War Is Over
To The End Of The World
Who Are You?
Long Lost Soldier
Beyond The Storm
Von Hertzen Brothers are a band that have somehow eluded me until now. Much like my first listen of Epicloud by Devin Townsend, or that first listen of Queen II, this album captivated me right from the start.
After multiple listens I still feel perplexed to put into words how much of an impact this record has had on me. With such a breadth of musical scope I feel compelled to make sure you are intrigued to listen to this record.
'War Is Over' is my introduction to the Finnish prog rockers and it is an explosion of fresh and creative ideas. The jaunty 6/8 rhythms of this opener leave a bed rock for their finesse and virtuosity to run rampant across this song. A 12 minute epic slab of meandering prog rock which is very evocative of no one. I can honestly say it would devalue how original this material is to even mention a band to gauge this against.
How do you follow a 12 minute monolithic track... with 'To the End of the World'. A fuzzy concoction of time changes and exuberance. Drums parts that Neil Peart would be proud of.
Excerpts from any song on this record could lead you to believe this band wasn't a pioneer of modern progressive rock. It's only when you hear the record in its fullest context you understand the sheer diversity within. 'The Arsonist' is a prime example. This song could be on a pop rock big seller but also fits incredibly within this mammoth prog masterpiece.
'Jerusalem” is a soundscape all on its own and truly does inform the listener of another world through its auditory bliss.
'Frozen Butterflies' stands out as my favourite track; the end of the song is just angelic. Vocal layering off the charts and pristine musicianship complete with a stunning guitar solo. Even a barely noticeable key change in the chorus nearly passed me by. The craftsmanship in these songs is second to none.
With a haunting intro, eastern melodies and a Jeff Buckley esque vibe initially. Dream brother almost. “Who are you' again extends the musical pallet to a darker ambient tone.
This song highlights the effective use of vocal harmonies. It is never an overused thing in this record, just placed to add sheer emphasis or bring out a relevant lyric.
'Blindsight' reinvigorates the faultless pace of the record and is another groove fuelled time changing machine.
The most fun sounding song is 'Long Lost Sailor'. An almost disco backbeat is rippling through the track and momentarily we even get a random clap track. A prog pop flourish full of hooks and excitement.
'Wanderlust' is an isolated song, just a man and a guitar which is later accompanied by some tasteful string arrangements. An almost ballad like song. Simple and immensely powerful in its purity. The distinctive beauty of what can only be a telecaster is evident here.
The final song on the record is immeasurable in its impact. 'Beyond the Storm is a slow tempo anthem that reprises the lyric 'War is over' to drive home the message of the record and leave it as your last thought.
This is an album that will reward the listener time and time again. There is so much to it and such an immense musical pallet at work behind the scenes.
Sublime vocals, and immense instrumentation that never lets up, on a near flawless progressive rock album. It is a classic album to me and I hope that in hindsight millions will also see it as that too.
If like me, you are new to VHB, just listen to this record. Words are not enough to accurately summarise my appreciation for this album.
Von Hertzen Brothers UK tour 2017
Nov 14: Norwich Waterfront Studio
Nov 15: Southampton Talking Heads
Nov 16: London The Garage
Nov 17: North Wales HRH Prog 6
Nov 18: Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
Kie von Hertzen (guitars, backing vocals),
Mikko von Hertzen (vocals, guitar)
Jonne von Hertzen (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Sami Kuoppamäki (drums)
Robert Engstrand (keyboards)
Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vonhertzenbrothersofficial/