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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS

Crossover Prog • Finland


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Von Hertzen Brothers picture
Von Hertzen Brothers biography
Formed in 2000 in Helsinki, Finland

When the 90s was coming to its end, all three sons of the von HERTZEN family enjoyed a successful career in the front line of Finnish rock; Kie von HERTZEN was the guitarist for DON HUONOT, one of the most popular rock bands at the time, Jonne von HERTZEN played bass in the backing band of Jonna TERVOMAA and Mikko von HERTZEN was the drummer for EGOTRIPPI and LEMONATOR, but was soon to quit both bands to leave for India to live a simpler life. Von Hertzen Brothers started off around the year 2000 as a way to realize the songs Mikko had been writing in India, and when the two other brothers brought their spices to the table, their first album," Experience" (2001), was born. Kie and Jonne kept to their original instruments, but Mikko stepped to the front taking the lead vocalist / rhythm guitarist duties while still playing the drum parts. They assembled a live band, played a couple of shows in support of the album and went back to their own bands and lives. The album didn't sell very many copies.

A few years later DON HUONOT had broken up and the brothers decided to try working together again. Again consisting mostly of Mikko's songs the band recorded and released "Approach" (2006) to a much warmer response than their debut. Finland's biggest rock magazine Soundi gave the album a glowing review with five stars, and a cut-in-half version of the psychedelic balladish track "Kiss a Wish" conquered the radio waves. Eventually the album went gold in Finland and won the Emma (the Finnish Grammy, kind of) award for best rock album of the year. In 2008 their third album, "Love Remains the Same", shot straight to the number one spot of the Finnish album charts and has so far spent 17 weeks in the top 40.

The band lists as their influences pretty much everything from AC/DC to Yes, but the names most often heard connected to them are KINGSTON WALL, LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD. The final word comes from Mikko: '"von Hertzen" is german and means "from the heart". That's what we try to always keep in mind when writing or performing. We feel the music is pretty much useless, if it doesn't come from our hearts. The point of music, any kind of music, is to create wonderful experiences that are somehow elevating and encouraging. That's our mission. The music is our instrument'


Thanks to Pekka Turunen (Keppa4v) for the biogrpahy

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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 36 ratings
Experience
2001
3.84 | 77 ratings
Approach
2006
4.14 | 187 ratings
Love Remains the Same
2008
3.82 | 131 ratings
Stars Aligned
2011
3.86 | 121 ratings
Nine Lives
2013
3.13 | 44 ratings
New Day Rising
2015
3.78 | 54 ratings
War Is Over
2017
4.00 | 54 ratings
Red Alert in the Blue Forest
2022

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 5 ratings
The Best Of...
2012

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Red Alert in the Blue Forest by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 54 ratings

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Red Alert in the Blue Forest
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by JohnProg

3 stars We are facing one of those albums that flee from the labels, however we could affirm that, despite the varied instrumentation and the different forms and sonorities that inhabit this work, we are facing a fairly accessible album, with special emphasis on the melodies and vocal harmonies that are reinforced and accompanied by instrumental developments that never become complex or technically 'virtuous', rather tend to the sublime (check the endings of "Blue Forest", "All of a Sudden, You're Gone" or "Peace Patrol").

Even having all these qualities, the album as a whole is not satisfactory; irregular in quality and quite excessive in duration for an album that risks little or frustrates any attempt to venture with less conventional structures.

 Red Alert in the Blue Forest by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 54 ratings

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Red Alert in the Blue Forest
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Bursting forth with only their eighth studio album since 2000 and first in five years, the brothers from Finland have come up with a typically solid collection of songs.

1. "Day of Reckoning" (4:39) rousing, well-developed song with a catchy, pertinent message. (8.75/10)

2. "Blue Forest" (9:06) plaintive singing over matching child piano note play for the first minute of this. Bass notes are added for the multi-voice chorus in the second minute. At the end of the fourth minute we switch soundscapes and tempos as the vocalist becomes more personal, in our ear. At 5:26 the music bursts into more abrasive territory, but only briefly, as it soon turns to pop-Gregorian with more synthetic Radiohead/Flaming Lips rhythm tracks beneath. Heavy again for the eight minute in which organ and so many others pick up a new melody motif to play with. Wow! (17.5/20)

3. "The Promise" (5:20) interesting instrumental palette backing a not very interesting melody or structure--though the strings and vocal performances are outstanding. (8.5/10)

4. "All of a Sudden, You're Gone" (7:12) nice vocal, melody, and lytic presented by piano, cello and bass. At 2:15 a coda of full-rock instrumentation breaks in between the second and third verses. I really like this vocal! Obviously, the brothers are mourning the loss of someone(s) important to them. A top three song, for sure. (13.5/15)

5. "Peace Patrol" (10:00) okay 80s-pop first three minutes is embellished by oud-like instrument in fourth minute of instrumental but then switches direction, completely, turning into heavier, plodding, anthemic rock that is lifted to amazing heights by one of the best sax solos you've heard in a rock song for decades! (I swear I hear a little Kingston Wall in this music!) This, then, is followed by some stellar and sustained guitar soloing in the second half. Emotional and awesome! Definitely a top three song even though there are so many others! (18.25/20)

6. "Pirates of the Raseborgian" (4:57) Now this was unexpected! A sea shanty! Cute and, surprisingly, highly engaging. (9/10)

7. "Anil" (6:45) acoustic guitar picking with ethereal airy vocals makes for quite a lovely musical presentation. Great vocals, great melodies, great chorus, great lyrics! Great thickly layered instrumental finish. Another top three song. Beautiful! Comparable to some of the great folk-rock singer songwriters of the 1970s. (13.5/15)

8. "Elbowed" (5:16) heavily horn-infused rock opening thins out for the vocal presentation. Nice melodies from vocalists and the individual instruments. A bit of an Andy Partridge/XTC feel. There is definitely a lot going on here! (8.75/10)

9. "Northern Lights" (7:39) embellishing the actual recorded sounds of aurora borealis with their own creative electronicisms, the Brothers have churned out a highly enjoyable electro-pop piece which includes multiple catchy melody riffs each vying for the listeners' attention. Then add in the spacey vocal and you've got a song worthy of radio play. There's so much to this song! Thank you, Finland, for letting your talented sons share their talents with the rest of us! Reminds me very much of a great psych-rock song from the late Petri Walli (KINGSTON WALL). My favorite song on the album. (14/15)

10. "Söderskär" (3:45) nice dreamy little psych-pop dittie. Reminds me of Moon Safari, Gadi Kaplan, or Needlepoint. So polished and mature. (9/10)

11. "Disappear There" (4:52) forest fairie folk with a bit of John Martyn, Ant Phillips, and Nicholas John Talbot (Gravenhurst) infused within. Beautiful and classic! (9/10)

Total Time 69:31

My history with the Von Hertzen Brothers is that, while the music and songs often strike one upon first listen as fresh, creative, and interesting, successive visits are not always as engaging or interesting. I've had this problem with almost every Von Hertzen Brothers release, which had left me less excited for each successive release. Perhaps its due to my lack of engagement and/or interest in the lyrical messages, perhaps due to the attention the songs demand (in order to gleen the subtle complexities). At the same time, I really and truly appreciate the maturity of the VH Bros' songwriting, their intelligent and sophisticated lyrics and lyrical content, and their highly polished, "finished" song productions. I am pleased to announce that all of this has continued to improve with this album--and especially my previous malaise. I've been listening to this album almost exclusively for about a week and am enjoying the layers and subtleties I'm discovering with each and every listen. But I must issue a warning: This is NOT background music! It needs to be listened to with your fullest attention! It not only demands it, it deserves it! One more thing: Did I mention: these brothers can sing: each of the three is so solid and talented!

A-/4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--one of the best releases I've heard from 2022 (so far)--and quite possibly in the running for Album of the Year. I'll let you know after more listens. Warning: This is not background music!

P.S. Has anyone else ever noted the subtle presence of the "ghost of Petri Walli" in the VHB music?

 Red Alert in the Blue Forest by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 54 ratings

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Red Alert in the Blue Forest
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by 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 90´s. 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.

 Approach by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.84 | 77 ratings

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Approach
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

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 rock, and it's testament to their songwriting quality that they were ever able to make a name in either scene, let alone both. This is arguably their most progressive album too, complete with a 3-minute ney (Persian flute) solo in album highlight "Kiss a Wish". And though their skill undeniable lies in the big choruses and riffs that would make them big names in their home country, and those catchy parts are definitely the best part of this record too, it's nice to hear them being a bit indulgent here as it makes the album flow beautifully.

8.0 (8th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Approach by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.84 | 77 ratings

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Approach
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by tigerfeet

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 album.

The album opens with the track Disciple of the Sun as if it is getting ready to launch with a beautiful angelic harmony; although you just have that feeling that you are about to embark on some kind of amazing trip.

And there you are, suddenly thrust right into the very flavor of the album.

The arrangement and production quality is just amazing and throughout this album you really do feel inside a huge arena but with a god-like graphic equalizer so as to not make you feel distant from the warmth of the sound.

The amazing thing about VHB is that they get away with many driving guitar riffs that at first sound a little poppy in nature but it only with many listenings you begin to grasp what they are trying to achieve; which is making rock relevant and popular again.

The 2nd track Let Thy Will be Done is a great example of early Purple mixed with a little Lenny Kravitz with a modern feel to it.

Each track has many magical moments and the sound is sooo rich, and has such depth and deliberation. Not to mention, the brothers are all extremely talented musicians, singers, and producers.

Each track certainly moves and flows like water and waterfalls. Which is great, if you like to not know where you are going.

River is the 3rd track which delves into the mystical and eastern sound to start and almost gives a wink to Enya ? but again you know it will be going somewhere else very shortly. What a wonderful catchy tune and expert musicianship and production and grand in nature.

Von Hertzen Brothers know how to enjoy themselves and know how to create an atmosphere. In Your Arms is a kind of love song as well as almost a nostalgic look back at the Crimson King with a dash of Stills and Nash. These guys appreciate love and birth and put much into songs about their loved ones. Again, there is nothing predictable for long with VHB. This is one of the most creative tracks overall on the album.

Open Water Stormy Weather is a fun track which evolves into a very catchy song. After listening a few times you almost hear parts of each track repeating through your mind. The track melds in nicely with the next track Ocean of Mercy.

Kiss a Wish

By far their most popular song in Finland, and as much as it was cute, and some may even go as far to say predictable, all is forgiven for the honesty of the song and complexity of something that at first is dismissible. The song is Floyd-esque in that it has many parts inside one song. This keeps the interest and makes the song complete and intelligent in nature even with teeny pop lyrics like 'Kiss A Wish'. Surely it is not so bad to want a Kiss or a Wish from time to time?

After all is the last track. This little gem is just simply gorgeous. Atmospheric, clever, with wonderful vocals to boot. It leaves you there where it found you, wanting more, but satisfied with the journey, but knowing you will be back again soon. What more can one ask of an album?

However, there are two bonus tracks on the LP.

Ebb Tide Ride is the first bonus track is a wonderful shuffle train with some awesome rockabilly style drumming skills mixed with some Tarantino, and basically a track for the musicians to get some solo time. But it is a worthy stand alone track and rocks very well.

The last bonus track on the album is another version of the earlier track River. This one is a little more acoustic in nature and so different that it took me a while to realize it was the same track. A little sitar is never missed.

To sum up.

Approach, at first take, can be underestimated or even overlooked, but VHB have all the right elements; Fire, Earth, Air and of course Water. Certain tracks will flow through you and leave lasting impressions in your thoughts. At random moments their catchy songs will appear in your mind. An energetic album full with the flow of love, life and what is to come.

4.5 Stars from me on this album for being as close to progrock that crossover can be and for surprising me each time I listen.

 War Is Over by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.78 | 54 ratings

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War Is Over
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by tigerfeet

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

 War Is Over by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.78 | 54 ratings

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War Is Over
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

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...
 Love Remains the Same by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 187 ratings

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Love Remains the Same
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Accessible melodic rock prog outfits who draw heavily on Pink Floyd are thick on the ground and often leave me cold, but on Love Remains the Same, their third album, Von Hertzen Brothers overcome my usual scepticism about this style thanks mainly to the fact that they don't just regurgitate the same tired old Floydian motifs (echoed telephone vocals, etc.) but actually seem to have some appreciation of the old masters' compositional style, as well as some intriguingly cryptic subject matter to apply it to rather than the usual tired old moaning about modern life. The end result is an engaging and entertaining album which deserves your attention.
 New Day Rising by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.13 | 44 ratings

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New Day Rising
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Having listened only to samples of Von Hertzen Brothers' music previously, I was intrigued to receive this promo of ''New Day Rising''. With a first spin, one might wonder if this band is actually Finnish, since their sound resembles heavily to popular (Brit and American) rock bands.

The good thing is that there is a lot to say about this album and band; the bad is that not a lot is overly positive...

''New Day Rising'' is a generally well-made pop-rock album with catchy melodies, a talented vocalist in Mikko von Hertzen (who can sound like Eddie Vedder, Bono, Thom Yorke, Herman Saming, you name it) and a more-than-strong commercial approach. Strong influences on this album come from U2 and Coldplay (e.g. New Day Rising, Sunday Child), Muse and Radiohead with tracks ranging from straight-rockers such as ''You Don't Know My Name'' (with a hint of Hawkwind space psychedelia) and ''Trouble'' (heavy mid-tempo with oriental and Sabbathy touches) through to disappointing ballads such as ''Black Rain'' or ''Hibernating heart'' and light hearted indie radio tunes such as ''Hold me Up'' and ''Dreams''.

One might ask, where is the prog? Well, there are scattered references to Moon Safari and Muse, and it gets more interesting in ''Love Burns'' (reminding me of A.C.T.) and the 70's-oriented groovy ''The Destitute'', which along with ''Trouble'' make up the highlights of this album. The flow of the album is complicated, since it starts with 3 relatively steady rockers and then turns to a much softer mood. The lyrics seem to be dominated by love themes to the extreme, which doesn't help. The positive is that there is fair variety of (alternative, indie, hard) rock sounds that might appeal to the general radio rock audience and might satisfy the very, very open minded proggers out there. Thus, if you don't mind a well-done pop-rock album along with glimpses of modern prog and can tolerate lyrics such as ''my heart is like a hibernating Romeo...'', you will enjoy this. Some of its parts I certainly did but I found it equally frustrating that the band don't use the full potential of their apparent talent.

Thanks to Freeman Promotions for the promo.

 Approach by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.84 | 77 ratings

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Approach
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

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.

//LinusW

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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