Von Hertzen Brothers
Love Remains the Same


3.5
great

Review

by Mendigo USER (21 Reviews)
November 29th, 2008 | 16 replies | 4,244 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wonderful nostalgic Prog Rock from the Land of the Thousand Lakes

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

In German “von Herzen” means “heartfelt” or “from the heart”. The last name of the three brothers forming the core of this band is spelled slightly different yet I believe it to be pronounced the same way. And indeed, albeit this album is not perfect no one can deny its passion and emotion. The Von Hertzen Brothers, which are actually really three brothers named “Von Hertzen” all played in various Finnish groups on various instruments before they settled to start their own project. “Love Remains the Same” is their third album, this time accompanied by two other musicians on keyboards on drums, and by now they have achieved quite a status in their homeland: the album jumped right on top of the sales charts - which I think is incredibly for music like that in our times.

I cannot compare it to their previous albums as I haven’t heard them, but “Love Remains the Same” successfully pays tribute to the 70s Hard Rock and Prog Rock scene with references to be found all over the place: from Pink Floyd over Rainbow to Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, at times even hints of Yes and King Crimson. Yet the clearest parallels in sound and style can be drawn to the Hard Rock group Uriah Heep, a criminally forgotten British band. Although it is dripping with nostalgia and references, Von Hertzen Brothers still manage to make an album of their own, not a cheap rip-off or imitation of their inspirations. The album lives from its catchy melodies and tunes, yet that is only one part of the foundation upon which the music is built, next to technical talent and the knowledge how to build up songs and generate tension within them as well as a powerful and clear production, that knows when to make a step back and when to use its full capacity.

Summed up, “Love Remains the Same” is one of those countless “strong beginning, strong ending, weaker middle section”-albums. Bring Out the Sun (So Alive) is an opener as good as they get, starting laid back, imagining rays of light forcing their way through the clouds, until it explodes into full prog-mode halfway through, featuring energetic drumming, organs, solid guitar work, great melodies and a lot of passion: “Every pore, in the core I’m feeling so alive, so alive - Alive!”. With over ten minutes running length it is also the longest song on the album. The following second song might be my actual favorite of the album: Spanish 411 reminds me a lot of the 70s Canterbury Scene, especially of Caravan, a very lively and cheerful song featuring Flamenco-esque rhythms and although it actually tells a rather sad story about an unfulfilled love it maintains a huge portion of humour. However, after the great start the album tends to drag a bit, all of the following songs have their amazing, beautiful moments, but they cannot satisfy as completely as the first two did, sometimes feeling more forced and not as natural, and sometimes getting damn near starting to be cheesy. And with over one hour of music, this album goes on a bit too long - if some of the lesser moments would have been cut out, “Love Remains the Same” would have been much more effectiv.

And two problems become clearer the further we move on: even to me who is not a native English speaker it is clear from the first moment on that the lyrics on here aren’t top notch. “Dear mister jesus or someone who sees us / They’re not our neighbors and you’re not their saviour” they sing on what I think is the album’s weakest track, Freedom Fighter (ironically the album’s first single) - I mean, c’mon, you can do better than that. I personally can blend lyrics out more or less when they’re not too stupid and flashy. So it’s hard to tell for me, but I have the feeling Von Hertzen Brother’s lyrics might affect the experience for a more lyric-focused listener, especially because they’re often bordering on the corny and schmaltzy: “In the end death can’t take me / ‘Cause I could never let you down”. The second problem is also one that doesn’t affect me that much at all, but I know how much importance many other listeners attach to the vocal performances: all three of the brothers are credited as vocalists and they do give some splendid work, including beautiful vocal harmonies and catchy melody lines, however they always seem a bit shallow and pale in front of the walls of sound the instruments build around them.

My favorite moments on the album might be the perfectly written piano parts, often ending much too soon like after the long intro of Somewhere in the Middle or in the middle of I Came for You. The latter kicks off the second peak of the album after the great beginning. It builds a big crescendo that adds up new layers until you’re eagerly awaiting the final explosions that never comes, instead the song dissolves into the closer The Willing Victim. However, this next and final track delivers everything that I Came for You promised: The crescendo again builds slowly, first offering a calm yet broody atmosphere: “Morning rain / Is just the same / As my tears on her grave”. But when the final climax comes, it comes in full glory, with organs, driving drums, a soothing guitar solo and a surprisingly majestic vocal performance: “Her Love remains the saaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaame!”.

So although the album has its flows, to me it is always a joy listening to a modern band wallowing in the now uncommon classic Prog Rock sounds of the 70s. And to everyone who agrees with me on that, this is highly recommended as one of the best things 2008 had to offer within this genre, only challenged by Van der Graaf Generator’s most recent output “Trisector”.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mendigo
November 29th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wanna review at least some of the 2008 albums that have been unnoticed on Sputnikmusic until now before the year is over....

hope I didn't make any big mistakes again. ClearTheLane?? ;)This Message Edited On 11.29.08

ClearTheLane
November 29th 2008



990 Comments


Good review man... wtf no one has commented on this yet

even to me who is not a native English speaker it is clear from the first moment on that the lyrics on here aren’t top notch. “Dear mister jesus or someone who sees us / They’re not our neighbors and you’re not their saviour”
This is a problem with many Finnish bands, like Kingston Wall. They sing in English but the Finnish accent is present.

ClearTheLane
November 29th 2008



990 Comments


and by now they have achieved quite a status in their homeland: the album jumped right on top of the sales charts - which I think is incredibly for music like that in our times.
Yeah alright, wouldn't happen in any other counrty, but the Finnish charts pretty much suck as well. Metal gets a lot of attention, especially compared to other countries, but it's also full of this crap:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80Mxej0kiGI
Now that's from 2005 and it has nothing to do with Von Hertzen Brothers but I just had to show it :DThis Message Edited On 11.29.08

Mendigo
November 29th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that's also true of all that Krautrock stuff. however, accents don't affect me at all, I'm pretty much unable to notice them anyway. And I'm not sure but I guess accents don't have to be bad at all, I wouldn't be able to imagine Can without that german accent for example, it's just like a part of theri sound. the problem is more that the lyrics themselves aren't that good here, sadly. but it's hugely enjoyable nevertheless

Mendigo
November 29th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hehe, that's not much different from the kind of stuff that tends to be succesful in Austria, with the difference that apart from the really, really big names no metal album would ever manage to get in the charts. and prog rock, I don't even know if the usual music-customer here knows that something like that exists at all.

ClearTheLane
November 29th 2008



990 Comments


Ah, I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics while listening to this, KW had some good lyrics though..
here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv2La0NoBKM
It's actually just a part of the song Mushrooms.This Message Edited On 11.29.08

ClearTheLane
November 29th 2008



990 Comments


prog rock, I don't even know if the usual music-customer here knows that something like that exists at all.
Yeah, they're music-consumers, not music-lovers like us :D
ANyways this link sending might get a bit annoying but here's two songs from their best album http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xo5ul8iFJE&feature=related It's f uckin amazing seriously, 3:45-4:45, when the songs change, I love the drumming. He was previously in Von Hertzen Bros, I guess I told you that already.

robin
Emeritus
November 29th 2008



4221 Comments


nice review, gonna look into this.

Mendigo
November 29th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

He was previously in Von Hertzen Bros, I guess I told you that already.

yah, and I promised to check them out what I haven't done yet. the last link is pretty amazing.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
November 29th 2008



3995 Comments


good to see you reviewing more often. ill check this out.

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 29th 2008



3743 Comments


really good review.

robin
Emeritus
December 2nd 2008



4221 Comments


thanks for reviewing this, it's so brilliant. "bring out the sun" is amazing, as are a huge majority of the tracks. energetic stuff.This Message Edited On 12.02.08

Mendigo
December 2nd 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good to see you like it ;)
Bring Out the Sun is amazing indeed.

Geist
December 1st 2009



371 Comments


'Approach' is a much better album than this so far.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2011



5607 Comments


I saw them live yesterday in Thessaloniki, Hellas as support of Pain of Salvation.

Very intimate sound indeed.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

Mad.
October 26th 2013



2911 Comments


This band has a great sound, first 2 tracks on this are gold



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