Von Hertzen Brothers – War Is Over

The Von Hertzen Brothers have been much covered and much admired across the digital pages of our humble vehicle, in particular, the excellent New Day Rising (Spinefarm). Two years on, and they’re back with the very ambitious War Is Over (Music Theories/Mascot), which further evidences their classic and prog rock sensibilities, and ability to combine them into sumptuous whole pieces.

It takes a brave set of musicians to open an album with a twelve-minute expansive rock opera of a title track, which calls to mind Blind Guardian, Queen, Yes along with the very best elements of post-Rock, all without crossing the Rubicon into sounding retro, cheesy or anything other than absolute class. Yet, having set such a benchmark, they also set a standard for the rest of the album to live up to, which could have been a daunting task for lesser mortals… However, this trio of brothers have seemingly transcended beyond the adequate.

Having revitalised themselves by shaking up their song-writing approach and taking full control of the business side and direction of their band, the outcome the three brothers have arrived at is a less immediate, but altogether more wholesome, complete and consistent offering than the PopProgRock they produced last time around. With hints of Led Zeppelin and Rush littering War Is Over, a layered and fulsome production teases out the nuances of complicated arrangements, such as ‘Blindsights’ darker tones which touches on Devin Townsend territory, without losing the impact of some delightful vocal parts, all before ‘Beyond The Storm’ leaves us with an epic build and sense of positive, almost euphoric reflection.

If New Day Rising was a shot at the big-time that didn’t quite come off, this reset has left VHB in a much healthier state in terms of their songwriting and output, and they have presenting to us an excellently well crafted, layered, intelligent, and completely true to themselves album that should be applauded for the scope, depth and quality it contains. A joyous celebration of prog, classic and post-rock without once feeling non-contemporaneous, War Is Over is not just an optimistic sentiment, but a very welcome musical delight, too.

8.5/10

STEVE TOVEY