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Von Hertzen Brothers - Stars Aligned CD (album) cover


Von Hertzen Brothers


Crossover Prog

3.79 | 136 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A quality Finnish (ouch!)

Released earlier this year (2011), 'Stars aligned' is the Von Hertzen Brothers fourth and latest album. With the five man line up unchanged from 'Love remains the same' (2008), this album appears to indicate a move back towards a desire for commercial success. While the album title is far more prog than the previous album, the Bee Gees style cover image and the relative brevity of the tracks suggest the pop aspects of the band are coming to the fore again.

To be fair, the band have never sought to stifle those pop nuances, but on the last two albums, the commercial basis on which the songs were built was admirably disguised through the band developing them to their full potential. It should also be said that this album achieved great success when it made number one in the band's native Finland.

The heavy riffs of 'Miracle' immediately tell us that this is indeed the Brothers Von Hertzen, the vocals and harmonies being as strong as ever. The song is one of several which are strong on melody and performance, but not as fully nurtured as we have come to expect. The comparisons I have made in the past with Norwegian band Aha remain valid here, particularly on songs such as the delightful 'Voices in our Heads', a track which features an appealing evolving chant. 'Angel's eyes' is another highlight, although once again the song remains relatively straightforward and is highly accessible.

'Bring out the Snakes' is an odd track both in the context of the album and of the band's discography. Starting with some odd dialogue, the track evolves as a complex, schizophrenic prog metal number. Odd as it is, it actually works rather well. The closing track 'I Believe' is the longest at just over 8 minutes. After a brief foray into a Queen style intro, the track settles down as a slightly more ambitiously arranged piece.

Were this review being posted to a general music site, I would simply be reporting that this is a truly great album, and leaving it at that. As this is a specialist site though, I should emphasise that wonderful as the the music is, prog fans should be aware that there is little of that genre here. Recommended for those who simply enjoy good music.

My version of the album includes a bonus track in the form of a live version of 'Freedom fighter' from the previous album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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