertly executed.

“Rise of the Underdog” hits all the good and bad from that late 80’s era where often great riffs were paired with somewhat cheesy lyrics and group vocals and had sections with overally cheery keyboards. Luckily, the song does have some good guitar solos to somewhat save it. By this point, a good bit of nostalgia is kicking in and I’m transported back to my middle school and early high school years.

“Tainted Heart” only serves to add to this feeling with another great riff and a song that channels Quiet Riot, Dokken, and maybe some Ratt…how can all that be a bad thing? If I was hanging out with my high school buddies back then or the same guys now, this song playing would seem to fit perfectly, and I will, in fact, send it to two of my metalhead buddies as I finish this review. (Note: one said, it sounded like Winger and Dokken had a kid…).

Since we’re transported back to the pre-grunge era metal, of course we have to have a power ballad or two and “Somewhere Sometime Somehow” is the first on the album. Not much to say but it fits the standard formula for songs like this and it would have been played on MTV quite a few times each hour. “On the Streets Again” and “Within the Depths of Love” fill out the rest of the power ballad like songs on the album and since I’m not a big fan of power ballads. Like everything on the album though, they are well done.

“Joker” goes a bit harder, while “Go For the Legends” sounds more like one of those songs you’d hear on a teen-oriented movie soundtrack from the era, like one of those from a band you’d typically never heard of but thought somewhat interesting and then never bothered to look for in the record store because you couldn’t remember the name.

“Shut it Out” has the band returning to a harder edge again with a tough riff softened by the keyboards that would keep the song more radio-friendly. In this case I hear some Autograph in the overall song and approach, but the spoken sections right before the smoking guitar solo shatters that characterization a bit.

“On the Streets Again” changes things up a bit but the clean guitars in the beginning do allow the thumping bass line of Olof Gadd to really shine and throughout it all Fredrik Werner’s vocals are so perfect in capturing that era and you can hear bits of all the top vocalists from the time in his sound and delivery.

In somewhat of a let down, I was thinking with a song titled “All Up” as the closer on an album of this sort that it would be one of those along the lines of Winger’s “Up All Night”, but instead, I have another one of the movie soundtrack sounding songs.

Overall, I’m not sure where Osukaru will fit in the big picture. I can see their audience likely split between old guys like myself and maybe a younger generation longing for the sounds of the old bands their parents made them listen to. Either way, the performances are strong, production is solid, and there are some great memories brought up by this album.

Rating: 7/10


  1. Starbound
  2. Rise of the Underdog
  3. Tainted Heart
  4. Somewhere Sometime Somehow
  5. Joker (In the House of Cards)
  6. Go For the Legends
  7. Shut It Out
  8. On the Streets Again
  9. Within the Depths of Love
  10. All Up

Band Members
Oz Hawe Petersson (Rhythm & lead guitar, backing vocals)
Fredrik Werner (Lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitar)
Olof Gadd (Bass, backing vocals)
CD (Drums, percussion)
Mark Holden (Boulevard) – guest saxophone

Release Date: 22nd. October 2021

Record Label: AOR Heaven

Social Media: Facebook / Spotify

Video for ‘Tainted Heart’

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