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Von Hertzen Brothers

Crossover Prog

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Von Hertzen Brothers Approach album cover
3.83 | 85 ratings | 5 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Disciple of the Sun (8:12)
2. Let Thy Will Be Done (4:47)
3. River (4:02)
4. Endlessly (8:20)
5. In Your Arms (5:37)
6. Open Water Stormy Weather (4:47)
7. Ocean of Mercy (7:42)
8. Kiss a Wish (9:30)
9. After All (5:03)

Total Time 58:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Mikko von Hertzen / lead vocals, guitars, etc.
- Kie von Hertzen / lead guitars, vocals
- Jonne von Hertzen / bass, vocals
- Sami Kuoppamäki / drums & percussion, co-arranger

- Laura Närhi / vocals (7)
- Maikki Liuski / vocals (8,9)
- Juha Kuoppala / keyboards
- Tommi Lindell / keyboards (9)
- Jukka Puurula / viola & violin (3)
- Antto Melasniemi / flute (5)
- Sonny Heinilä / ney flute (8)
- Tuomas Murtomaa / French horn (9)
- Juho Martikainen / double bass (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Janne Pitkanen (InferiArt)

CD Dynasty Recordings ‎- 985 433-8 (2006, Finland)

Thanks to Pipru for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Approach ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Coming of age

Following the general apathy which greeted their first outing together, the brothers Von Hertzen took about five years to reconvene for another collaboration. "Approach" was released in 2006 to a much more receptive audience, gaining an "Emma" award in the band's native Finland (for best rock album) and selling in vast quantities in that country.

As with their début release, "Approach" is mainly written by Mikko Von Hertzen, the line up being augmented by the arrival of full time drummer Sami Kuoppamäki, ex of Kingston Wall.

Right from the opening 8 minute "Disciple of the Sun", it is clear that the band's ambitions lay beyond the enjoyable but straightforward pop rock of the first album. OK, so they still look a bit like Aha on the front cover, but there is an ambition and imagination to the arrangement here which was kept firmly in check on "Experience". Although "Disciple of the Sun" is based around a highly melodic pop rock style with impressive harmonies, it twists and turns through different themes and tempos in a Yes like way. Only the lack of a proper instrumental break challenges the prog nature of the track.

"Let thy will be done", the first single released from the album, is much more in keeping with that first album, a heavy guitar riff being at the core of a well performed, highly enjoyable, but essentially standard rock number. "River" uses soft/loud alternation to good effect with soaring mellotron like sounds creating a wall of sound to counterpoint the strong melody.

"Endlessly" is the second of the longer tracks, again running to around 8 minutes. The track appears at first to be an extension of the soft part of "River" before breaking into some fine distorted lead guitar. The feel here is of melodic pop bands such as Elbow and Keane, the multi part vocals being particularity strong. The main melody of "In your arms" leaves me unmoved, but the slightly Celtic tinge to the instrumental section makes the track worthwhile, as do the Uriah Heep like high harmonies. "Open Water, Stormy Weather" is the weak link of the album. While the track has an enthusiastic rhythm, it is a bland rock song with prosaic lyrics such as "Life is an opportunity, don't throw away the key".

"Ocean of mercy" on the other hand is an admirably ambitious song, drawing in influences from bands such as Pink Floyd while creating something impressively original. The sound comes in waves, with loud harmonies and soft acoustic guitar sitting perfectly together in a delicious melting pot of pop and prog. "Kiss a wish" is the longest track on the album at 9½ minutes. An edited version was however released as a second single from the album. It is easy to spot where the editing would have been done, the core of the track being an extended acoustic guitar and ney flute section which develops superbly towards some fine lead guitar. An undoubted highlight of the album, "Kiss a wish" is a quite delightful epic.

The album closes with "After all", a track which seemed to me to be a bit like a cross between "The great gig in the sky" and "Eclipse", thus making for the perfect close to the album.

I have to say that overall this is a truly exceptional album. The Brothers have come on in leaps and bounds since their 2001 début, to a point where they have the confidence and ability to deliver something rather special. The album boast strengths in all departments from song-writing to performance, from arrangements to production. Recommended.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There's something remarkably inviting and welcoming on Approach. Perhaps it's the warm, soothing, slightly fuzzy and enveloping atmosphere of this set of songs or the prodigious talent for writing catchy, inspiring and engaging melodies. It might be the propensity to dress up the arrangements with crisp, rich and urgent vocal harmonies or the joyful, fiery guitar and peppy, powerful drumming. An accessible album through and through.

Where the Von Hertzen Brothers base their wilder excursions in some sort of pop rock format, it's full of reverence and admiration of past masters rather than what you would hear on the radio today, without ever sounding dated or copied in any way. I guess you could say it's a fresh, timeless and happy reminder of the power pop of the 60s and 70s, but with a lot of added adornments. These adornments come in various shapes and forms, but most prominently it grows into progressive rock territory in grand, expansive and sweeping arrangements with a flair for the dramatic (just check out the second half of After All!). At times the underlying musical backing in itself isn't very technical or particularly grandstanding, but the skilful and layered arrangements simply soar. I love it. But there's always an immaculate sense of space and low-key colouring in moodier passages where keyboards, guitars and bass are given room to be more introvert and intimately melodic. Well-needed breaks in an otherwise very hearty meal. Some seasoning also come in the form of spicy guitar riffs and solo excursions here and then, so regardless of the melodic gregariousness there is a decent amount of bite to be found.

It is a very consistent album with very few duds, but there is a slight tendency for fluff to creep in to the songs, where the harmonies get just a bit too ingratiating, the poppier side of the band gets a bit too much room and where the generally warm product gets bogged down in a starry-eyed, mid-tempo and brightly coloured puff of not wanting to bother anything or anyone. Ever. In other words - too smooth. And after a while the vocals can occasionally start to get annoyingly declamatory, bordering on preachy. On Stars Aligned, the other Von Hertzen Brothers album I've reviewed, this felt like less of a problem, perhaps because it felt slightly more daring and expansive in its ideas and moods.

Nevertheless, this is a very nice experience for anyone into the more melodic side of prog rock and I never regret coming back to it, even with some slight reservations in mind. It lifts you up and makes you happy. That's never a bad thing.

3 stars, but not at all far from 4.


Latest members reviews

4 stars Listening diary 12th July 2021: Von Hertzen Brothers - Approach (alternative/progressive rock, 2006) For a debut, and this more or less is one, this is insanely assured. Von Hertzen Brothers exist in a reasonably thankless niche - somewhere between accessible radio rock and pompous progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#2592144) | Posted by Gallifrey | Saturday, September 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Approach was arguably one of VHBs' most creative and progressive albums and there were a lot of talented guest musicians who added ingredients to this album. Not to mention the ex-Kingston Wall drummer Sammi Kuoppamaki who is considered extremely highly in Scandanavia, who also co-arranged this albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2118381) | Posted by tigerfeet | Monday, January 14, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was surprised no one had a written review on this album yet. I am somewhat new to Von Hertzen Brothers music as I tried out their most recent "Love Remains the Same' album after some great reviews. I was not disappointed at all and it spurred me to check out the "Approach" album. So here I ... (read more)

Report this review (#414932) | Posted by cutsofmeat | Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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