Von Hertzen Brothers: Nine Lives

Finnish rockers hit the spot.

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With this, their fifth studio album, the Von Hertzen posse initially set out to keep it simple; to create accessible slices of AOR; to adhere to the Kiss motto: ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ And at that, they have failed spectacularly. What evolved instead, however, is pretty sweet.

There are still classy attempts at unfussy classic rock, though. Opener Insomniac has an absolute killer of a chorus, and is followed by singalong power ballad Flowers And Rust. From then on, however, it all gets much freakier. Nine tracks, nine (very different) lives – as one song captures one ambiance, the next invokes something quite different. It makes for an unusual listening experience, and one that rocks assuredly.

Whether it’s pensive, proggy arpeggios, stirring layers of atmospheric harmonies or epic-meets-medieval rock leading the way, conviction and originality prevails throughout. Who would have thought, for example, that Benedictine monk-style a cappella could escalate into a Floydian crescendo effectively? Well, World Without proves that it can. Overall quietly eccentric but powerful stuff.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.