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Sweet & Lynch – Only to Rise [Review]

61lIvlJe4+LSweet & Lynch – Only to Rise
2015, Frontiers Records
Buy the album

1. The Wish
2. Dying Rose
3. Love Stays
4. Time Will Tell
5. Rescue Me
6. Me Without You
7. Recover
8. Divine
9. September
10. Strength in Numbers
11. Hero-Zero
12. Only to Rise

Michael Sweet – Vocals, Guitar
George Lynch – Guitar
James LoMenzo – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums

Producer: Michael Sweet

Sweet & Lynch is supergroup in a long line of supergroups put together at the request of the Italy-based melodic rock label Frontiers Records. The difference this time is that I can actually pronounce the names and know who all of these guys are! Also, in contract to many of Frontier’s other all-star projects, Michael Sweet offered to take over as producer and he and George Lynch co-wrote all of the songs. Generally, for these label projects the album would use outside songwriters and producers.

Looking at the band roster I have to say that Sweet & Lynch is as strong of a rock supergroup as there has been in awhile. While Stryper’s Michael Sweet and Dokken/Lynch Mob’s George Lynch are obviously the focal point, the names of bassist James LoMenzo (White Lion / Megadeth / Black Label Society) and journeyman drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake) should be recognizable to more than a few hard rock fans.

As for the music, Sweet Lynch stays within the realm of what made them popular. I wouldn’t put this album on the level of the last few Stryper & Sweet solo albums, but fans of Stryper, Dokken and/or Lynch Mob, should find no trouble enjoying this melodic hard rockin’ album.

Highlights: “Love Stays”, “Time Will Tell”, “Me Without You”, “Recover”, “Only to Rise”

Looking Forward to in 2012…

2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?

In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:

AcceptStalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.

KISS – Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.

SunstormEmotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.

No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.

Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.

Aerosmith (May)
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted,  I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001’s Just Push Play).

Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?

Judas Priest
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a PainkillerHell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.

Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.

Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.

The Last Vegas The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.

His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.

Trans-Siberian OrchestraRomanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.

With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.

This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?)  followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.

M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.

They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.

Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?

I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource —

Bring Back Glam —

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. –

Hair Metal Mansion —

Hard Rock Hideout —

Hard Rock Nights —

Heavy Metal Addiction —

Heavy Metal Time Machine —

Imagine Echoes —

Layla’s Classic Rock —

Metal Odyssey —

The Ripple Effect —

George Lynch – Kill All Control

George Lynch – Kill All Control (2011, Rocket Science, Inc.)

1. “Kill All Control”
2. “Done”
3. “Fly On The Wall”
4. “Brand New Day”
5. “Wicked Witch”
6. “Voices In My Head”
7. “Resurrect Your Soul”
8. “Rattlesnake”
9. “Sun”
10. “Man On Fire”
11. “My Own Enemy”
12. “Son Of Scary”
13. “Go It Alone”

George Lynch – Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
London LeGrand – Vocals (Track 5, 11, 13), Backing Vocals
Marq Torien – Vocals (Tracks 1, 3, 9), Backing Vocals
Will Martin – Vocals (Tracks 1-4, 6, 9), Backing Vocals
Keith St. John – Vocals (Tracks 7, 8, 10), Backing Vocals
Nic Speck – Bass
Adrian Ost – Drums
Fred Coury – Drums (Track 12)

Just like Michael Schenker, George Lynch is a guy that stays so active and releases so much music in any given year that it’s easy to lose track of what exactly his current project is and if any of those projects are worth listening to. Despite being a guitar hero it seems like a lot of his music goes unnoticed (although the Lynch Mob reunion album Smoke & Mirrors was well-received). Hopefully with the buzz the Lynch Mob reunion started more people will pay attention to this solo effort because it’s definitely worth listening to.

George has never really been one to live in the past. While I can applaud some acts for sticking to or going back to their “classic” sound in order to appease the hardcore fans, as long as the music is good I see no problem with catching up to modern times and that’s exactly what Lynch is doing here. This is modern hard rock/metal featuring elements of alternative and more classic sounding hard rock. These are songs that would probably find their way to radio if only they were done by someone half George’s age. Some of the music at times it reminds me of SIXX:A.M. (though certainly not as dark) but all of it sounds current.

It’s worth noting that the music does not sound forced. A lot of people gave Lynch a hard time (rightfully so) when he took Lynch Mob in a rap-metal direction in the late ’90s but Kill All Control sounds much more natural. It’s hard rock but it’s up-to-date, not trend-jumping. I doubt at this point in his career George believes he’ll get any radio play anyway (no matter what the style of his music is), so this is probably just where his head is at right now when it comes to solo material.

Admittedly, the album was originally intended to be a follow-up to 2008’s Let The Truth Be Known from Souls of We (George’s  side-project with former Brides of Destruction singer London LeGrand) and drummer Adrian Ost. During the process of writing the album, the decision was made to make it a solo effort instead due to the direction that the songs were taking. As such, a number of vocalists were called in to lend their talents in addition to LeGrand. Marq Torien (Bullet Boys), Will Martin (Earshot) and Keith St. John (Montrose) all make appearances while Cinderella’s Fred Coury plays drums on the “Son Of Scary” instrumental. By the way, I did my best in listing who sang on what song, I couldn’t find a complete list of album credits.

For those hoping for something similar to Dokken or Lynch Mob leftovers, you’re out of luck. But, Kill All Control displays the great riffs and solos George is known for and a fantastic collection of vocalists along with tons of groove and hooks. Definitely worth checking out.

Highlights: “Kill All Control”, “Done”, “Brand New Day”, “Wicked Witch”, “Voices In My Head”, “Resurrect Your Soul”, “My Own Enemy”

Buy ‘Kill All Control’ at

DOKKEN – Back for the Attack

Dokken – Back For The Attack (1987, Elektra Records)

1. “Kiss of Death” … 5:48
2. “Prisoner” … 4:19
3. “Night by Night” … 5:20
4. “Standing in the Shadows” … 5:05
5. “Heaven Sent” … 4:50
6. “Mr. Scary” … 4:37
7. “So Many Tears” … 4:54
8. “Burning Like a Flame” … 4:44
9. “Lost Behind the Wall” … 4:18
10. “Stop Fighting Love” … 4:57
11. “Cry of the Gypsy” … 4:46
12. “Sleepless Nights” … 4:30
13. “Dream Warriors” … 4:46

Don Dokken – Lead Vocals
George Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Mick Brown – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Neil Kernon

Another good release from Dokken! My opinion has really changed on the band after listening to Under Lock and Key and Back for the Attack. I wouldn’t place the band in my top ten (or even top twenty) but I have a new found respect for them.

This album is a step behind Under Lock and Key (my favorite of all the Dokken albums I’ve heard). There’s nothing here that comes close to being a standout track like “It’s Not Love” but there’s still plenty of good stuff (like the instrumental “Mr. Scary” which sounds like the music for a video game) and unfortunately there’s some filler as well. 13 tracks? That’s going a bit too long for my tastes. I wonder why they decided to increase by three songs compared to Under Lock and Key.

“Dream Warriors” is of course one of Dokken’s most famous songs and stems from the A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors movie soundtrack. It was originally released in February 1987 as a single. Due to its success, it was remixed and included on this album, which was released in November of that same year . That’s one way to explain the length of this album.

This was the last Dokken album until their reunion in 1995 but it was a nice note to end on.

Highlights: “Kiss of Death”, “Prisoner”, “Heaven Sent”, “Mr. Scary”, “Burning Like a Flame”, “Dream Warriors”

DOKKEN – Under Lock and Key

Dokken – Under Lock and Key (1985, Elektra Records)

1. “Unchain the Night” … 5:17
2. “The Hunter” … 4:06
3. “In My Dreams” … 4:18
4. “Slippin’ Away” … 3:46
5. “Lightnin’ Strikes Again” … 3:47
6. “It’s Not Love” … 5:01
7. “Jaded Heart” … 4:13
8. “Don’t Lie to Me” … 3:38
9. “Will the Sun Rise” … 4:09
10. “Til the Livin’ End” … 3:56

Don Dokken – Lead Vocals
Georgy Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Mick Brown – Drums

Producer: Michael Wagener

What a difference a year makes! Almost 12 months ago I gave an extremely brief and less than glowing review of Dokken’s Tooth And Nail and stated that 2009’s Lightning Strikes Again (a title that gives a nod to a song off this very album) was more of the same. Well, despite not being the biggest Dokken fan in the world, I knew enough to know that Under Lock and Key was generally considered to be their best work so when I saw it along with Back for the Attack at Barnes & Noble for $5.99 each, I had to pick it up because I had money to burn.

I was really surprised by this album. I was already familiar with “In My Dreams”, “It’s Not Love” and “Unchain the Night” but the rest is completely new to me. Don really pushes his voice on this album and in a good way. I didn’t realize he ever had it in him!

I like most of these songs. They range from great to decent but there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb: “Slippin’ Away”. Just a bad hair ballad. Ballads are not this band’s strong suit but they excel at dirty rockers like “It’s Not Love” (probably my favorite Dokken song of all time) and “The Hunter”.

Funny side note – I was playing this album in my car and my girl noticed the cover. She picked up the jewel case and said “who are these losers?” I had to remind her that was Dokken!


“Dokken! Multi-platinum artists!”

Then she asked for their names and referred to George Lynch simply as “girl” based on his cover appearance.

Anyway, I’ve been cranking this album a lot since finally listening to it (it saw here for a few weeks without me even sampling one track) and I’m really glad I bought it. Another classic album joins my collection!

Highlights: “Unchain the Night”, “The Hunter”, “In My Dreams”, “Lightnin’ Strikes Again”, “It’s Not Love”

LYNCH MOB – Smoke and Mirrors

Lynch Mob – Smoke and Mirrors (2009, Frontiers Records – German Import)

1. “21st Century Man” … 4:55
2. “Smoke and Mirrors” … 5:00
3. “Lucky Man” … 4:29
4. “My Kind of Healer” … 3:33
5. “Time Keepers” … 6:54
6. “Revolution Heroes” … 4:01
7. “Let The Music Be Your Master” … 6:19
8. “The Facist” … 4:10
9. “Where Do You Sleep At Night” … 3:50
10. “Madly Backwards” … 4:12
11. “We Will Remain” … 4:37
12. “Before I Close My Eyes” … 4:43
13. “Mansions In The Sky” … 4:19

Oni Logan – Lead Vocals
George Lynch – Guitars
Marco Mendoza – Bass, Backing Vocals
Scot Coogan – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Lynch Mob, Bob Kulick, Brett Chassen

After only hearing Lynch Mob’s debut Wicked Sensation and read so many negatives about the later experimental George Lynch/Lynch Mob albums, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. I was thinking it would probably be a less rocking, more melodic affair, but I still expected to hear some fiery George Lynch solos.

Well, I can say that album is not as chest-thumping as Wicked Sensation (an album that was pretty much a full-force “hair metal” release), but it is no soft AOR album either. In fact, what the returning Lynch Mob brings us is a solid bluesy melodic hard rock album where George is decidedly a band member and not the band himself. Even Oni Logan’s voice has changed. Whether by choice or by time, he sounds richer and deeper and doesn’t wail as he did on the band’s debut. His voice definitely suits the bluesier sound of this album.

I wasn’t immediately into this album, it’s a definite grower. Nothing jumped out and grabbed me like some songs on Wicked Sensation did and Smoke and Mirrors can’t compare to it, but this is still a very good release for fans of Lynch Mob and melodic rock in general. The opener “21st Century Man” is a great way to kick things off because it almost sounds like the Lynch Mob of old and “Smoke and Mirrors” is a really bluesy rocker that reminds me a lot of Bad Company (Logan especially sounds like he’s doing his best Paul Rodgers). Those two songs would be my favorites.

This is only Oni Logan’s seconding outing with Lynch Mob. After Wicked Sensation, he was replaced by Robert Mason (now in Big Cock and Warrant). While Marco Mendoza (Blue Murder/Whitesnake/Ted Nugent) and Scot Coogan (Brides of Destruction) are new to the group, the original Lynch Mob line-up tried to reunite a few years ago, but they didn’t get past the writing stage and Robert Mason stepped in again.

This album supposedly was released in the U.S., but I had to go through and order the German import (which was available on their site the day the U.S. version was released) for about $14. Everything is printed in English, but what’s really funny is when I put the CD into my computer to play, Windows Media Player lists the album and song titles in what I assume to be Japanese. I gotta keep the track list on hand for this one! There is no difference between any of the imports or the U.S. version. They all feature the same “bonus track” – “Mansions In The Sky”. So again, is it really a “bonus”?

Highlights: “21st Century Man”, “Smoke and Mirrors”, “My Kind of Healer”, “Time Keepers”, “The Facist”, “Where Do You Sleep At Night”, “Mansions In The Sky”

LYNCH MOB – Wicked Sensation

Lynch Mob – Wicked Sensation (1990, Elektra Records)

1. “Wicked Sensation” … 4:42
2. “River of Love” … 4:22
3. “Sweet Sister Mercy” … 3:45
4. “All I Want” … 5:05
5. “Hell Child” … 4:51
6. “She’s Evil But She’s Mine” … 5:10
7. “Dance of the Dogs” … 3:47
8. “Rain” … 4:54
9. “No Bed of Roses” … 4:21
10. “Through These Eyes” … 5:16
11. “For a Million Years” … 6:18
12. “Street Fighting Man” … 4:49

Oni Logan: Lead Vocals
George Lynch: Guitar
Anthony Esposito: Bass
Mick Brown: Drums

Produced by: Max Norman

Being that I’ve never been too terribly impressed with Dokken, I was always hesitant to give Lynch Mob a try, which ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch started up. I think it was CD Universe I eventually picked this one up from and it was relatively cheap. The deciding factor though was when I was browsing through the comic book store on Friday afternoon years ago and they were playing the local rock station, which at 5PM on Fridays would always play three “hair metal” songs. “Wicked Sensation” was one of those songs and I immediately loved it and did a quick online search once getting home and eventually ordered the album.

“Wicked Sensation” (which is a better song than any Dokken has ever produced) is the biggest standout and Oni Logan’s voice really shines here as well. The rest of the album is solid pop-metal, but most of it is nothing spectacular, and I only occasionally give the album a spin just the hear the handful of songs I really enjoy.

The album is good enough though that if it had been released a few years earlier, it would’ve been a huge hit, but by 1990, unless you already had a strong following and were a platinum status act, you weren’t going to be given much of a chance playing this style of music.

Highlights: “Wicked Sensation”, “River of Love”, “Sweet Sister Mercy”, “She’s Evil But She’s Mine”, “No Bed of Roses”

DOKKEN – Tooth And Nail

Dokken – Tooth And Nail (1984, Elektra Records)

1. “Without Warning” … 1:35
2. “Tooth and Nail” … 3:40
3. “Just Got Lucky” … 4:35
4. “Heartless Heart” … 3:29
5. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” … 4:10
6. “When Heaven Comes Down” … 3:45
7. “Into the Fire” … 4:30
8. “Bullets to Spare” … 3:35
9. “Alone Again” … 4:20
10. “Turn on the Action” … 4:43

Don Dokken – Lead Vocals, Guitar
George Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Mick Brown – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Roy Thomas Baker & Tom Werman

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I just don’t “get” Dokken. I guess I like my hair metal bands with a little more flash. This was the band’s breakthrough release, going platinum, but it’s nothing special, in my eyes. There are a few songs that are decent, but nothing worth going out of your way for.

I was never really impressed with the Dokken songs I had heard over the years, but I had never owned an album, so I picked this one up after lots of recommendations. I found that my hunches were correct. It’s a wonder I even bothered to try again with 2008’s Lightning Strikes Again.

I know Dokken and this album are considered “classics” in the pop metal circles, but they aren’t for me.

Highlights: “Just Got Lucky”, “Into the Fire”, “Bullets to Spare”, “Alone Again”

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