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War is over: How the Von Hertzen Brothers got their groove back

After being close to calling it a day, working on latest album War Is Over convinced them that they still had something to say

It’s been a tumultuous 12 months or so for Von Hertzen Brothers. Since 2015’s New Day Rising album the band have ditched their label, changed management, lost band members and even contemplated the end of VBH. They took a sabbatical, took stock, and asked questions about the potency and point of the songs they write. Put simply: they had something of an existential crisis. Thankfully the soul searching has paid off with the wondrous War Is Over, arguably their best album yet. Mikko Von Hertzen looks back over those troubled times and talks about the new album.

It sounds like the band was in a state of flux following New Day Rising, which is surprising given how strong the record is.

We were. The album did well, but at the same time all the people around us – management, the label – lacked any real enthusiasm. It was almost like they didn’t know what to do with us. It was such a pity, as we put a lot of effort and time and money into that album, but somehow we felt like an end of an era was looming. The guys that used to be with us started looking for other bands to play with and it was all very confusing. We didn’t know what to do next. It was like the house of cards that we’d built for all these years had suddenly started coming down. It was a rough time for us.

Is that why you took the sabbatical? Was there a point where you sat down and had to decide where to go with the band?

We did a ten-year anniversary tour in Finland last year for the Approach album, and after that we took a break, you know, “No one talk about the band. Let’s take a few months off and then we sit down and start discussing what we might do in the future.” And that’s what we did, and we said everybody write their own songs, and if it so happens that we feel there’s something in the songs, that the light that’s been smothered is still in there somewhere, if that starts to burn and we feel that we need to do those songs, then we do it, but only then.

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