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Von Hertzen Brothers - War Is Over CD (album) cover

WAR IS OVER

Von Hertzen Brothers

Crossover Prog


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4 stars This new album was made on the ground of their childhood in an isolated small island "Söderskär" where each musician participates in the writing process by bringing their own influences. From the 12 minutes opener, "War Is Over" we know we are in the presence of something out of the ordinary. The pace is a like a roller coaster that you can't stop after you have come out of the gate, it gets a little breather with "Who are You" and "Wanderlust". There are many layers of sound, plenty of catchy hook and grooving music with some huge keyboards, incredible guitar hook and on top of that some diverse and impressive vocals. The past reference is from many genres, from alternative rock, classic rock, and prog rock. The band manages to create some direct and captivating music while offering enough complexity to make you want to listen again to make sure you have absorbed everything. You can hear the hard work the band has put on the arrangements with the exotic guitar tones and about how each instrument should sound. After listening to this album, I was unable to say what kind of music it was, listening to "Long Lost Sailor", it's closer to pop music than anything else on the album. But like the band said; "we wanted to make an album that comes from the heart". Yes, that is probably the most important thing...
Report this review (#1822184)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Von Hertzen Brothers ' War is Over

It took me about four listens to get what this album it is all about. That is not saying it is not catchy or has epic tunes, it just takes a little more than being handed the goods to you on a silver plate.

What VHB have done here is pull together a unique and compelling album, beautiful and emotional at times whilst rip-roaring with a 'no care in the world' attitude, at others.

Perhaps this is the very essence that Von Hertzen Brothers wanted to convey in this tight and motivated prog rock album.

At first listen you are kind of going from track to track trying to gather as much information as possible. But there is so much information in each track, that you miss much of it even after a couple of listens.

What is apparent is that Von Hertzen Brothers have found a new lease of greatness and in this album they almost achieve it on every track.

Sami Kuoppam'ki appears on parts of this album as drums/percussion/arrangements and you can hear the Kingston Wall drummers' influence in a very positive way on various parts of the album.

Although the theme appears to be about the emotions of love and loss, it is could also be about human differences, real life wars, and the pain that occurs all over the world.

War is Over

The album begins with a fine intro leading to a most thoughtful song about war and also perhaps our relationships with each other. I was totally taken aback with the purity of the falsetto in this song considering it is quite a rocking tune over all, along with a driving bass line, intricate drums, and warm guitars throughout.

To the End of the World

There is nothing wrong with writing a song about love and relationships, more so if it is not in your face and not clich'. Sometimes it is not where the song begins but where it goes and this song certainly goes somewhere unexpected.

The Arsonist

Here the album takes a new turn and does well on the pop rock side of things. I found myself forgiving the obvious on this track due to the production quality. All that was missing was a well placed cow bell.

Jerusalem

As this symphonic epic prog rock track rears its slithering head from the aptly named song title, we find ourselves listening to a tune much about the march of war and continuing of the cycle of violence. The fact is that rock music in general has always had a close affinity to despair, war and loss and is often so powerful that it helps our world change; aka Pink Floyd's The Wall; that to many appeared to be just an inward self centered look at just ones self pity, but eventually evolved to become one of the most influential albums of the 80s; after all, music is often about uniting people against adversity.

Frozen Butterflies

A breathless rolling journey into love and emotion through a strong fast tune a delicate touch brings the listener closer to the lyrics

Who Are You

Even more so delicate is the beauty of new life and this song captures this so purely. There is most likely no event in life that is more significant that bringing a new life into this world.

Blindsight

This track is probably the most interesting for me on this album. I am still working out exactly what it is about but I guess sometimes one can just go along for the enjoyment of the ride without thinking too much.

Long Lost Sailor

This one's a little flashback to the late 80's with catchy, grungy, guitar rifts, almost alterative/indie pop/rock in its essence, but it works and the catchy riff gets you enjoying this little gem every time you hear it, I almost felt like I was galloping along on a large frothy white horse across the open ocean.

Wanderlust

This may be the best track on the album. Any song that begins with such a rich falsetto you just know the journey ahead will be amazing. It really is an amazing song and well written and could have been recorded by a plethora of 'popular' artists from Cold Play to Adele and may have been a massive hit, it's that good.

Beyond the Storm

This track may have accidentally been a 'tip of the hat' to the song Warrior by Wishbone Ash from their 1972 album Argos, with marching band drums and legions of warriors lining up with hands on hearts.

To Sum Up, I took much away from this album and perhaps most importantly in how this album spoke to me is, as the listener, was to try and eventually overcome preconceived obstacles by marching forward; hopefully coming out of it all with a better perspective on what is most important in life. I can't wait for VHB next upcoming projects and hope they are as good or better as War is Over.

Four Stars from me for an Excellent, honest and to the point album

Report this review (#2097306)
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2018 | Review Permalink

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