The Von Hertzen Brothers release their latest album War Is Over (opens in new tab) today through Music Theories Recordings. The album sees the Finnish trio firmly back in prog territory, kicking off the album with the 12-minute title track. Here, Kie von Hertzen gives us a rundown of every track on the album.
1. War Is Over
The title song is a three part declaration of peace. The intro can be seen as the echo of the distant turbulent times or/and as a deep relief after years of distress. The middle part, which we call simply “the song” deals with the understanding of how peace can only be achieved here and now, in this very moment. There is no way to peace. Peace IS the only way. With the tempo and the continuous transposing of the melody we try to leave the impression of how joyful the realization of freedom can be. The song ends with a fanfare, which was recorded in 100 guitars stems. Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence this year, so it can be seen as our bow to those who fought to make our country free and independent.
2. To The End Of The World
Composed to an Indian Raga (or scale) the song rolls with full speed, makes jerky movements, takes fast turns and occasionally hits potholes like a rickshaw on an Indian highway. I don’t know how we managed to mix Black Sabbath with Chick Corea, but it works. Maybe it was the Blind Melonish part in between that glued it together. If the opening track was a declaration of peace, this song is a declaration of love and passion. Counting nine different parts, it still somehow feels like a somewhat simple song. Go figure.
3. The Arsonist
We all have that someone who has screwed us up in a bad way. This song is about that person. In this case, a pathological liar. Not the idiot in the white house (but could be him too). It’s the most “straight forward” rock song of this album and has an eight bar drum solo! - A thing we’ve been wanting to have on a track for a long time.
This song relates to the war theme of the album. A dramatic story about a person who is forced to leave the place he loves in search for a new beginning. The title ‘Jerusalem’ was the only word we kept from the original demo of the song because as a word it has some weight and we couldn’t think of anything remotely as loaded with emotion. It’s a word filled with history, religious meaning, all sorts of devotion and also some deep and perplexing controversy. So even though the song is about a refugee trying to adapt to the new circumstances of life, it’s also a sneak peek to the future. Is there perhaps a situation we’ll find ourselves in if we can’t solve the problematic situation that war and terror has brought into our lives? The synth lead was played by our friend Janne Burton Puurtinen (of HIM) and is the only guest appearance on this album.
5. Frozen Butterflies
The power-pop song of the album. The riff tries to imitate the flutter of a butterfly. We played with the idea of how a crush creates these tingling’s of excitement and then when the enthusiasm wanes, it’s difficult to get that excitement back. It’s conscious and hard work. Dealing with the seasons here in the north can be hard. The endless cold and rainy weather pretty much penetrates the Helsinki six months a year. The butterflies don’t die in the cold, they hibernate and maybe, just maybe there comes a time when we get that excitement back.
6. Who Are You?
Portraying the more artistic side of our band, this song stands out as “the odd” one of the bunch. The storyteller shifts from the vocalist to the string quartet and back. Written from a point of view of a distressed father who can only meet his loved daughter occasionally, the song deals with love which is blocked by circumstances.
The idea behind the song is to have two different styles in the boxing ring competing for victory. The rock band with the riff gives the first punches but the world music/indie band quickly recovers and takes the lead. The two come together in choruses and the grand finale. The repetition of lines in the bridge is an idea we had from an Indian tradition where the lead singer sings the lines first and the choir repeats it. We also wanted to add some contemporary keyboards to this song to make it stand out from a basic guitar rock tune.
8. Long Lost Sailor
The idea was to bring a new rhythm to our repertoire of grooves. We tried to bring a feverish western movie like atmosphere to the song that combines Morricone sounds with something from The Shadows. Also hints of Nick Kershaw and Cult (Sonic Temple era) can be heard in the soundscape. When Mikko started working on the lyrics, the cowboy theme turned into a sailor theme.
This song was originally a little dark story of someone who wants to leave a relationship but is too afraid to do so. Regardless of several times trying to do so. It developed to a farewell song that suits better the theme of the album. We thought that since the composition itself was ballad like, we would keep the instrumentation to the bare minimum. It worked out nicely.
10. Beyond The Storm
A classic ending to a classic album. That was the reason we decided to end the album with this song. Signature VHB song with a transposing build up towards the end. We were also seeing this a perfect way to close the circle that started with War Is Over. It’s a spiritual song that stems from being away from your loved one and maybe too torn to return.
Von Hertzen Brothers Tour Dates
Nov 05: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
Nov 06: Rebellion Rock Bar, Manchester, UK
Nov 07: Leadmill, Sheffield, UK
Nov 09: Think Tank, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Nov 10: G2, Glasgow, UK
Nov 11: Camp HRH, North Wales, UK
Nov 12: The Fleece, Bristol, UK
Nov 14: Waterfront Studio, Norwich, UK
Nov 15: Talking Heads, Southampton, UK
Nov 16: The Garage, London, UK
Nov 17: Camp HRH, North Wales, UK
Nov 18: Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, UK
Nov 24: Gong, Turku, FI
Nov 25: FIia Klubi, Lahti, FI
Dec 01: Helsinki Hall of Culture, Helsinki, FI
Dec 02: Helsinki Hall of Culture, Helsinki, FI
Dec 05: House Of Rock, Kouvola, FI
Dec 08: Olympia, Tampere, FI
Dec 09: Kino, Pori, FI
Dec 15: Kerubi, Joensuu, FI
Dec 16: Lutakko, Jyväskylä, FI