If you were to stumble upon the Von Hertzen Brother’s New Day Rising with little prior knowledge, you would be forgiven for thinking you had unearthed a fully formed rock band at the first time of asking. However, the truth is they have rather suffered from what could be called Volbeat syndrome. Already having gained number one albums in their home country of Finland and having toured with the likes of the Foo Fighters and Neil Young, these guys haven’t appeared out of the blue, as of yet they have just failed to crack the UK market.
New Day Rising sounds like it was made to fill stadiums. From the opening riff of the title track, through the melancholy of ‘Black Rain’, which sees lead singer Mikko Von Hertzen’s sing, ‘I’m a wreck, I’m bleeding toxins through my skin’. It’s the kind of over the top rock and roll which feels destined to be huge and on the uplifting, ethereal sound of ‘Hold Me Up’, it’s impossible to pinpoint why this band aren’t exactly that. This is slick and polished rock and roll at its very best.
Yet, that might also be its biggest weakness. Tracks like the 7 minute long, twisting prog of ‘Sunday Child’, are so polished to perfection by producer Garth Richardson that they lack a bit of, dare I say it, balls. Everything is so clean and neat that it is hard to feel truly excited about it. Six albums in, The Von Hertzen Brothers are on the top of their game and new listeners might miss the feeling of a new band bristling and ready to explode.
However, that also might be entirely down to personal taste and dumb, produced by a studio rock this is not. The Von Hertzen Brothers are smart and this music has soul. The likes of closer ‘Hibernating Hearts’ are slow and haunting tracks, catching you up in the music before laying you gently down on the other side. Yet, they also have moments like ‘Dream’, a jaunty, foot tapper of a song, which stands in contrast to everything else, but still works. It brings a feeling of fun and levity, to the otherwise serious proceedings.
The band themselves are also without fault. They feel tight and in Mikko, they have a lead singer who can both sing his way softly through the sad tracks and belt out the rockier ones in a fashion that brings to mind Dave Grohl. These guys are the real deal and it really is hard to pick fault in the music they produce.
Which all does bring you to that baffling question. Why aren’t we hearing about this band every day? Last year they came to the UK supporting The Wildhearts and even sharing a stage with one of the best alternative rock bands this country has ever produced, they felt like they were destined for more. New Day Rising shows why that is. It’s a slick and polished rock and roll album, that could be huge if it hits enough ears. Its lack of grit may turn some off, but to others this band are a new obsession just waiting to happen.