H.E.R.R - XII Caesars [Cold Spring - 2009]'XII Caesars' finds H.E.R.R creating their most dramatic, grand, theatrical & often approachable work so far. With the Dutch/ English five piece building a rich & varied concept album about the greedy, cruel & debauchery heavy life a dozen Roman emperors.
The album finds the band making their distinctive, rich, ornate & epic Neo-classical sound even more grand, soaring & beautiful with digital orchestra been mixed with real violin, trumpet & cello tones. The tracks have also taken on a more theatrical & dramatic musical type feel with both Troy Southgates & Miklὀs Hoffer vocals going beyond their usually spoken word & slight singing of the past, into more dramatic acted, expressive, and sang vocals; as well as adding on harmony & backing vocals here & there too. There is also quite an almost pop feel present in many of tracks here which brings to mind either later day synthetic string lined work of OMD or more approachable & dramatic pop musical song craft. Yet for all these developments with-in their sound they’ve still not lost the deep, clever & wordy texts from the tracks or that edge & feeling that made them so distinctive, rewarding & other sounding from the rest of the Neo-classical scene.
Truly an epic, varied, grand & often highly memorable album that is yet another highpoint in this project near faultless release path. This will appeal way beyond the normal fairly small neo-classical scene to anyone who enjoys dramatic, grand & tuneful music of any form- like a few other great bands before them H.E.R.R have now broken away from the scene or genre that birth them to soar & reach for the own distinctive sonic place- truly ummissble stuff!Roger Batty