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Von Hertzen Brothers biography
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

Von Hertzen Brothers official website

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New Day RisingNew Day Rising
Spinefarm 2015
Audio CD$7.71
$10.74 (used)
Love Remains the SameLove Remains the Same
Universal UK 2011
Audio CD$28.79
$28.53 (used)
Nine LivesNine Lives
Import · Limited Edition
Universal UK 2013
Audio CD$5.38
$5.45 (used)
Imports 2007
Audio CD$8.64
$58.94 (used)
Imports 2011
Audio CD$5.99
$3.59 (used)
Stars AlignedStars Aligned
Universal UK 2011
Audio CD$7.11
$7.10 (used)
Best of: Von Hertzen BrothersBest of: Von Hertzen Brothers
Spinefarm 2012
Audio CD$26.72
$24.99 (used)
Stars Aligned by Von Hertzen Brothers (2011-03-29)Stars Aligned by Von Hertzen Brothers (2011-03-29)
Audio CD$52.74
Approach by Von Hertzen Brothers (2007-07-10)Approach by Von Hertzen Brothers (2007-07-10)
Audio CD$64.50
Best of: Von Hertzen Brothers by Von Hertzen Brothers (2012-04-16)Best of: Von Hertzen Brothers by Von Hertzen Brothers (2012-04-16)
Audio CD$75.86
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.07 | 26 ratings
3.81 | 58 ratings
4.21 | 148 ratings
Love Remains the Same
3.82 | 115 ratings
Stars Aligned
3.86 | 97 ratings
Nine Lives
2.85 | 22 ratings
New Day Rising

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


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

5.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of...

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 New Day Rising by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.85 | 22 ratings

New Day Rising
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

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
3.81 | 58 ratings

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.


 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 97 ratings

Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars The Finnish band Von Hertzen Brothers' fifth record from this years is well produced and quite different music, yet rather commercial and mostly good. "Nine lives" is the name and on the cover we can behold nine tiger faces in different colours. The line-up is Mikko von Hertzen (voice, guitar), Kie von Hertzen(guitar, voice), Jonne von Hertzen(bass, guitar), Mikko Kaakkuriniemi(drums) and Juha Kuoppala(keyboards). A half year after its release I heard the record twice and I find it enjoyable.

I think von Hertzen Brothers have their best times when they're fast and poppy and sing together. The first track is also the best: "Insomniac" is such a track, very catchy but also strong, with powerful melody, harmonies and instruments(8/10). Then comes the clamping dashing "Flowers and rust" (6/10) and "Coming home" where you'd find "normal" rock moments and a nice guitar in the background(6/10). "Lost in time" is inferior, when I really like the musical background I find the vocals and the melody annoying(5/10). "Separate forevers"(3/10) would I not recommend, I can't say anything else than it's boring. "One may never know" is little better but to caotic for me(4/10). Then it becomes better again: "World without" is a long track with competent harmony singers and the song developped to power and style(6/10). "Black Heart's Cry" is the albums second best track(7/10) and such as the first this is fast and has the popular touch. Before they started sing I also got a folky feeling. Then the album concludes with "Prospect for escape" which is not a favourite(5/10), but too long.

I like some of the songs and it's enough for three stars. What the band does seems rather unique and I am happy I explored this record. But it can surely never be a favourite, it's too radio minded for me. Perhaps I also think it's too modern and catchy. This record has, just like the newest Moon Safari record very easy acquired music and that would appeal to some, not really to me. My rating= 2,78 = 3 stars.

 Stars Aligned by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 115 ratings

Stars Aligned
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

4 stars Dripping, over-enriched power-nuggets of unadulterated catchiness and melodious joy. Ye gods what a high-octane ride through the more digestible parts of progressive rock!

The purity of this soaring, uplifting euphoria of blistering light and hook-dominated crossover is relentless and oh-so-pleasing. If you expect things to grate, clash or just quietly and discreetly melt together, shield your ears from this zenith-like ray of burning emotionality and harmony.

Von Hertzen Brothers effectively launch a set of songs that grabs you right at your most sentimental, receptive and melodic state of mind, only to lift you ever higher in their rich tapestry of space-atmosphere, tight riff-and-percussion power and die-hard melodiousness. The instruments happily stay safely close together, but often enough still bustlingly independent, in punchy, grandiose and groovy riffs or melodies that eagerly fly away as light as feathers. Clear, razor-sharp harmonies (especially the near omnipresent vocal ones) burst out as often as they're called for. On Stars Aligned, that's pretty much constantly. Calmer bits pleasantly plod along familiar musical walkways in self-assured sincerity and familiarity. Sure, there are the spacious, more atmospheric bits around, where things swirl, resonate, twinkle and pulse more than usually in pop-infused rock of this style. It's rather tense at times, but never very ethereal or ambient, as you might find it in more old-school space rock. Nowhere are you pleasantly lost in time or confused in any way, but rather happily floating on an interesting, but relatively safe river you know will happily reach the sea. And there's a compositional diversity you don't find in your everyday rock band. But despite that, all of this is just another platform on which to launch and contrast the shameless glory of melody and harmony that rise above everything else. I know. Those words keep coming up again and again, but there's a very strong reason for it.

Yes, there are streaks of the familiar and hints of the cliché from all over, but still mixed together and presented with more energy, creative vigour and sincerity than you normally find in this type of music.

So...starry-eyed wonder and orgiastic pleasure in wild, freely flowing torrents of atmospherically infused, direct and eager melodic and harmonic overload and affluent instrumental excess. That's what you get. When properly executed that's a winner in my book. If you disagree, stay far away from Stars Aligned.

4 stars.


 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 97 ratings

Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If there's one thing I love about the Von Hertzen Brothers, it's that they know how to give us variety and personality. These guys have the chops to do whatever they want; but, like their other albums, "Nine Lives" is a big ol' bag of tricks of all shapes and sizes.

Brother Mikko, the singer, has a wonderful voice that can be used in so many ways. You see, "Nine Lives' features great little ballads, rocking accessible songs, and soaring prog pieces. They can do all of these comfortably, and Mikko can change his voice to fit the style. "Insomniac", for instance, features some very high vocals with much melody. However, "Coming Home" features Mikko channeling Billy idol a bit with that low and almost creepy style that bounces off the bass lines so well.

I think this ability is not just consigned to Mikko. All of the instruments follow suit as they can change to play whatever style they so desire, and they spar with Mikko very well, too. In other words, this album is simply fun and a joy to hear, even if it's not the most challenging music to absorb. Yes, I just used the word "fun" to describe a prog album! What these guys lose in challenging music, they gain in purely interesting music.

If you are looking for a great album of semi-catchy prog rock, look no further. You won't get any epics or any ambient tracks, but you will get the Von Hertzen Brothers rocking your socks off and creating some wonderful melodies, too.

 Love Remains the Same by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.21 | 148 ratings

Love Remains the Same
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a terrific album! This crossover prog band has a great melodic style. They don't try to overdo it on technicality or speed. They write beautiful music that arouses the emotions and lifts the spirits. Amazing, soaring melodies are the key here. The band even plays around with some Spanish sounds here, too.

This album is great from start to finish. "Spanish 411" and "Faded Photographs" are both fantastic songs, but the unequivocally best song on this album is "The Willing Victim". This song is simply stunning in every way. The structure is superb and the vocals are breath- taking!! It takes you and allows you to soar on the crest of the melody. This would have been a 5-star album for sure had the rest of the album been as fantastic. As it is, it is a strong 4-star album. Highly recommended!

 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 97 ratings

Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by BORA

3 stars Potentially sensational - lost to lack of direction.

I normally stay clear of Crossover, but having a soft spot for Scandinavian artists, I was intrigued. Those tiny nations (by population) have produced a disproportionate number of excellent artists.

Thanks to some Nordic friends who kept me in the picture since the mid-70's, I claim to have a bit of an insight. How many of you have ever heard of NONO SODERBERG (Sweden), a fine Jazz guitarist? I rest my case here.

This write-up is intended to be more of an evaluation of the VON HERTZEN BROTHERS in general, as opposed to a single album.

These cats are extremely talented and capable of creating sensational Prog anthems rarely encountered these days. On the side, they are also able to deliver vocal harmonies that would make GENTLE GIANT turn green with envy. Alas, these moments are few and far between.

The bulk of their material consists of pleasant, but pointless noodlings alongside with nods to U2, even SWEET (!). Not bad, but wouldn't be missed.

The odd track definitely qualifies for a big 5, but the bulk of their material brings the score down to 3. Given the right support, these cats could become one of the Top 20s in Prog of today. As it is, they remain in Crossover territory. A real loss.

 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 97 ratings

Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by arcane-beautiful

5 stars Grrr...Tigers. And there is 9 of them.

So this band I have known about only for a short time. They were on tour with Pain Of Salvation, and I was told that Pain Of Salvations new sound actually has a similar sound and vein to this band. So I thought I would give them a listen, and I was impressed.

So when a new album was coming out, I decided to give the band a chance, mainly cause I've never owned an album from the band. Problem is, because of this album, I might have to buy the rest of there albums now.

This album really surprised me. A very almost experimental album, with a very varied and brilliant mixture of styles. Also, one of the biggest positives that these guys have is that they can always keep the listener interested. Usually bands will have an interesting moment and drag it on for very long periods of time. This band are very gifted songwriters and crafters and are brilliant and writing perfectly succinct songs.

The album also runs very well together. The first 3 songs, which easily could be singles and even top pop singles charts are a brilliant intro, while the rest of the songs deal with longer compositions and more experimental styles of songwriting. A very different album and a big suprise to people who have never heard this band before. I gleefully will listen to their older material and be on the look out to see what they will release next.

I also recommend buying the special edition edition, because the bonus tracks are brilliant songs too. I can see why they weren't on the album, because they have a different 'path' to the rest of the songs.

1. Insomniac - A brilliant way to start of an album. One of the most rockiest and fist in the air songs. Brilliant chorus and amazing vocals from Mikko. 10/10

2. Flowers & Rust - The first song I heard from this album, that made me want to buy it. This song has such a powerful hook that it will be stuck in your head for days. Amazing performances from the whole band. 10/10

3. Coming Home - The band's take on American rock...I think. A pretty fun and catchy song. Pretty cheesy at times, but meh who cares. 9/10

4. Lost In Time - The band's take on Space rock. A very atmospheric and rocking song, with a lot of interesting keyboard and guitar work throughout. 9/10

5. Separate Forevers - Ok, this song is a weird one. Very creepy and atmospheric, and almost frightening in an odd way. A brilliant and odd moment on the album, but one of the best. 10/10

6. One May Never Know - A song that reminds me of John Butler Trio. Nice guitar work throughout. One of my least favourite songs on the album, but it's still pretty impressive. 8/10

7. World Without - Probably the album's most epic songs. It moves and changes so much throughout, from an almost choir like start to an epic singalong ending. A very anthemic and epic song. 10/10

8. Black Heart's Cry - One of my other least favourite songs on the album, one of the reasons being that the song is a bit too much like Jethro Tull song, and I have some mixed feelings with Jethro Tull. 8/10

9. Prospect For Escape -An epic ending to the album. Very atmospheric with a great build up. One of Mikko's best vocal performances too. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Only really knowing one song from this band, I was expecting this album to be an arrangement of poppy prog like songs with great hooks. I was very surprised though. A mixture of styles throughout and a very big stylistic impact, making everything and every moment of these songs making the band and the material throughout very unique.


 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 97 ratings

Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by AdaCalegorn

5 stars To be honest, I've been looking for new bands, sounds and musical proposals being the nordic countries those who are at the spearhead in recent years. Previously to this record, I've never heard anything from finnish' Von Hertzen Brothers. So if there's any lack of consideration or musical gaps from my part, my bad and humble apologies. Truthfully there are not really new sounds or proposal among the songs, but there's definitely preserves the progressive spirit.

The album starts with grunge-alternative tune's "Insomniac" there's a little from Porcupine Tree mood, perhaps a little Ritual also. Nothing new, still sounds fresh. The tri decided to continue with a ballad via "Flowers and Rust", here the atmosphere waves up and down among sections plenty emotional. Good tune. "Coming Home" busts into a more commercial side, almost into the nineties, yet functional and funny. This grunge and kind of metal trend follows with the bleaker and spectral "Lost in Time". The moog effects and the ghostly vibes works effectively along the song. An almost Ayreon atmosphere leads the way. It's a wonderful work. That mood follows trough out "Separates Forever" calmer and darker, introduces into a kind of grief, the reverberation tears emotionally patiently shoving the listener with desperate squeal a la Licari. And then the energy burps back within acoustic guitar arpeggios and running horses' piano. The vocal harmonies run as well following the pace at the drums and bass. All follows into a constant rhythm, then explodes frantic again to fade in a clam chord. "World without" is the more progressive song, with an a cappella intro, nearly Dear Hunter, turns quiet and the somber piano bridges for a calm and hopeful tune alluding Queen harmonies and ballads. A little more folky change for "Black's Heart Cry" half Ritual half Jethro Tull, they explores their musical skills for native sounds. The album ends with another spatial and ethereal atmosphere with "Prospect for Escape" once again the indie style and PT influences comes in the stage. Then again, there have find the way to print their own signature among those influences. And the spirit goes flying around the room.

There's a special edition with three bonus tracks: "The Climb" the indie mood fringes with the folk rhythm. Pleasant but not quite interesting. "Do What You Want With Me" is more like a demo try for the grunge-metal tunes in the record. "Between the Lines" the most callable of the bonus, works like an alternate ending. There's still PT influence and spatial mood, but has not the same strength. Yet you can enjoy it as well.

The whole record staggers, lacking of a definitive direction, but all their qualities lies under emotional sheets. They manage to keep the progressive soul and mentality and to became accessible enough for all those newbies out there.

 Love Remains the Same by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.21 | 148 ratings

Love Remains the Same
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is what crossover prog should be; this is the sort of album against which all other crossover albums should be compared. This is music without pretension, music that is content to forgo lengthy technical sections or extended instrumental show-offs in favor of irreplaceable composition. Every song is incredibly melodic, with infinitely sing-able choruses and vocal lines that will give you chills. This certainly isn't particularly difficult or challenging music, but it's darn good, and some of the most listenable stuff I've heard in a long time.

"Bring Out the Sun (So Alive)" begins the album with a slow buildup. A slow repeated melody that's repeated over and over, being added onto by various instruments until vocals enter and the track takes on a spacey, laid back feel aided by psychedelic keyboard parts and great vocal harmonies. At about 5 minutes in the track abruptly changes tone, taking on a much more up-tempo feel and launching into a scorching organ solo that helps introduce a new main melody. Despite the fact that more or less the same melody is used throughout the track it never feels repetitive, which is due largely to the strength of the melodies used and the brilliant pacing. Small changes are made in the music throughout to give the song a sense of drama and it works brilliantly, with the result being that "Bring Out the Sun" comes off sounding like a bona fide prog epic despite its generally homogeneous composition.

"Spanish 411," as its title might suggest, has a bit of a Spanish folk music flair to it, though it's also quite a rocker. The vocal melodies are again spectacular, as are the use of harmonies, and there's some rather understated but still very effective horn playing that eventually increases in its intensity as the track goes on. This all results in a kind of prog-rock mariachi sound that culminates in a great reprise of the vocal melody. A stellar track and some of the catchiest prog music I've ever heard.

"Freedom Fighter" is another highlight of the album. Beginning with a punchy, syncopated guitar part, the track quickly develops into a driving, upbeat little song that's as charming as it is easy to sing along with. Excellent interplay between keyboards, guitars and strings really helps to bring out the melodies as well, ensuring that this song is one that will likely get stuck in your head. How much prog can you say that about? Add to this the fact that every note in the song hits like a train despite its catchiness and you've got all the makings of a pop-prog classic.

"Somewhere In The Middle" takes the tempo down a little bit, trading in driving guitars and cheery horns for a melancholy introductory verse backed by tender piano. Once the song gets to about the three minute mark, however, the grandeur of the previous 3 tracks returns, with vocals soaring towards the heavens and spot-on perfect interaction between guitar, percussion and piano. Again, the vocal harmonies cannot be overlooked, with multiple voices blending together to transform great melodies into holistically great sung parts.

"In The End" opts for a slightly darker sound, with some spookily atmospheric keyboard parts faintly lurking behind a guitar and piano part that wouldn't sound out of place in a neo-noir film. The vocals in this section are suited to the music perfectly, with a proper degree of restraint and mystery; however, the real high point of the song is the chorus. Guitars crash in and the already spot-on singing ascends to new heights, with incredibly passionate and raw delivery. Following this is a bit of an interlude section, with a slower tempo and lower, more restrained vocal harmonies that eventually build back up to reprise the chorus. It's an incredibly effective compositional technique, so much so, in fact, that by the final chorus there's a strong urge to simply stand up and belt along with the singer. The end of the track returns to the slinkier, darker motif for a brief moment before a brief but very good keyboard duet closes out the song and leads into the next.

"Faded Photograph" begins with a brief instrumental section that can only be described as triumphant. While the track overall is essentially a simple verse-chorus number, the fantastic instrumental interplay, wonderful melodies and stellar vocals ensure that the song is the farthest thing from ordinary.

"Silver Lover" begins with a wonderfully carefree strummed guitar part that's quickly elaborated on by percussion, keyboards and even some faint wordless vocals. The song on the whole is far more stripped down than some of the other more symphonic numbers, relying primarily on fairly simple instrumental parts and the charm of the vocals to keep the track going. There is, however, a gorgeously spare instrumental section in the middle that proves the old idiom that "less is more." The end of the track does crank up the orchestration quite a bit, but the pacing of the track is brilliant and the extra arrangement never sounds busy or forced.

"I Came For You" again starts off subdued, with an almost martial percussion beat and a low, almost sinister vocal part. This more restrained approach, however, is juxtaposed against some brief guitar parts that offer sledgehammer chords. The contrast is brilliant and helps to emphasize the heaviness when it is used. Midway through the track switches gears and introduces a repeating motif that is elaborated and built upon for the rest of the song, much in the same way that "Bring Out the Sun" was structured. The effect is much the same, as well, despite this latter section's repetition it's incredibly powerful, with multiple voices and a large variety of instruments having joined by the time the song draws to its close.

"The Willing Victim" begins much the same way the album did, with a softly repeated instrumental motif that is built on until vocals enter. When vocals do enter, they're high and ethereal, effortlessly serving as the center of the track without needing to overpower the instruments behind them. The introduction of strings confers upon the track a sense of cinematic finality, and after a brief instrumental break that features an excellently dramatic synth solo, the vocals re-emerge stronger than ever. There's another brief vocal section, and then the track drops down to nothing, briefly leaving the listener to wonder whether the album has ended on an early anti-climax. Fortunately, this is not the case, as the final three minutes of this album contain some of the finest music I've ever heard. Very faintly, guitar and vocals re-appear before building to a stunning climax that features typically soaring vocals, wailing guitars, and of course all manner of other instruments. It's a breathtaking climax to an album that comes as close to perfection as music is capable of coming.

Thus, if you are looking for a pop-prog fix, look no further. This is one of those albums where every song seems better than the last and where my favorite song is the one that happens to be playing. A stellar example of songcraft and proof that music doesn't need to be mind- bendingly complex to be good. As I said, as far as crossover prog goes, this is the standard for the genre to live up to.


Thanks to micky for the artist addition.

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