VON HERTZEN BROTHERS release new video
The Finnish trio VON HERTZEN BROTHERS releases lyric video for the title track War Is Over from the new compelling albu.
“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.” – Kie von Hertzen
It is this sonic explorations that has seen them blaze a trail across Europe since 2000, leading them to play with artists from Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars, Neil Young, Biffy Clyro, The Wildhearts and ZZ Top to Anathema and Opeth.
War Is Over follows on from 2015’s accalimed New Day Rising and saw the band take a new approach to their songwriting technique. Brothers Mikko, Kie and Jonne von Hertzen took time to write seperately. "We have a summer cottage outside Helsinki" explains Kie. "All three of us would take turns to withdraw and head up there to write music. It’s a beautiful place in the inner Archipelago of the Eastern Sea. It’s where we used to spend our childhood summers so has a deep and personal connection. The main part of compsoing happens there in total peace and quiet."
While seeking to build on the bands long standing domestic success the band have looked to assemble a new team around them globally to help them replicate this internationally with the recent appointments of both new management & booking agents while also most recently signing a new worldwide deal with Mascot Label Group, home to Joe Bonamassa, Black Stone Cherry, Black Country Communion, Monster Truck, Ayreon & Beth Hart to name but a few.
Following New Day Rising the trio wanted to invert themselves, strip everything back and except for drums, play all of the instruments and produce the record themselves. "We wanted to find the inspiration and energy in our doing, we had a discussion between us about if we still have it in us, are we still up for this?" Kie ponders. "We wanted to break everything we’ve built into pieces and start again, do we still have the passion and music within us? We discussed having an open-ended period of a break and then started to dig deep in writing new music and then songs started to sprout" he reveals. "We’re on a VHB missions, we’re not going to bend and break.We then started to come up with some new sounding VHB songs."
Mikko wrote most of his lyrics whilst on a one month break in India during January 2017, this followins his long association with the country. He spent 7 years living in an Ashram with the spirutual guru and leader Amma, also known as ‘The Hugging Saint’ as well as studying music there – One of the songs on the album To The End of the World brings in these influences and uses Indian music scales.
The album was produced by all three brothers between Helsinki and Porvoo, each ones produced their ‘own’ songs; Mikko on To The End of the World, The Arsonist, Frozen Butterflies and Beyond Horizon. Jonne for Blindsight and Kie on War Is Over, Who Are You?, Long Lost Sailor, Wanderlust and Jerusalem – which also features Janne ‘Burton’ Puurtinrn of Finnish rockser s HIM on keys.
For the new and fresh War is Over horizon the band drafted in and old friend and welcomed back drummer Sami Kuoppamäki; one of Finlands finest drummers, who played on the 2006 Emma Award winning Approach album as well as for Apocalyptica, Stratovarius and acclaimed Finnish cult band Kingston Wall.
Mikko said "We wanted to record our most musically ambitious album to date and in order achieve this, we really needed a drummer that could raise the bar higher still. We all knew there was really only one man for the job. We were all extremely excited when Sami said yes as he is practically like family to us. It was like having a the "long lost" fourth Brother involved who musically and spiritually understands us and possesses the ability and talent which helped us to make the record we all really wanted."
He adds. "Now when the album is ready, we couldn’t be more excited about people getting to hear it and taking the new songs to the stages. We are also pleased to announce that Sami and our Swedish friend and amazing keyboard player, Robert Engstrand, will be joining us for both of our upcoming tours." Robert is best known for his work with Turisas and the Swedish band The Flower Kings.
"Knowing that we had Sami involved also helped us make our decision as to who was best to engineer the album. We all really wanted someone fresh in the studio who was great at both recording and capturing Sami’s drum performances. We approached engineer/mixing engineer Tommi Vainikainen who had previously recorded and mixed a live studio recording with us in 2011. We were all really impressed with his work then, so he seemed like the right person to bring in to the team. Once the recording process got underway, we knew we had all the ingredients and know-how to make the best album possible." Mikko explains.
The bands music has always been expansive and layered with underlining concepts and themes but they have always kept away from any politically leaning subjects, "but over the last 5 years or so" Kie begings. "the social tensions in the Western world and the structuaral change along with the European refugee crisis, growing inequality and hate speech reach you with a force so it becomes impossible for it not to affect your art."
War Is Over isn’t a concept album, but the War theme does run through key songs. "There is a sense of ‘what is humanity doing, why are we fighting everyday’" Mikko remarks before adding there is a "fear and the constant struggle, so, come and join this movement, let’s not succumb to fear."
"In order to get rid of War or Wars, whatever that might mean to all of us" Kie begins. "The starting point is to first visualize and contemplate the state of peace. Even if it’s just with baby steps within your mind and heart, then slowly start to move towards it until it eventually happens."
Reflecting the nature and tone of the record, the art work soon followed. A cover was needed to be as plain and simple as possible. "We wanted a Dove of peace" Kie adds. "Our own Dove of peace, a VHB Dove of peace." So they enlisted the help of Tero Ahonen, an enthusiastic graphic designer and photographer from Helsinki to take over the concept who came up with the mosaic idea and spent a week painstakingly putting together the mosaic design piece by piece to create the wonderful cover.