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Von Hertzen Brothers - Red Alert in the Blue Forest CD (album) cover

RED ALERT IN THE BLUE FOREST

Von Hertzen Brothers

 

Crossover Prog

4.28 | 30 ratings

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tigerfeet
5 stars How to begin explaining or even trying to fathom what this album is all about?

We can begin with the album cover and title.

The album title Red Alert in the Blue Forest' evokes a feeling that there is some serious problem in the forest and it is blue. Perhaps we have lived through a period of time where human progress has slowly encroached and reached a point of critical mass. The forest is threatened!

The album graphics are of the 3 VHB in perhaps some traditional attire but also could they really be 3 Jesus' or even perhaps 3 Ceasers? Who knows. What is for sure is that they all have one eye shut for some unbeknownst reason. (on the VHB website they cleverly have both eyes open if you place your mouse over the one shut eye)

Here are the tracks from this 70 something minute double album.

1. Day of Reckoning 4:39

A lovely atmospheric electronic keyboard intro and vocals lifting into angelic harmony. VHB are known for their harmonies and this is one of the best to date. Softly spoken but haunting which delves deep into folklore and mystery. The album seems to be describing our mistakes as humanity, on perhaps a personal and also a collective responsibility. The title itself brings into the imagination a fear of the future or what is to follow. There certainly are aliens involved of some sorts, perhaps we are the aliens or travelers.

2. Blue Forest ' 9:07

What an absorbing and incredible song this is. It takes the listener from moments of relief to moments of out and out panic and despair. The quickness of time and life passing by. The nostalgia of old memories or our lives, the rawness of life and nature and also the fragility. The song weaves in and out of delicacy to a rocking riff driving the song into a spiraling twirling pit of the unknown. I absolutely adore and love the musical "red alerts" in this song.

3. The Promise ' 5:20

A grungy and ominous start to this song quickly delving into a mind of a new age frolic conjuring up visions of the Wicker Man but the lovely introduction soon picks up pace and has an authentic Scandinavian country feel to it. This one is very animal in nature, about senses, nature, ancient spirits, and the raw basis of life.

Wait, as soon as I was thinking this short 5 minute track would turn into a Crosby Stills and Nash and Young track it simply blew me away. This may be the best track on the album ' but wait'

4. All of a Sudden, You're Gone ' 7:13

The title of this track of course gives one some kind of feeling that the song will be about loss of some kind. The opening of the tune is again angelic and beautiful, but with dark undertones ever gradually misting around throughout the progression of the song. The painful ache of nostalgia, love and loss that only becomes more apparent with the spinning of wheel of time. The prior VHB album 'War is Over' suddenly felt like this album's forgotten past, and although wishing war really over, there is that acknowledgment that war never seems to be over. What may have been describing human interactions with other humans causing all our woes, 'Red Alert in the Blue Forest' could almost be describing our affect on the physical world around us, while we were preoccupied with busily killing each other or putting our so called progress before the sustainable health of the planet. The song ends with so much pain it brought tears to my eyes. I watched VHB officially released video and of course it makes you see the song in a different light. The fragility of life, the environment, of love and relationships, and of time. It made me think to myself what good are empty mills if there is no grain to eat and what purpose has a working horse who's only wish is to grind it for us?

Kie Von Hertzen "We shot the video in Virkkala, a one-hour-ride west from Helsinki, in this old chalk factory, which was shut down in the mid 90īs. Shot in December 2021 over five days with only 5 hours of daylight per day, temperatures of -15c and no electricity at the location."

5. Peace Patrol ' 10:01

What a tricky and sneaky way to start a new track after the powerful track before. I felt like I had been transported back to a late 80s electronic disco in Europe. How wrong I was. This song is playful and cheeky and when looking at the 10 minutes it was supposed to run, I knew I was probably in for a treat. And what a treat, the song starts to grow but still with the late 80s sneaking in here and there, but you just know it is going somewhere special. Once we start getting into some eastern vibes you know the song is going places. This track holds the secret to the dirtiest epic Saxophone piece since Dark Side of Moon and where would you be with out some emotional and exceptional guitar riffs by the ever more so talented Kie von Hertzen. Again the theme of the song is perhaps about what we do in the name of something such as progress, but instead destroy, maim or hurt. If "we make it" we will one day look back and see what we did.

6. Pirates of the Raseborgian ' 4:57

Just when I though the last track was sneaky, this one drew me in to its journey. It felt like I was submerged, spinning around the universe in a dizzy sea shanty. The lyrics to this song at once make you laugh but always the sarcasm is there. With lines such as 'We're eating white sharks for breakfast, Kraken for lunch, and we're drinking with pelicans", what more could you want?

7. Anil ' 6:46

Back to the fairy dust and magical forests, the fields and sunshine overlooking the pastures. The reoccurring theme for the album has been consistent. Once again such a clever song musically and lyrically. A wonderful but hopelessly sad tune. Broke my heart.

8. Elbowed ' 5:17

The prior song leads us right into the brass/piano lead intro ' a tough time-ticking start to this song much about even the toughest hearts being vulnerable and prone to weakness.

9. Northern Lights ' 7:40

After doing some research on this song I found that they had actually featured rarely heard sounds of the Aurora Borealis as recorded by Professor Unto K. Laine. As much as it feels like an intro to a sci fi movie this song is magnificent. Delving yet again into the earthly and heavenly elements it really is a wonderful soul-releasing trip.

In fact, after repeated listens, I excitedly noticed that the Aurora Borealis recorded sounds were mixed into many of the songs on the album, sometimes melding in with the percussion, sometimes a flowing atmospheric sound.

10. S'dersk'r ' 3:46

I had a feeling this word meant something. The S'dersk'r lighthouse (Finnish: S'dersk'rin majakka, Swedish: S'dersk'r fyr) is a decommissioned 19th-century lighthouse in the outer Porvoo archipelago of the Gulf of Finland. Looking back into one's own lifetime, upbringing, how life and society was back then, how things seemed so much better then, so much simpler. Regrets can be many in one's lifetime. This song was written alone in the lighthouse and you really get the feeling of isolation.

11. Disappear There ' 4:52

And what a finale to this lovely album. Beautiful and simple. I will say no more other than 'I know I'll disappear'.

The music and lyrics are haunting, truthful, and creative. I loved how the initial simplicity of some of the songs evolved into progressive jaunts into the unknown. It is a themed album and somewhat a concept album. Clever, witty, sad, desperate, love lost, are we running out of time?

Over all I would give this an excellent 4.5 star rating.

tigerfeet | 5/5 |

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