Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Misantropus-The Gnomes

Minotauro Records

Formed by brothers Alessio (guitar) and Vincenzo (bass) Sanniti in Latina (Lazio, Italy) in early 1998, Misantropus is an environmentally-conscious doom metal band whose latest release, "The Gnomes" is dedicated to the four natural elements and to the entities that represent them. As this veteran green metal band all but specializes in classic Italian-style doom (with the legendary Paul Chain a longstanding source of inspiration) they are suitably enough now signed to Minotauro Records. And in standing with much of the group's back catalog, "The Gnomes" is a instrumental release. A HEAVY and DARK instrumental release, but a instrumental release all the same. Just so you know what you're getting into. On "The Gnomes" drum duties fell to Alessio Sanniti with guest Mario "The Black" Di Donato helping out as a second guitarist. Otherwise what you see is what you get. As for my favorite moment? That would be the last of the four numbers here, Elfs ( Raphael). It falls somewhere between Paul Chain, a stream-lined Saint Vitus and one of my all-time favorite soundtrack bands, Goblin. Without a doubt it's super effective and it had me hitting the replay button a few times over! Recommend for fans of Paul Chain, Saint Vitus and Manilla Road, "The Gnomes" is another great addition to any doom collection and another reason why I look forward to each new Minotauro Records' release! 

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Regicide-Fall of an Empire


Formed in 2006 in Las Cruces, Regicide is a traditional heavy metal/thrash metal band and the recently-released  "Fall of an Empire" is their debut album. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Issac Trujillo, lead guitarist Dominic "Dimemond" Flores, bass guitarist Andrew "The Android" Silluron, and drummer Brandon "Brack" Gallegos and their influences range from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Motörhead to bands like Testament, Anthrax, Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, and Slayer. With a run-time of just over thirty minutes there is obviously not that much to this eight-track recording and in all honesty that's probably a good thing as New Mexico's Regicide has a long way to go before they can hope to compete with their elders. While the band's take on heavy/thrash metal isn't exactly bad it isn't great either. If anything it's just so-so and a lot of that has to do with the album's overall generic sound. There's nothing here we haven't heard a thousand times over and what is here is colorless and flavorless. As much as I would like to support these underground metalheads I find myself uninspired and unmoved by their debut album here. Hopefully that will change over time, but seeing as this band is already some nine years old it doesn't look promising in that department. This one is only for die-hard collectors who must have anything and everything thrash related.     

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Free Metal Monday: Seagrave-Dead Demo


I'm sorry to say this, but today's Free Metal Monday offering is a bit of a mystery. Not musically mind you (as this is old-school metal with a little bit of stoner rock & doom metal tossed in for good measure!), but in the sense that no one seems to know if this Philly-based band is technically still together or not. There's also no line-up info given on the group's bandcamp page so there's no way to tell verify who played what on "Dead Demo". Whatever the case, "Dead Demo" is free for the taking and it's a nice way to start your Monday! It has four quality tracks of garage-worthy heavy metal that will stick to your ribs and since it packs just the right amount of attitude to make it stand up tall it ends up being rather inspiring in a quickly kind of way. If anyone knows more about this U.S. metal band please drop a line in the comments.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

On Top-Topless

Toil Records

It's no secret that I've been a fan of Philadelphia's On Top since first hearing their 2012 debut, "Top Heavy". A drop-dead serious heavy rock/heavy metal gem, "Top Heavy" left me with high hopes as to the the future of this fantastic power trio. It took some time, but the band did (eventually) make their return with a worthy follow-up in the form of 2014's  "Top to Bottom". Between that (highly-recommend!) EP and the band's (must own!) full-length debut, "Top Heavy", this hard rock/traditional heavy metal band was on easy street. Now On Top return's with their third release (and second overall 4-track EP in as many years) "Topless". Digitally at least, "Topless" is due out on July 9th and if this band was on easy street already thanks to their two previous releases then this new EP should make them the supreme rulers of the surrounding city, state, and country! For band-members Jaron Gulino (lead vocal/bass), Brian Davis (guitar/vocals), and Danny Piselli (drums/vocals) this is as good as it gets and then some! Recorded at Tribe Sound Studios in West Chester, Pennsylvania, engineered by Brian Davis, and mix/mastered by Chris "The Wizard" Collier (KXM, Lynch Mob), "Topless" features the same kind of (sleazy does it) hard & heavy rock that we've come to associate with On Top and once you hit play on this EP's aggressive opener, "Lie to Me", it's all but over friends! Forget about Looks That Kill as this Philly-based trio has Hooks That Kill! These four tracks make you want to get up and get down(!) with the razor rock guitar solos of Brian Davis simply being too good for words! Between those riff-rocking leads and Jaron Gulino's gritty/gruff voice* it's all solid-gold for On Top, but make no mistake as to this band's ultimate strength. For On Top it's always been about that perfect balance between the melodies and the muscle and that's never been more clear than on this catchy EP! On Top's rhythm section helps that along nicely with each individual number on "Topless" showcasing it's own unique charm. Rounded out by the cool songs "Crazy", "282", and "Got Me Runnin'​" (with that last one a real a beauty!) this EP is just what On Top fans need. For the time being this is only a digital release, but sometime down the road there's talk of "Topless" getting a proper CD release. Let's all hope that happens sooner than later and let us also hope that On Top doesn't make us wait that long for their next full-length   release!

* Last time around I described Jaron Gulino's voice as sounding like "Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha (if Zack had been influenced more by the likes of Bon Scott, Lemmy, Ozzy, etc.) going through a sleazy street metal phase". I'll stand by that statement and no, it's not a problem at all for this band! His voice works well with On Top's guitar-driven, rough and ready stab at heavy metal/hard rock and by this point in the game I simply cannot picture any other singer fronting this trio!

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Interview with Mellevon's April Hutchins

For those who might not know, Mellevon is a Canadian metal band whose latest album, "Solace", I just covered last week. Now it is my pleasure to share a recent interview that I had with the multi-talented April Hutchins. In addition to being the band's sole guitarist (and a damn amazing one at that!), April wrote most of the music and lyrics for "Solace" and took care of the production duties! I want to thank April for taking the time to chat with us and I would encourage all of our readers to check out this band's latest release.

Andy-Could you please introduce yourself for our readers and tell us how Mellevon came together?

April-My name is April Hutchins and I play guitar in Mellevon. We’re a metal band from Montreal, Canada. I originally started the band as a solo project in late 2009, but I got bored of doing music on my own pretty quickly. I started jamming with friends when I started college, and our first full lineup came together in mid-2011.

Andy-How did you decide on the band's name?

April-I came up with the name "Mellevon" when I was fifteen. I originally used it as the name of a monster in a story I was writing. It doesn’t mean anything; I just thought it sounded cool.

Andy-For those who have never heard Mellevon how would you describe the band's sound?

April-Admittedly, we’re pretty strange. We don’t sound like any one thing; we mix things up a lot. I’ve never been able to successfully describe our sound to someone without them coming back to me later and saying "What the hell? You sound nothing like that". I guess the best I could do is say we sound like a metal version of the soundtrack to a Nintendo 64 action-adventure game, with lots of poppy keyboards and added breakdowns.

Andy-I like that! Somehow it's very fitting. Now, it looks as if your band has had more than it's fair share of line-up changes over the years and yet Mellevon has persevered. What's the secret to keeping it all together despite the rough storms?

April-We’re not just a band; we’re also all really good friends. We came together to share ideas and play music together, but we’ve stuck together because our personalities gel and we get along. I think that’s really important. If you’re going to travel across town to get sweaty in a garage and bump into each other for two hours every week, you want to make sure it’s with people you actually like to be around. That’s actually the first thing we (Chel, Stefan and myself) looked at when we started bringing in the new guys (Red and Colin). We knew they could scream and drum, but we wanted to make sure we could be friends first and foremost. To be honest, I think we spend more time hanging out and getting drunk together nowadays than we do actually playing music!

Andy-There's nothing wrong with that LOL! Speaking of Red and Colin how did you find them April?

April-I’d seen Red around in college a few times but never spoke with him. I ended up actually having a conversation with him for the first time when we ran into each other at a party. He was really cool. He told me he’d been trying out for different local bands for a while, but to no avail; the vibe was never right. He checked out our first record after I told him I played in a band, and he’s since admitted to me that he couldn’t get into it for the first few listens. But something kept pulling him back, and eventually, it grew on him, and caught his interest. When we started looking for a replacement for Gabriel, he volunteered to come over and try out, and both his vocals and personality blew us all away. The rest is history.

Colin just sort of fell into place. He plays drums in the Montreal band The Wild Hunt, who Mellevon has done a number of shows with in the past, and he went to the same college as the rest of us. We’d hung out with him on quite a few occasions in the past, and he’d even come over to jam a few times. When Jermeel left, he offered to fill in on drums for a few shows, and eventually started coming to our jam sessions regularly. After a while, we realized he was spending just as much time playing with us as his other band, and we all agreed to make his membership official.

Andy-Switching gears some, could you tell us about the new album and how it all came together?

April-Recording Solace was a long process. We started jamming and tracking material for the record just a few weeks after we released Chaos Reigns, in February 2013, and we continued to make adjustments and changes until just a few days before the release in late 2014. Some of the songs on the record were written during that period, some were written even before.

Unfortunately, we underwent some lineup changes over the course of working on Solace, but it ended up working wonderfully. Colin and Red brought a lot of great performances and ideas to the record. It wouldn’t have sounded nearly as good as it does without their help. Red even wrote one of the songs, "Deathwish", which I’d argue is the best song on the album.

Unlike with our last record, which we recorded with Glen Robinson, we put Solace together completely on our own. Almost everything was recorded and mixed in my garage. It was an experimental process for sure, but it meant that we had a lot of time to work on the record and make it sound as good as possible.

Thematically, I’d say the record is all about struggling (and sometimes failing) to cope with difficult circumstances. Some of the lyrics draw inspiration from literature and film, but most of them are completely based on personal experiences. All in all, I’d say it’s a more honest record than our last.

Andy-I guess in a way you could call "Solace" a D.I.Y. project right?

April-That would definitely be appropriate!

Andy-How has the response been from long-time fans and friends of the group?

April-It’s been very positive. Everyone I’ve spoken to, at least, prefers this album over our last in all respects and thinks we’ve improved greatly as a band.

Andy-And critics?

April-Very mixed. We’ve always drawn mixed reactions. Some critics have complimented the uniqueness of our sound and the catchiness of our grooves and melodies. Others just really don’t like our style. We’ve gotten a lot of flak for how we mix different sounds together. Some people really hate that we do things like inserting a nu-metal groove or a rap section into a melodic death metal song. Solace has been called "inconsistent", "predictable crap", and my personal favorite, "an embarrassing attempt at making pseudo-progressive music". I just like that people react strongly to us, for better or for worse. We must be doing something right.

Andy-I guess so! You mentioned the honesty behind "Solace". Could you touch on that a little more April?

April-Most of the lyrics on our first album, Chaos Reigns, were strongly inspired by movies and literature, particularly the 2009 Lars von Trier film Antichrist. "Chaos Reigns" is actually a line from that film. In Solace, there’s a little of that outside influence, but it’s based mostly on experiences we’ve personally had to deal with and feelings we’ve felt. It’s definitely a more lyrically honest record. I also think that our musical vision came through more clearly since we took so much time putting the record together, and were able to shape the record’s sound on our own, without any third party input.

Andy-That's always a positive thing. I'm curious about something April. This is kind of out of left field I realize, but what are your day jobs if you don't mind me asking?

April-I work at a grocery store. I do cash, cleaning, bagging, cart-pushing, sometimes shelf-stocking and inventory. I’ve been there for three years. Red currently works as a security guard at a warehouse. Chel is an assistant machinist at a metalworking joint. Stefan’s currently looking for a new job - he just quit his old one recently. Colin’s looking as well, but he’s got a good bit of cash to hold him over for the time being.

Andy-Who are some of your influences as a guitarist, April?

April-If I were to name three, I’d say Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity, Jason Mendonça formerly of Akercocke, and Steve Holt from 36 Crazyfists.

Andy-And as a songwriter?

April-There are so many bands and songwriters who I’ve taken a page from over time, but I guess my big three would have to be Rammstein, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Probot, etc.), and Grant Kirkhope, who composed the soundtracks to Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie and tons of other great games that I was obsessed with as a kid.

Andy-I can relate to Donkey Kong 64 and I was also obsessed with video games as a kid. How things have changed! Now I'm a parent of two teenagers and I find myself on the outside looking in at all of their obsessions! It's rather surreal somethings! But anyway, how is your local scene April? Are there any other good bands that you would suggest our readers check out?

April-Montreal’s got a great music scene. I’d say most of the metal bands that come out of here play technical death metal and metalcore, and we have some great alternative rock bands too. Out of the bands that we’ve played with, I’d recommend Skeleris, Join the Conspiracy and Cirrhose et cendrier. They’re all great guys, and they crank out some pretty ripping tunes.

Andy-I'll have to check them out. What is a live show like for your band, April?

April-Always very exciting, fun, and just a little nerve-wracking. We’ve been told we have a lot of energy and stage presence, and that’s mostly due to Red and Stefan. Stefan’s a big guy, always headbanging and moving around, and Red likes to get up in people’s faces and try to start shit. He’ll almost always dive right into the pit at some point during our set, and he’s jumped off of tables and chairs and broken equipment before.

Andy-Sounds fun! So, is the band working on new material?

April-Always! I’m not sure if we have anything definite yet, but we have dozens and dozens of song ideas floating around. You can definitely expect many more records out of us in the future.

Andy-Sweet! How can fans find our more about the band?

April-Follow us on Facebook.We post everything that we’re up to there.

Andy-I like to give artists the last word. Is there anything that we didn't touch upon that you would like to discuss? Would you like to give a shout out to anyone? Do you have a story to share? The mic is all yours April and yours alone.

April-We are a bit of a strange band, and we sometimes like to do things with our music that may seem a little out of left field simply for the fun of it. I would encourage anyone patient enough to check us out to proceed with an open mind. Try to take our music simply for what it is instead of getting too analytical. Enjoy! Oh yes, and thank you so much for the lovely interview!

Andy-You're more than welcome April. And thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Video Beast-Gooch


Produced, recorded and mastered by Mike Gevaza at Continental Recording Studio in Long Island City, New York, "Gooch" is the latest release from the mythological cryptid known as Video Beast. The album follows in the footsteps of a 2014 demo, "Seasons Greetings From Video Bitch EP", and it finds this unknown oddity grooving it's way through ten tracks of golden delicious post-punk! For a sample taste you can check out the video for the album's lead single, "Chimp Strength", right below this brief review. But as good as "Chimp Strength" is (it's oh so gooey!) you really should experience it in it's natural environment. In other words, "Gooch" should be consumed whole! So, why not slap on a bib, grab your favorite cocktail and head on over to Video Beast's bandcamp page right now? You've got nothing to lose (other than time) and much to gain! You can thank me later. 

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Interview with New Tenants

New Tenants is a German band that is comprised of Marcus "Jimmy' Nelson (vocals), Marcel Mandl (drums), Pirmin Schall (bass), and Alex Huber (guitar). I recently reviewed their "Unity By Collision " album and now it is my pleasure to share a recent interview that I conducted with the band. Enjoy!

Andy-Thanks for doing this interview with us today. Would you please introduce yourselves and tell us what New Tenants is all about? 

Marcus-New Tenants is a Crossover/Rapcore Band which was founded in Bavaria in the end of 2013. We wanted to show people that the style along the lines of  "Rage Against the Machine" is not gone by a long shot.

Andy-"Unity By Collision" would seem to be the perfect title for your debut album. How did you decide on that? 

Marcus-Metal and HipHop collide in our music-style. And it‘s this collision that brings different groups of people, who usually might not have very much or anything in common, together to have a good time. Therefore = "Unity by Collision"

Andy-I can dig that. Speaking of your debut album (and I guess your overall sound) can I just say it's awesome! It's obviously that you four have a lot of chemistry! Has it been like that since day one? 

All-Well first off...Thank you very much! :) 

Marcus-Pirmin, Alex and Marcel have known each other since pre-school. And when I joined the band in 2013 it instantly clicked and we knew that we were on to something big. So I guess you could say that from the first band practice together there was instant chemistry. 

Andy-Coolness. So how has the reception been for the new album? 

All-The feedback for our first album was overwhelming. We also really enjoy hearing that everybody has their own different favorite song on the album. So it makes us happy that there is something for everybody.

Andy-I would agree with that. What are some of your influences? Both individually and as a group? 

Marcus-Well...trials and tribulations, struggles, overcoming obstacles. You know... Life!!

Marcel-Then there‘s the challenge of combining our favorite sounds and styles (Metal, HipHop, Oldskool,Hardcore) to something that's new.

Andy-I definitely think it's new so I think you nailed that part! What is your local scene like guys? Are there other hip-hop/rap metal bands around or did you set a precedent? 

Marcus-To a certain extent we may have laid the foundation here in Bavaria. We don‘t know of any other groups from around here that make a similar sound or style of music. Which is why we mostly play at Metal and Hardcore-shows.

Andy-On that end who are some of the bands and artist that you've played with and if you had your way what would be the perfect line-up? 

All-One of the best shows we've had till now was our support-show for Dog Eat Dog on their "25th Anniversary Tour". But we also always enjoyed several shows with other bands like the talented Hardcore/Punk Band Coma who are also from Bavaria. The perfect show for us would be the possibility to play as the support band for Limp Bizkit :) We would also love to play on the Vans Warped Tour through North America.

Andy-That would be awesome guys! I mean seeing you here in the states and all!! So, where can fans find out more about you and pick up a copy of "Unity By Collision" for themselves? 

All-Our album is available on every current online music-portal and can also be purchased in our online shop (www.newtenants.bigcartel.com). But we of course prefer people coming to our shows and grabbing some of our merchandise there personally, giving us the chance to interact with some of the fans. 

Andy-Well, I would certainly recommended that our readers over in Germany do just that! I know I'd be there in a heartbeat if I lived over there!!! Now, I always let artists have the last say so is there anything you'd like to share? Anything we missed?

All-You guys are doing a great job. We really appreciate that you promote and support small and independent bands like us to help get our names out there. Thank you! Keep in mind: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCENE!

Andy-I second that! Thanks again guys!!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Winter Calling-As Darkness Falls


Formed in Florida in 2013 by Wayne Hoefle (drums, piano, keys) and Ian Medhurst (guitar), Winter Calling is a Tampa-based band whose elegant sound combines elements of pop rock, classical rock, progressive rock, hard rock, melodic metal and traditional heavy metal. "As Darkness Falls" is Winter Calling's (exemplary) full-length debut and it is prime example of what can be accomplished when you combine the talents of four exceptional musicians with sophisticated songwriting and a clean production! On the 11-track "As Darkness Falls" all the stars align for this four-piece band and with one exceptional song after another there's simply nothing wrong with this band's first offering. This album is as close to a A+ recording as one can get and for a band that originally started out as nothing more than a side-project for the pair of Wayne and Ian that observation almost suggest some sort of otherworldly intervention! Could there be something magical behind the creation of "As Darkness Falls"? You almost have to wonder! How else do you explain Wayne and Ian striking gold with the addition of Chris Hodges (vocals) and Tim Gilbreath (bass)? I find it hard to believe that this pair just "happened" to stumble upon two fellow musicians/gentlemen of this caliber. A perfect line-up for the perfect debut album? That seems a little fishy right? But whatever the source of this band's power (and I'm not ruling out some kind of government involvement and/or C.I.A. brainwashing experiment either!) one thing remains crystal clear. "As Darkness Falls" should easily put this Floria band on the map and with the right hands helping them out this Tampa band could (and really should) go far. You can't hide this kind of talent for long. It's just not possible. As such I can see this quartet making it big. All signs point that way, but don't just take my word for it. Go out and grab a copy of "As Darkness Falls" for yourself. You can get it at places like Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes. In the meantime you can check out the band's video for their song "The Stand" below. It's just one of the eleven great numbers on this band's first album and it stacks up nicely to moments like "A World I Can Feel" (the album's powerful opening cut!), "Self-Righteous Parade", "A Moment In The Sun", "Leader Of One" and "108". Want more? How about the band's cover of "Wasted Years" then? That's right folks. "As Darkness Falls" also features a Iron Maiden cover and it fits right in with Winter Calling's original material. So you really can't go wrong with this one friends. For more information on Winter Calling be sure to check out the band's Facebook page or their official website.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Exorcism-Word In Sin

Dream Records

Following in the footsteps of 2014's well-received "I Am God", the limited-edition EP, "Word In Sin", is the latest release from modern doom metal project Exorcism. It is available through the band's official website and for Exorcism this EP continues down the same path that was started on their 2014 debut. In other words this is heavy metal/doom metal of the highest quality as inspired by Dio-era Black Sabbath! Active since 2006, Exorcism is more or less just a vehicle for Csaba Zvekan to show off his impressive skills as a front-man, but when you have someone this skilled manning the mic it's not as if you can really complain! Especially seeing as how Csaba Zvekan (Metal Machine, Raven Lord, ex-Emergency, ex-Sardonyx, ex-Killing Machine, ex-Calling Toy, ex-Rough Angel, ex-Warpdrive) approaches the whole affair with absolute class and a insurmountable amount of respect for both the man and the actual band that helped shape this modern day take on classic doom! Serving as a tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio, "Word In Sin" is a inspired release and one that should appease both fans of Exorcism and newcomers alike. As it is a strictly-limited EP fans of Exorcism may want to jump on "World In Sin" if they want a actual CD copy of this gem. Otherwise you can (digitally) snag this one from the usual sources (Amazon & iTunes).

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Caustic Method-The Virus

Pavement Entertainment

Active since 2003 or so, Caustic Method is a modern metal band that hails from New York State and is comprised of Matt Caustic, Darin Scott, Eric Maliszewski, and Angel Rivera. "The Virus" is Caustic Method's latest release and from what I've been able to gather this 10-track album combines a similarly-titled EP from last year with new material. This also looks to be the first full-length album from these U.S. metallers who list band's such as Machine Head, Meshuggah, Hed(PE), American Head Charge and the only and only Down as their influences. That being said, Caustic Method hasn't been sitting on their hands this whole time! After all we are talking about a band that has not only shared the stage with the likes of Korn, Disturbed, Otep, Biohazard, Nashville Pussy, Sevendust, Drowning Pool, Skindred, Toxic Holocaust, and even Cypress Hill! Not only that, but Caustic Method has also played out live with several of their (perceived) musical influences (American Head Charge, Hed(PE), and Machine Head) as well as actual influences (Hatebreed, Ringworm, and Mushroomhead)!! With "The Virus" you get the sound of one rather brutal band that has obviously honed their skill to near perfection thanks to all those live dates! We could do a track by track breakdown, but I'll spare you all of that and in it's place I'll just point out the obvious conclusions that one gets having played this all the way through. And that would be A) These guys are the real deal and B) This album is the shit!!!! First and foremost fans of Hatebreed should devour this record in one bite! But then again so will anyone who likes their modern metal crunchy and hardcore-infused!! This album is every-bit as dark and serious as the artwork suggests (if not more so!) and for Caustic Method it is a damn fine way to introduce yourself to the heavy metal community at large. "The Virus" is a keeper friends and it's also another great example of why New York has one of the best metal scenes around. To put it mildly, "The Virus" is one deadly infection that I wouldn't mind getting! 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Go Primitive-100 Ways

Horus Music Distribution

Produced by Romesh Dodangoda (Kids in Glass Houses, Funeral For A Friend, Twin Atlantic, Motörhead, The Blackout, Bullet For My Valentine, Lower Than Atlantis, Bring Me The Horizon), the forthcoming "100 Ways" is a five track EP from the UK's own Go Primitive. And for those who might not be familiar with that  name yet (with the key word being "YET"), Go Primitive is a guitar-driven four-piece whose commercially-viable sound falls somewhere between alternative rock and traditional heavy rock. Not that there is anything particularly traditional about this band (or for that matter Go Primitive's huge rock riffs and the gnarly way in which they crush everything by way of rippers like "In a Band" and "Save Your Self"!! ). But we'll get to that shortly. For now here's the skinny. Go Primitive is based in Warwickshire, lead by vocalist/guitarist Tomm E Williams and rounded out by Adam White, Dan Teale, and Ben Goodwin. Got that? Good! Now we can talk about this EP in more depth. :Available for pre-order at places like Amazon and iTunes, "100 Ways" opens with the (rock) radio-friendly "Breathe In, Bleed Out" (which you can hear for yourself thanks to it's official video!) and has a run-time of around seventeen minutes. In-between that lead-off single and the album's other radio-friendly number, "What You Pay For", "100 Ways" features other sweet moments like "In a Band", "The Sun Will Rise" and "Save Your Self". Of the EP's five songs my personal favorites would have to be the aforementioned "In a Band" and "Save Your Self". While I don't mind the friendlier vibes of "Breathe In, Bleed Out", "What You Pay For", and (to a lesser extent) "The Sun Will Rise" (with all three songs equally good in their own right!) I do think they sort of pail in comparison to "In A Band" and "Save Your Self". These two numbers are bit rougher around the edge and they seem to lean more towards the alternative/underground side of this band. In a way they are punchier and they almost feel more real. Does that mean the other cuts feel artificial? Absolutely not! I just happen to prefer the edgier side of this band's punch-rock sound. If anything it just adds to the overall dynamite nature of this EP! I'll admit to being more than a little curious as far as what this band can deliver live, but as the first set of studio songs that I've ever heard from Go Primitive I have to say good job! You've hooked me with "100 Ways". What's next? 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Seven Sisters-Lost In Time 7"

Warden Records 

Now here's a good Father's Day gift if every there was one! This little gem (or at least the digital version of this two-track beast) showed up in my inbox over the weekend and it proved to be the perfect soundtrack for a day of ribs, beer bread, baked potatoes with the works and of course ice cold hard cider! But then again why wouldn't it? I mean we are talking about Seven Sisters here! Oops, wait a second. You guys do remember Seven Sisters right? How could you not? I know I could never forget about this N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired band. Not after they gave us the stone-cold killer "The Warden"! I absolutely love that demo and I have the cassette version to prove it!! And yet as good as that EP is this 7" single is even better! Yes, that does sound unbelievably crazy! Somehow it's true though. Perhaps it's musical growth? The natural progression that takes place from day one to the present if you will. Or maybe it's the fact that this band finally has a complete line-up*? Whatever the case, "Lost In Time" is a fantastic 7" single that not only features the cool title cut, but the exceptional "Wicked Steel"! Everything that I loved about this band's 2014 debut is present and accounted for with the only real difference being the vocals of Kyle McNeill. Now serving time as the band's front-man, Kyle McNeill does double duty as both a singer/guitarist and on "Lost In Time" he puts his best foot forward thus turning this London band into a legit heavy metal quartet! Still influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene of old and eighties meal, Seven Sisters has returned with a new and improved edge and a clearer sense of direction. That being said, "Lost In Time" is still Seven Sisters as this metal band has (amazingly enough!!!!) already developed it's own familiar sound! So even if this singles'  righteous material is new and improved and (seemingly) more focused this is still Seven Sisters and their ever so cool take on traditional heavy metal. Thank God for that! Needless to say this is one great single that should please both new and old fans alike. It comes with my highest recommendation folks. In the end I simply cannot say enough good things about this band. Bands like Seven Sisters make me fall in love with true heavy metal all over again. If you live on the other side of the pound and you have a chance to get out and see Seven Sisters live then by all means do it. Bands like this need our support and encouragement. It's obviously they love what they do and they love the music as much as their fans do. I'd argue that Seven Sisters also love their fans so why not show them how much they mean to our scene? And really if you like classic heavy metal or the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound you simply cannot go wrong with a release like this. If you collect 7" singles I'd be sure to pick this one up a.s.a.p! I have a feeling it will be gone in no time at all! It has collectors item written all over it! One day soon Seven Sisters is going to be the talk of the town. I can feel as much in gut. They have all the necessary tools needed to break out and now that they have a full-fledged band at their disposal it's only a matter of time before Seven Sisters is a household name. For their sake I hope it's really soon as these guys truly deserve it. 

*Formed in 2013 by Kyle McNeill (vocals/guitar) and Graeme Farmer (guitar), Seven Sisters originally started out as a writing project between the pair. On "The Warden" lead vocals were handled by Josh Winnard (Dark Wizard, ex-Wytch Hazel) while Kyle McNeil took care of the bass parts. Now rounded out by bass guitarist Adam Thorpe and drummer Steve Loftin, Seven Sisters has made the move from studio project to full-on band and (frankly speaking my friends) the results speak for themselves!

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Saturday, June 20, 2015



Recorded and produced by band-member April Hutchins at Muffin Studios in Montreal, Quebec, "Solace" is the second full-length recording from Canada's Mellevon. It was released at the tail end of 2014 and this fourteen track album serves as the follow-up to the group's 2013 debut album, "Chaos Reigns". With a run-time that is over the fifty minute mark(!), "Solace" features two (short) instrumental numbers in "A Song for the Setting Sun" and the album's title track and this new recording finds Mellevon sporting a new look. One-time (harsh) vocalist Gabriel Tulli has been replaced by Red Skull and new drummer Colin MacAndrew (The Wild Hunt) takes over for the departed Jermeel Chase. As for everyone else? Well, seeing as she is responsible for most of the music and lyrics on "Solace" (as well as the album's concrete production job) special props should go to guitarist April Hutchins. As one of the original members of this Montreal-based band, April Hutchins excels in each department that she has a hand in (musician, songwriter and producer) and on "Solace" her guitar playing is absolutely sick! While this five-piece band (reportedly) started out as a Industrial/Nu-metal act you'd never know that by April's performances on "Solace" as her work is well-drawn out and meticulous in it's complexity! Even so her riffs are crisp and sharp and when stacked up against the jagged nature of some of this album's material they offer up a glorious wall of sound! April's guitar skills are the album's true highlight and they help make each and every track on "Solace" somewhat different. For the album's full line-up (and to see the guest list for "Solace") be sure to check below this review. Otherwise we're looking at a one-time(?) Industrial/Nu-metal band that has apparently turned the corner and is now (more or less) a hybrid/modern metal band. Sure, there's still a bit of industrial metal going on here, but it's been maxed out by way of melodic death metal (hence the band's own Industrial Melodic Death Metal tag) and a long-list of sub-genres that range from dark metal to goth metal to even (light) symphonic metal! The album's cool mash-up of styles helps make for a more interesting listening experience all-around. And for the most part so do the clean and harsh vocals. I might have sorted out the harsh vocals a tad more (maybe it's the mix, but from time to time the death metal growls sound....well, off kilter I guess), but they are good all the same. And that really goes for each member/part of Mellevon. Everyone does their thing and they do it well. But, if I had to pick one other thing that stood out about Mellevon's latest (besides the stellar guitar parts that rule on "Solace"!) it would be the keyboards. They come courtesy of Chel Vorsteher and they help give "Solace" a nice after-shine. They range from classy to somewhat electronic and they add that extra exclamation point to the whole affair! All in all I found "Solace" to be a solid listening experience. As with a lot of up-and-coming bands these days there are a few things that could be touched-up, but overall this is a good band that sure sounds as if they could be REALLY good in no time at all. Even if you don't pick up Mellevon's latest album I'd sure as hell keep an eye on them as this is one Canadian band that has "HUGE POTENTIAL" written all over them!!!!

Mellevon is:
Red Skull: Lead vocals, clean vocals
April Hutchins: Guitars, vocals and spoken word .
Chel Vorsteher: Keyboards, clean vocals .
Stefan Guaiani: Bass, harsh vocals .
Colin MacAndrew : Drums, harsh vocals

Guest Performers:
Björn Strid (Soilwork): Vocals on "The Quiet Light".
Les Godfrey (ex-Tchort, ex-The Illuminati): Guitar solo on "Under Moss".
Kyle Lapointe (The Renaissance Men): Spoken word intro on "Sonically Transmitted Dysphoria".
Melanie Hutchins: Vocal harmonies on "Left Behind".

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Friday, June 19, 2015

New Tenants-Unity By Collision


Listen up ladies and gents, boys and girls. Eyes forward and all ears on me. I'm only going to say this once so you bloody well better pay attention! There's something strange in the neighborhood, but there's no need to drop a dime on the Ghostbusters or work yourself up into a frenzy. Instead of all of that messed-up jazz how about we throw down the welcome mat, crack open a couple of cold ones and give a great big welcome to Germany's New Tenants! Why all the mystery and intrigue you might be asking? What's with all the fuss? Well, let's just say that this one's new to me. What we've got here is something that I've never heard before and something that I never thought that I would hear. You see this is crossover rap metal! As in punk, hardcore, heavy metal, and thrash crossed with hip-hop/rap-infused metal. And what's more it's actually good. Yes, I'm shocked myself. Don't get me wrong here. I am fully aware that rap metal isn't a new thing. There's Rage Against The Machine, Clawfinger, Faith No More, Body Count, Kid Rock, P.O.D., and of course the dreaded Limp Bizkit! And I know that there are hundreds more that could sort of fit into that category like 24/7 Spyz, Run DMC (more like rap rock, but you get the picture), Beastie Boys and the whole Anthrax/Public Enemy team-up. New Tenants is different though. For one thing they don't make me want to hurl like Limp Bizkit does. And they are more beefed up than Rage Against The Machine. More then anything though New Tenants bring the ROCK on their full-length debut, "Unity By Collision", and that ROCK is neatly nestled inside the kind of heavy metal that justifiably acknowledges the lifeblood of both punk and thrash. Self-financed and self-released, "Unity By Collision" caught me off guard with a wicked left hook and by the time I came to my senses I suddenly realized that I was knee-deep in the groove and my face was completely covered up by the gravel of this street-legit four-piece! I can see fans of Rage Against The Machine really digging this, but here's the thing kids. I'm not in that crowd and never have been. Ever so I love what these guys are all about because A) The instrumentation of this album is tight! These guys know how to rock hard and the guitar playing on "Unity By Collision" is second to none! B) The songs are well-written and this album has a nice flow to it. C) The band's front-man is solid. His rhymes are actually enjoyable and his style messes perfectly with the music at hand. D) This band comes across as honest and sincere. The guys in New Tenants actually sound as if they are real and approachable. I'd wager to say you could sit and have beers we've these guys and it would be righteous. And finally you actually get a sense of integrity here. Add all of that together and you've got a band that is likable. And it just so happens that this likable band plays sick heavy FREAKING metal over top of which they like to add touches of hip hop and rap. It's a weird crazy thing, but friends I totally dig it. Maybe you will too! 

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interview with Damn Dice

Damn Dice is a somewhat new hard & heavy quartet from London that has slowly, but surely made the move from hometown heroes to national treasures. This rock-steady four-piece cites bands as diverse as Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest as it's influences and just last week I covered the group's excellent full-length album, "The Great Unknown". Now it is my extreme pleasure to post a interview that I recently conducted with Damn Dice's front-man (and all-around cool guy!) Alex! If you haven't had a chance to scan over my review of this up-and-coming band's stellar debut then be sure to head that way after checking out this interview and as always I'd like to remind all of you out there to support your own local scene. It's up to each and everyone of us to keep the indie and underground scenes going and when you go out and watch these local bands play live you're telling these acts that you believe in them and that what they are doing matters!
Andy-Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us who's who these days in Damn Dice?

Alex-Hi! Yeah, so we have Fransoa on drums, Wallis on guitar, Marco on bass and Alex (that's me) on vocals.

Andy-"The Great Unknown" seems to signal a change in direction for the band. Would that be a correct assumption?

Alex-Yes. Kind of, I mean we make the music we want to make, it's not like we sit down and decide, 'ok, we're gonna change direction here'. The music is what we want it to be. This is our first album, so despite having released an EP, this is the one that says what we are about more than anything else. It is what it is, and it's not as if we've gone electro or any weird shit like that! This is a hard rock/metal album. I think it's obvious to anyone who heard the EP that this is a different animal. I grew up listening to Sabbath, Dio, Priest and the like, and I'm not saying that that's what the album is like or what you can expect, but it's in the spirit of Metal.

Andy-Could you tell us about the new album? Who produced it and whose responsible for the majority of the songwriting?

Alex-We recorded the album in London with the same producer who did our EP, Akis Kollaros. He really helped us out because we were in a bit of a situation. We were supposed to have a big name producer on board, but it turns out it was all a bit of a swindle. You live and learn, I suppose, but anyway, he was able to come in at short notice and do the album. Unfortunately, just over a week after the last sessions, he lost his life in a road accident. We are so thankful to have known him, he was an awesome guy; the album is dedicated to him. The music is a collaborative effort with Wallis and Fransoa contributing the main body of the songs. We work on getting everything right in terms of overall sound, arrangement, vocal ideas and lyrics. There is nobody that puts anything in without everyone being happy with it, which means sometimes things change and get adapted, but we all have very similar ideas of what we want, and we're not afraid to put in ideas or give criticism. When I do the words for the songs, I would never just say 'this is it, get used to it', I always ask for input, ideas etc... The writing is actually a really fun process.

Andy-It's been two year since we last heard from the band. What have you guys been up to?

Alex-The making of this album has taken over our lives for the last year; things were put on hold and so it may seem that we've been inactive, but behind the scenes we've been beavering away, constantly working on everything. I think our experience of the whole time is reflected in this record. We've shot some vids, played some shows, but for the release of the album we're looking to get out there as much as we can.

Andy-I've got to say that your new album surprised me. I certainly did not see it coming! I mean "No Fear" is BOMBASTIC!

Damn Dice-Haha! Yeah, I love that song. It's a big gut-punch when that riff comes in. I have to say I'm glad to hear that it surprised you. I don't think it'd be as cool if you already knew what you were getting. The whole album in a heavier vein, but it's still Damn Dice. As I said before, we are very happy for this album to set down what Damn Dice is all about, but you'd really have to see us live to really understand. For this reason we are planning to get out and about and we're sure to be heading somewhere near you soon!

Andy-Where can fans find out more about Damn Dice? 

Alex-Anyone can find out about us on pretty much all social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Insta, all /damndice or @damndice, and of course our website www.damndice.com  

Andy-Do you have a link for the new album? Will fans be able to pre-order it? 

Alex-Yeah, the album will be available to pre-order very soon, perhaps by the time you are reading this. So go check it out!  

Andy-I agree with that 100%! Go check this album out people!!! So, what does the rest of 2015 have in store for Damn Dice? 

Alex-Well, until the album comes out we will be concentrating on making sure everyone knows it's coming. Then we are looking into organizing a tour and and generally playing as much as possible. We're eager to get out and play these songs and we're sure the live show is going to be intense!  

Andy-I always let bands have the last word. Any parting shots Alex? 

Alex-I would give a message to anyone reading that if you like hard rock and metal music, high energy live shows and having a good time, then check out this album and come to see us live. We want you to be a part of this crazy journey we've been on for the last couple of years. 'The Great Unknown", our first album is out this year, 2015, so why not have a blast and be part of it while it's happening, because it's happening right now! So lets be cool to one another as we head into the great unknown!

Andy-Thanks Alex!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Ghost Next Door-The Ghost Next Door

Mausoleum Records

The Ghost Next Door is a California four-piece that features former Skinlab member Gary Wendt* within it's ranks. The self-titled "The Ghost Next Door" is the long-awaited debut album from this reformed and restrengthened quartet whose long list of influences range from the likes of Rush, Tool and Pink Floyd to bands such as Alice In Chains, Metallica and Machine Head. In addition to Gary Wendt (vocals and guitars) this Berkley-based group features Aaron Asghari on guitar, Seanan Gridley on bass, and Paula Sisson on drums and on the band's new album they blend together elements as diverse as post-rock and Bay Area thrash! With a sound that is as spooky as the album's artwork and the band's name** suggests, "The Ghost Next Door" actually played out well for everyone within earshot of the promo's initial streaming. While I loved the album's overall heaviness and it's adventurous take on melancholy metal the teenagers that dwell within my household were drawn to it's riff-rock underbelly and the post-grunge/nineties alternative rock construction job that held it all together. Each and everyone of us took something unique away from the music of The Ghost Next Door and even though they might have been vastly different experiences they were all distinctly positive. For all that I have in common with these teens musically (a shared love for eighties rock for example) it should nonetheless be mentioned that the kids and I have vastly different tastes when it comes to today's music scene. So the fact that we can all agree upon something like "The Ghost Next Door" is amazing! But, when you have this cool alternative heavy metal/thrash/modern metal band that is drawing from everyone from Catherine Wheel to Jane's Addiction to Iron Maiden, Randy Rhodes and then even Killing Joke it does make sense how we can all find something to love about this release!! Such diversity on the part of The Ghost Next Door is far from accidental. Each and every member of this Berkley-based band brings something different to the party. Or as the band's Facebook page puts it: "Each member brings unique influences from across the modern music spectrum: from punk to jazz, progressive metal to sadcore, modern rock to thrash. Their influences and playing styles combine into meter-bending, riff-driven rock & roll breaking out from under the bare skin of abrasively honest lyrics". All of which makes this clever album a easy thing to recommend. Need a little extra encouragement? Well, be sure to check out the official video for "Eleven O' Clock Blues" then! You can thank me later!!!!


*A founding member of  Sacrilege B.C. and Release, Gary Wendt grew up in the Bay Area and over the years this talented guitarist has developed his own unique style of playing. 

** When Gary Wendt found out that the house next door to him was supposedly haunted he decided to name his new band The Ghost Next Door.

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Cherry White-Staring At The Sun


Formed in 2009, Cherry White is a four-piece band from London that is comprised off Donata Sounds  (vocals), Russell Jones (guitars), Ralph Beeby (bass), and Felipe Drago (drums). "Staring At The Sun" is the group's latest studio recording and this recently-released EP was engineered at Bark Studios by Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream, The Firm, My Bloody Valentine). It was preceded by the single release of the EP's lead-off track, "Drifter", and for a indie blues-rock band that had previously made a name for itself thanks to upbeat shows this new recording goes a long way towards transferring Cherry White's live energy onto tape! As the inspiration behind "Staring At The Sun" was the city in which Cherry White live and perform this buzz-worthy recording could be seen as a more than suitable soundtrack to London's vibrant nightlife! And seeing as "Staring At The Sun" was just issued some nine days ago this six-track EP is still hot to the touch! In fact it's hot of the presses and more than a little anxious to find it's way into the hands of indie blues-rock fans!!(Properly) self-identified as a band that "Folds the old school songwriting smarts of Fleetwood Mac into the contemporary edge of the Raconteurs'' and featuring four musicians that are at the top of their class, Cherry White is a adult contemporary act that has somehow managed to stumble upon the fountain of youth! Carefully-crafted with indie rock fans in mind, "Staring At The Sun" is intelligent blues-rock with an alternative mindset and a warm and inviting personality.  The music here is rich and deeply rooted in the culture that surrounds it's band-members. And in the end it is as classy and charming as the four Londoners that perfected it. If you are into creative blues-rock or you consider yourself a fan of indie rock then be sure to try this album on for size.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Tower-Tower


For today's Free Metal Monday feature we have Tower from New York City. The band is expertly fronted by Sarabeth Linden and the name-your-own-price "Tower" looks to be the group's first studio recording. Produced, mixed & mastered by Jeff Filmer and the band-members themselves, "Tower" features three cool tracks in the form of "Flames", "Mountains", and "Hold on to Me". That last number is arguably the best of the lot and on this EP the line-up looks to be Sarabeth Linden (lead vocals), James Danzo (guitar),
Zak Penley (guitar), Philippe Arman (bass guitar & vocals), and Joey Bouchard (drums). Tower is every-bit as real and rock-steady as the city it hails from (after all this city gave us everyone from The Ramones to Nuclear Assault)! and because I believe in giving credit where credit is due this is yet another fine suggestion from the one and only Paul Rote! There are a lot of  good reasons why I follow Paul on Bandcamp, but the biggest one would have to be the fact that the two of us share similar tastes in music. In the case of  Tower that would be heavy rock/heavy metal with a none-to-subtle eighties tint! Paul was more or less spot on when he said "This lies somewhere between Mötley Crüe and Accept", but let's make sure to clarify that comment by adding the word "early" to Mötley Crüe and rewriting the last bit so that it says "Restless and Wild" through "Metal Heart"-era Accept. Otherwise that is Tower in a nutshell and on this three-track EP these New Yorkers want nothing more than to share their love of old-school hard rock and heavy metal with the old and young alike! As this is (potentially) the band's first recording there is obviously room to grow, but from what I hear on "Tower" this is one group that could do some serious damage if given a fair shot. I'd love to see what this band could do with a legit budget and hear how they would fare on a full-length album. For now this EP is a great addition to any one's personal collection and I will eagerly be hyping it to friends and fellow collectors!

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

From Another Planet-An Ever-Changing Perspective


Hailing from my home state of Ohio, From Another Planet is a heavy & harsh progressive metal/metalcore band that (as of 2014) is fronted by Michael Leone of Arise The Titan fame. Formed in 2009 by long-time friends Jesse Mitten (drums, percussion), Marcus White (bass, vocals) and Nick Davisson (guitar), with the recently-released "An Ever-Changing Perspective" serving as the group's full-length debut, From Another Planet has endured it's fair share of line-up changes since first coming together all those years ago. These days the band is rounded out by second guitarist Shayne DePugh and (collectively) one couldn't ask for a tighter unit than this! Not that such chemistry is unwarranted or unexpected (what with Davidson, Mitten, and White having first jammed together way back in junior high!), but it's still worth mentioning considering the relatively-new status of vocalist/lyricist Michael Leone. On "An Ever-Changing Perspective" the crazed Michael Leone provides often-times BRUTAL death metal growls that should be all-too familiar to Arise The Titan fans. His amped-up voice fits in perfectly with this band's aggressive style and even when this metallic lot is dabbling with melodic passages there's nothing stopping From Another Planet's crushing landslide of a sound! Inspired by the likes of  Between the Buried & Me, Scale the Summit, Periphery, Explosions in the Sky, and The Contortionist (with more of an emphasis on that first lot!) this Ohio band is certainly a product of their influences. There's no use in arguing that fact. But, here's the kicker. This isn't the same band that appeared on the 2012 debut EP, "Believe". And no, we're not talking about line-up wise. Put "Believe" next to "An Ever-Changing Perspective" and you'll notice how much this band has come into their own. There is a lot of growth and maturity to be witnessed between these two releases and with the band's new album all the more atmospheric and technically-sound any particular points of reference should be viewed as a positive step forward for this five-piece wrecking crew! Track in and track out "An Ever-Changing Perspective" lives up to the full potential of it's name. It follows the single "Release" and this recommend full-length feature never stops impressing thanks to tech-savvy passages and heavy slamming riffs that rattle your rib cages! If you're looking for an example of Ohio metal at it's finest then look no further! From Another Planet makes me even more proud to be a Buckeye and like I've said a hundred times before you can stack our metal scene up to the best of them as we've got talent to spare! Needless to say you are going to want to snag a copy of this one!

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