The Von Hertzen Brothers

Nine Lives

Written by: BV on 09/03/2013 20:15:03

The Von Hertzen Brothers are three brothers and two others you cannot possibly have missed if you’re into progressive-rock. Should that be the case though, the impact of their latest album “Nine Lives” will just be that much greater. Indeed, with their 5th studio album The Von Hertzen Brothers continue their relentless onslaught of progressive rock upon their significant fan-base with their colossal soundscapes, powerful riffing and epic song structures based on the art of building up to a final climactic moment which is usually dominated by a powerful instrumental section – much like Tool and Pink Floyd, just to name a few.

The album opener “Insomniac” is a powerful, yet run of the mill type of track. It contains the strong and fast riffing of which The Von Hertzen Brothers are famous for, along with a beautifully executed vocal section, but it never reaches an epic climax of sorts – which I have become quite accustomed to, within this genre. “Insomniac” is one of those tracks that might not be at the pinnacle of originality within epic-rock/prog-rock but it is nonetheless unnervingly catchy and is therefore a welcome appetizer for the rest of the album to come. A good start is what I’ll stick to calling it.

As the album progresses, so does the proficiency of the songwriting as the tracks blend really well together with the creation of several smooth instrumental transitions along the way thus empowering the overall coherence of the album. One exceptionally smooth track in this styling is the track “separate Forevers” which is by itself a haunting soundscape with scarce instrumentation. It seems as though the rather downplayed, synth-dominated ambient nature of this track has been put in the middle of the album as a sort of ‘breather’ – a moment for the listener to chill a bit, before the epic onslaught ensues once again. As such, the track is beautifully constructed and is, to me, one of the most dazzling moments on this album.

Moving along this trail of thought, the following tracks once again pick up the pace to ensure that the musical journey continues, so the album can reach its final, climatic destination. The last track of the album “Prospect for Escape” delivers fully in terms of climax. The song is slowly built up by a steady and incredibly tight rhythm section, constantly supporting the freely floating, echo-laden guitar melodies and the hauntingly beautiful vocals before finally climaxing to one of the greatest guitar solos I have heard for the past 8-10 months. On this track in particular, the backing vocals are really shining through and they are one of the pivotal factors of the success of this track, to me at least. The whole song, and the album itself as a matter of fact, is so beautifully orchestrated that my mind instantly associates the music with masterpieces of prog-rock like Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”. However, this doesn’t mean that “Nine Lives” is a masterpiece of prog-rock - but it certainly is The Von Hertzen Brothers best album to date. I honestly can’t wait for a chance to see them live, after hearing this album and being reminded of just how good these guys actually are. This is definitely one of my favorite albums of 2013.


Download: Insomniac, Separate Forevers, Prospect for Escape
For The Fans Of: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Tool

Release Date 18.03.2013
Spinefarm Records

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