Beginning with Stars Aligned and continuing with 2013's Nine Lives, Von Hertzen Brothers musical fame and success has been growing to international scale. While always a hit in their native Finland, the band has found larger and growing audiences, notably in the UK, where the classic and progressive rock press have been drooling over them for a number of years.
The brothers return with their sixth album, New Day Rising, and my first experience with the band. I'm wondering what the fuss is all about. I liked the album, finding their version of melodic progressive rock interesting, yet not overwhelmingly so. The band seems large on riffage and vocal arrangements in dense arrangements, both of which have strong harmony and melody. One thing can be said: there's a quite a bit of variety to the music.
For instance, the title cut and Sunday Child have a dense musical canvas, seemingly endless walls of riffage and sound that reminds of Muse. You Don't Know My Name is swift, a rush of energy driven by the guitar lines and powered by the rhythm section. Later, Dreams is so vastly different than anything here: a lively pop number spurred on by a hopping piano and bouncy vocal arrangement. Then, with the closing number, Hibernating Heart, the brothers become near minimalists using their vocals over lighter guitar to express themselves. Curiously, for all the emphasis on guitar structure, I didn't notice any pronounced guitar solos, except one. The Destitute has a brilliant and soaring, even thrilling, lead in the end. It makes me wonder why they don't do more of this. Like I said, their music is definitely interesting, getting your attention.
But sometimes it just didn't connect with me. Love Burns has that lavish Von Hertzen canvas and atmosphere, yet seemed to dense and cluttered. Trouble felt like the band wanted get their heavy metal boots on, but winnows down to two things: loud soaring vocals and chunky thumping riffs. In the end, I can point to four songs on the album that really gripped me: New Day Rising, You Don't Know My Name, Dreams, and The Destitute. The others not so much. Yet, with all these words and caveats, something inside me stills says New Day Rising will find a home in the ears and hearts of the fans (and likely the press). Perhaps I should have worked backwards and listened to the previous two albums first. Hindsight is a bitch.
Von Hertzen Brothers return with New Day Rising and I wondering if the fans and the musical press will find this as engaging as their last two albums.
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