365 Albums In One Year

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Look what arrived in the mail today

364/365

Images And Words - Dream Theater
Format: CD/Digital

James LaBrie makes his debut on Dream Theater's second album Images And Words, opening up the album we have concert staple and show closer Pull Me Under. The track builds up slowly being introduced by a strong bass and drum introduction soon John joins in on lead guitar and the track begins to become a captivating piece of music. Incredible lyrisism is present here as with the previous albums I had heard from the band. Incredible vocals from LaBrie shifting between lower and some higher styles, "Each Breathe leaves me one less to my last" is sheer brilliance, an amazing way to kick off an album, full of shifts and turns with phenomenal instrumental work throughout. Amazing vocals and killer lyrics. Only downside is the song cuts off. Another Day comes in softly with some beautiful guitar work from Petrucci who wrote the track, incredibly sentimental with an absolutely soaring chorus, the orchestration from the keyboards really would suit an orchestral arrangement so different from the previous track but equally as masterful throughout, those high notes from LaBrie are absolutely amazing. A brilliant ballad. Take The Time comes up next continuing with the very orchestrated feeling the song opens with a memorizing instrumental section, a different style of vocals from LaBrie makes the track rather interesting from the start plus there are some rather interesting vocal additions, some strong backing vocals, some rather interesting shifts throughout the track. It is a great displace of the bands versatility and is incredibly complex I will have to give it another listen. Surrounded opens with some keyboards and James, the track goes full ballad mode once again, written by Keyboardist Kevin Moore the track picks up a little bit featuring some quite tasteful drumming from Mike Portnoy there is once again some more powerful vocals from James who has such an interesting vocal style the track continues to build up throughout until it fades away back into the piano based style for the closing. Metropolis Part 1 is up next, sleigh bells introduce the track which builds quickly into the massive track it is known for. A track so popular it spawned an entire album as a followup this, I'll put it this way, this track is brilliant, every member of the band does their part phenomenally. The mirroring that the band would do with this track and the follow up is amazing, the themes and lines which translate into the tracks such as Home are amazing. A perfect track. Memorizing keyboard work and the guitar accompaniment from Petrucci is amazing. Portnoy's drumming is phenomenal and the bass work from Myung rounds out the bands incredible instrumental section. Under A Glass Moon opens with an incredible symphonic approach it pulls me right into the track, the chorus appears to be more stripped back in comparison to the hard rocking approach of the track, an impeccable solo section ensues, another great track. Wait For Sleep is by far the shortest track of the album, a quick tempo piano intro makes way for LaBrie to come in singing references to the previous track and the album title are made very quickly into the track, a very nice and pleasant piece of music. Learning To Live closes off the album, the longest track on the album it once again opens with a Kevin Moore piano introduction, soft vocals comes in following the bands immense introduction, a fairly dramatic track vocally the music itself has a dark tone to it and there is references to The City which could loosely connect this to Metropolis, the track speaks about learning how to just be yourself which really is a message which more people need to hear, although it also pertains to the Aids Crisis of the 80s and 90s. James delivers a killer high note midway through the lengthened instrumental section of the track, there are some somewhat disjointed segments in the track but as a whole it really is a great track

Pull me Under - 10/10
Another Day - 10/10
Take The Time - 9/10
Surrounded - 9/10
Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper - 10/10
Under A Glass Moon - 9.5/10
Wait For Sleep - 9/10
Learning To Live - 9.5/10

Overall 95%

The final album will either come tonight or tomorrow.
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
365/365

Celebration Day – Led Zeppelin
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts: 2007. 27 years since the band last played a full concert, Led Zeppelin reunites for what was supposed to have been a 30 minute show before it eventually became this two hour selection of music. 2 Live debuts, no needless over extensions and the only drummer who could fill the shoes of Bonzo. An incredible setlist which leaves some to be desired but that is because this is Zeppelin afterall – 10/10

The song that opens the band’s first album kicks off their final concert, Good Times Bad Times. A perfect warm up track, Plant’s aged vocals sounding smooth and strong throughout, Jason pounds down on the drums delivering the notes perfectly. Jimmy delivers an excentric solo and finally John Paul Jones holds down the bass staying out of the spotlight. Ramble On gets its first full performance ever which is crazy considering how popular the track is, the band heads to Mordor with their great mix of pulled back more stripped back approach before launching into the upbeat and explosive chorus, brilliant music from the late 60s. Plant demonstrates how well his vocal chords can still wail despite years of shifting away from the “Rock God” persona. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in 2018, he can still wail like the best of them. It is so surreal to have this recording; a band that no one thought would reunite finally does and performs so perfectly. Black Dog comes in roaring and powerful, the classic introduction is absolutely nailed and the Page’s guitar tone is beautiful, I find the studio version of the track to be very overrated however this live version absolutely slays. Full of groove, heavy and powerful a work of art. The call and answer between Plant and Page is amazing and so are the calls between Plant and the audience, perfection. The first lengthier track to be played is In My Time Of Dying. The track is dark and moody with some stellar vocals from Plant, when the track increases in tempo it becomes a rather strong mid-paced rocker with some really stellar performances from the rest of the band. The prowess of Zeppelin on their instruments and their writing back in the day is incredible and their recreation of it stands up incredibly well. For Your Life from the bands Presence album comes up next, a live debut from the band completely having never been played in any capacity live. Imagine if it had been a completely new song the crowd would have gone ballistic at the possibility of new music from the band. A mid-paced track, it isn’t my favourite Zeppelin track but it is well performed, Page is the star of the track his tone throughout is immense the sounds he makes with his sole guitar are amazing. Trampled Underfoot comes next, John Paul Jones’ classic introductory piano work is super catchy and upbeat, a track originally from the bands mighty double album Physical Graffiti, the track has a more up tempo and fun feel to it throughout, the brilliance of John Paul Jones’ never ceases to amaze me the man is playing bass with his feet and keyboards with his hands, like how talented does one have to be to make such amazing music live with both those instruments in such an effortless way. Nobody’s Fault But Mine from Presence comes up next, Robert has been on fire throughout the show, his vocals have been rather strong and he hit the high notes where needed in what sounds effortlessly. Jason has also been doing really well filling his father’s shoes in an honourable way. Disc One closes with No Quarter my favourite Zeppelin track, this version to me is the best of any I have heard bar none. This rendition is what made me fully understand the beauty of the piano filled epic, Plant’s distant singing warns of the coming invasion which will take no prisoners. Page and Bonham deliver some stellar drum and guitar work throughout and the band for these 12 minutes do not exist as men instead as messengers of beauty pain and are brilliant in their roles, a few extensions for solos here but unlike other renditions the song doesn’t nearly triple in length instead staying just below double, masterful and tasteful the truest performance to show the whole band in their element.

Disc two opens up with Since I've Been Loving You from Zeppelin's third untitled album, the bands early bluesy masterpiece opens with a bit of an extended introduction from Page. Plant comes in singing very fittingly of the track. Furious drumming from Jason compliments the track incredibly well, although the track is performed with incredible devotion to the original it lacks some of the emotion felt from the original making it not quite as powerful as it really should be. Still done incredibly well but not quite on par with the previous masterful tracks like No Quarter. However Plant's scream is absolutely amazing. Dazed And Confused comes up next extended with a violin bow guitar solo from Page. An interesting extension piece for the guitar and pretty well delivered. Plant returns to add some moaning vocals over the solo and Jimmy shreds away behind him before the track transitions back into the proper version. Stairway To Heaven continues on the literal Zeppelin greatest hits marathon, the classic introduction receives a large crowd yell of excitement, phenomenal guitar tone from Page. Plant sings the song he hates so much in a wonderful soft manner and he really does the song the justice it deserves. A beautiful delivery that would have any audience in the palm of his hands. The Song Remains The Same kicks into action the band delivers the track quite well but they are starting to show signs of fatigue at this point. Well delivered just not amazing. Page does deliver some unreal guitar work here. Misty Mountain Hop is up next, the track sounds stronger than the previous rocker, much more keyboard based here and the keyboards work incredibly well throughout, really adding a lot of groove into the track. Robert sounds very much in-tune with the track and delivers vocals with enough emphasis and effects to really live up to the original. Kashmir closes out the main set, an absolutely amazing rendition a chilling introduction leads into the monstrous epic from Physical Graffiti. This track is another prime example of the band coming together as four individuals as pure masters of their crafts, each cog clicks perfectly and the concert would close off on a truly epic note. This and No Quarter are the standout performances of this album absolutely perfect delivery of both tracks, essential Zeppelin tracks which had to be included done to the highest level of mastery. Whole Lotta Love is played as the first of two encores done by the band, a classic that couldn't be left off, this track always surprises me by the first half of the studio track being the clear best part and the last half being a bit disjointed but the band pulls it together quite well live having been used for medleys of their other tracks which they didn't get a chance to play throughout the show, taking bits of Pages usual Dazed And Confused extensions the band skips the medley portion and just sticks to a classic solo style. It would have been cool to have a Medley but this works out just fine. Well performed and would have been a fitting end if not for Rock And Roll being the true closer of the night as the band returns for their second encore. The straightforward rocker from IV closes out the final Zeppelin show at the time of this review and probably ever. A solid rocker that is well delivered by the band closing out the night on a high note and ending their show with the audience clearly wanting more, why they didn't go out on tour after this show one can only guess as to what would have happened if they had. Amazing to think that I've seen 2/4 of these men perform Led Zeppelin tracks live and both of them did an incredible job.

Good Times Bad Times – 9/10
Ramble On – 9/10
Black Dog – 10/10
In My Time Of Dying – 10/10
For Your Life – 9/10
Trampled Under Foot – 9/10
Nobody’s Fault But Mine – 10/10
No Quarter – 10/10

Since I’ve Been Loving You - 9/10
Dazed And Confused - 8.5/10
Stairway To Heaven - 10/10
The Song Remains The Same - 8.5/10
Misty Mountain Hop - 9/10
Kashmir - 10/10
Whole Lotta Love - 9/10
Rock And Roll - 10/10

Flow - Short extensions and amazing song selection - 10/10

Final Thoughts - A concert that we didn't think would happen immortalized, it isn't perfect but it is Led Zeppelin - 10/10

Overall 95%

And with that I have gone through 365 albums in a year. I intend on doing some relistens and some more albums that I didn't get a chance to get to (like all of Dream Theater's albums)
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
365/365

Celebration Day – Led Zeppelin
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts: 2007. 27 years since the band last played a full concert, Led Zeppelin reunites for what was supposed to have been a 30 minute show before it eventually became this two hour selection of music. 2 Live debuts, no needless over extensions and the only drummer who could fill the shoes of Bonzo. An incredible setlist which leaves some to be desired but that is because this is Zeppelin afterall – 10/10

The song that opens the band’s first album kicks off their final concert, Good Times Bad Times. A perfect warm up track, Plant’s aged vocals sounding smooth and strong throughout, Jason pounds down on the drums delivering the notes perfectly. Jimmy delivers an excentric solo and finally John Paul Jones holds down the bass staying out of the spotlight. Ramble On gets its first full performance ever which is crazy considering how popular the track is, the band heads to Mordor with their great mix of pulled back more stripped back approach before launching into the upbeat and explosive chorus, brilliant music from the late 60s. Plant demonstrates how well his vocal chords can still wail despite years of shifting away from the “Rock God” persona. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in 2018, he can still wail like the best of them. It is so surreal to have this recording; a band that no one thought would reunite finally does and performs so perfectly. Black Dog comes in roaring and powerful, the classic introduction is absolutely nailed and the Page’s guitar tone is beautiful, I find the studio version of the track to be very overrated however this live version absolutely slays. Full of groove, heavy and powerful a work of art. The call and answer between Plant and Page is amazing and so are the calls between Plant and the audience, perfection. The first lengthier track to be played is In My Time Of Dying. The track is dark and moody with some stellar vocals from Plant, when the track increases in tempo it becomes a rather strong mid-paced rocker with some really stellar performances from the rest of the band. The prowess of Zeppelin on their instruments and their writing back in the day is incredible and their recreation of it stands up incredibly well. For Your Life from the bands Presence album comes up next, a live debut from the band completely having never been played in any capacity live. Imagine if it had been a completely new song the crowd would have gone ballistic at the possibility of new music from the band. A mid-paced track, it isn’t my favourite Zeppelin track but it is well performed, Page is the star of the track his tone throughout is immense the sounds he makes with his sole guitar are amazing. Trampled Underfoot comes next, John Paul Jones’ classic introductory piano work is super catchy and upbeat, a track originally from the bands mighty double album Physical Graffiti, the track has a more up tempo and fun feel to it throughout, the brilliance of John Paul Jones’ never ceases to amaze me the man is playing bass with his feet and keyboards with his hands, like how talented does one have to be to make such amazing music live with both those instruments in such an effortless way. Nobody’s Fault But Mine from Presence comes up next, Robert has been on fire throughout the show, his vocals have been rather strong and he hit the high notes where needed in what sounds effortlessly. Jason has also been doing really well filling his father’s shoes in an honourable way. Disc One closes with No Quarter my favourite Zeppelin track, this version to me is the best of any I have heard bar none. This rendition is what made me fully understand the beauty of the piano filled epic, Plant’s distant singing warns of the coming invasion which will take no prisoners. Page and Bonham deliver some stellar drum and guitar work throughout and the band for these 12 minutes do not exist as men instead as messengers of beauty pain and are brilliant in their roles, a few extensions for solos here but unlike other renditions the song doesn’t nearly triple in length instead staying just below double, masterful and tasteful the truest performance to show the whole band in their element.

Disc two opens up with Since I've Been Loving You from Zeppelin's third untitled album, the bands early bluesy masterpiece opens with a bit of an extended introduction from Page. Plant comes in singing very fittingly of the track. Furious drumming from Jason compliments the track incredibly well, although the track is performed with incredible devotion to the original it lacks some of the emotion felt from the original making it not quite as powerful as it really should be. Still done incredibly well but not quite on par with the previous masterful tracks like No Quarter. However Plant's scream is absolutely amazing. Dazed And Confused comes up next extended with a violin bow guitar solo from Page. An interesting extension piece for the guitar and pretty well delivered. Plant returns to add some moaning vocals over the solo and Jimmy shreds away behind him before the track transitions back into the proper version. Stairway To Heaven continues on the literal Zeppelin greatest hits marathon, the classic introduction receives a large crowd yell of excitement, phenomenal guitar tone from Page. Plant sings the song he hates so much in a wonderful soft manner and he really does the song the justice it deserves. A beautiful delivery that would have any audience in the palm of his hands. The Song Remains The Same kicks into action the band delivers the track quite well but they are starting to show signs of fatigue at this point. Well delivered just not amazing. Page does deliver some unreal guitar work here. Misty Mountain Hop is up next, the track sounds stronger than the previous rocker, much more keyboard based here and the keyboards work incredibly well throughout, really adding a lot of groove into the track. Robert sounds very much in-tune with the track and delivers vocals with enough emphasis and effects to really live up to the original. Kashmir closes out the main set, an absolutely amazing rendition a chilling introduction leads into the monstrous epic from Physical Graffiti. This track is another prime example of the band coming together as four individuals as pure masters of their crafts, each cog clicks perfectly and the concert would close off on a truly epic note. This and No Quarter are the standout performances of this album absolutely perfect delivery of both tracks, essential Zeppelin tracks which had to be included done to the highest level of mastery. Whole Lotta Love is played as the first of two encores done by the band, a classic that couldn't be left off, this track always surprises me by the first half of the studio track being the clear best part and the last half being a bit disjointed but the band pulls it together quite well live having been used for medleys of their other tracks which they didn't get a chance to play throughout the show, taking bits of Pages usual Dazed And Confused extensions the band skips the medley portion and just sticks to a classic solo style. It would have been cool to have a Medley but this works out just fine. Well performed and would have been a fitting end if not for Rock And Roll being the true closer of the night as the band returns for their second encore. The straightforward rocker from IV closes out the final Zeppelin show at the time of this review and probably ever. A solid rocker that is well delivered by the band closing out the night on a high note and ending their show with the audience clearly wanting more, why they didn't go out on tour after this show one can only guess as to what would have happened if they had. Amazing to think that I've seen 2/4 of these men perform Led Zeppelin tracks live and both of them did an incredible job.

Good Times Bad Times – 9/10
Ramble On – 9/10
Black Dog – 10/10
In My Time Of Dying – 10/10
For Your Life – 9/10
Trampled Under Foot – 9/10
Nobody’s Fault But Mine – 10/10
No Quarter – 10/10

Since I’ve Been Loving You - 9/10
Dazed And Confused - 8.5/10
Stairway To Heaven - 10/10
The Song Remains The Same - 8.5/10
Misty Mountain Hop - 9/10
Kashmir - 10/10
Whole Lotta Love - 9/10
Rock And Roll - 10/10

Flow - Short extensions and amazing song selection - 10/10

Final Thoughts - A concert that we didn't think would happen immortalized, it isn't perfect but it is Led Zeppelin - 10/10

Overall 95%

And with that I have gone through 365 albums in a year. I intend on doing some relistens and some more albums that I didn't get a chance to get to (like all of Dream Theater's albums)
Congratulations!!! I hope you enjoyed listening all these albums and I appreciate all your honest reviews. Hope you follow for the next year discovering new music. Happy new year!!!
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
And with that I have gone through 365 albums in a year. I intend on doing some relistens and some more albums that I didn't get a chance to get to (like all of Dream Theater's albums)
Huzzah! Well done! I have read many of the reviews, and a few of them I think you're insane, a few I have listened to the albums! Way to do it!
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Very glad that you finished the madness that I started and failed to complete myself!

With that completed, would people be interested in a rebranding of this thread to “random album reviews” or something like that, so as to open the door for more discovery and discussion of albums?
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
You did it!! :applause::nana::clap:

Now it's time to rank all 365 in order from best to worst in one super-epic list... :innocent:

But in all seriousness, maybe you could just list the top 10 albums you listened to this year, or something? That'd be pretty neat.

I'm trying to figure out how to do that actually since the top 10. Is essentially the albums I thought would be there plus about 3 I discovered. But I do happen to have a full list of all 365 since I tracked this all in an excel spreadsheet. :)

Huzzah! Well done! I have read many of the reviews, and a few of them I think you're insane, a few I have listened to the albums! Way to do it!

Yea, any in particular? Since I do intend on revisiting some albums anyways...

Congratulations!!! I hope you enjoyed listening all these albums and I appreciate all your honest reviews. Hope you follow for the next year discovering new music. Happy new year!!!

Thank you! I likely won't do a full 365 since It ended up taking a long time... which I do know exactly how long it was..
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
The Dissidents Top 31 Albums
Throughout the past year as you all know I have listened to 365 albums in the past year, some were Live, and some were EP. For this list I will not be including Live albums in this list those will have a separate list. I opted to choose the top 31 since 1 album is technically on the list twice. And there are two EP's included. Also I started converting to Stars about halfway through but didn't post them which is part of why I didn't give any scores lower than 5. So in actuality the following would be true despite being mathematically wrong:
10/10 = 5/5
9/10 = 4/5
8/10 = 3/5
7/10 = 2/5
6/10 = 1/5

31. Master Of Puppets - Metallica - 91%
4.5 Stars

Metallica has never been a band that I enjoyed albums for, I knew I had to complete this record having only really listened to the title track and Sanitarium. Listening to the album I was truly immersed with the prowess of the band throughout and I genuinely enjoyed the album much more than any other Metallica album although Ride The Lightning's tracks have grown on me quite a bit since my listen to it early on. Standout tracks were: Battery, Master Of Puppets, Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Disposable Heroes. Still not entirely my favourite side of metal but definitely one I am thankful for checking out.

30. Second Skin - The Mayfield Four - 91%
4.5 Stars


The first showing of many from Myles Kennedy on this list, another more surprising piece of work in some ways but in other it isn't. A more raw sounding approach from the more well known modern day rocker Second Skin is the final album from this band featuring an amazing hard rock opener in Sick & Wrong in conjunction with some amazing ballads like White Flag and Carry On. Every track sounds strong and fresh while almost building onto themes from the previous like a concept record while not. Mars Hotel is another stronger track which has grown on me tremendously. Standout tracks: Sick & Wrong, Eden (Turn The Page), White Flag and Carry On.

29. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin - 91%
4.5 Stars


Led Zeppelin I in my eyes is the birthplace of some metal tendencies with Sabbath really perfecting it later on, a brilliant first side featuring 3 of Zeppelin's best tracks and a rather strong second side as well. The band hits hard and fast on tracks like Communication Breakdown, perform dark and moody masterpieces such as Dazed And Confused and sentimental ballads with the mighty Babe I'm Gonna Leave You demonstrating incredible diversity this new band merging Blues and Hard Rock to make one masterful debut. Standout Tracks: Good Times Bad Times, Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, Dazed And Confused, and Communication Breakdown

28. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son - Iron Maiden - 91%
4.5 Stars


The album that started it all, I reviewed this Iron Maiden classic album first because it was one of the two classic era albums that I truly didn't understand (the other being Piece Of Mind). I relistened to the album after several months and it finally clicked, the amazing guitar tone, more accessible musical style while not compromising the bands signature sound and building naturally off of their previous masterpiece resulted in a semi-concept record full of amazing tracks which would become concert staples like The Evil That Men Do. Moonchild serves as a slow building opener which eventually becomes an absolute roaring rocker. And Maiden even demonstrates their softer side with Infinite Dreams. One would be a fool to not mention the mighty title track a sprawling two part epic which opens the second side of the record. Standout Tracks: Moonchild, Infinite Dreams, The Evil That Men Do, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.

27. The Book Of Souls - Iron Maiden - 91%
4.5 Stars


Iron Maiden's sole double album comes in the 27th slot, Bruce fighting cancer while the band write another masterpiece album, I remember the first time I heard Empire Of The Clouds I hated it, the track was long and boring who would ever want to listen to an 18 minute song anyways... clearly I was a fool. Finally I go around to listening to the album on vinyl properly while doing my reviews and one thing stuck out to me, the band sounds so strong throughout, it doesn't feel like a studio album in a way the production sounds very much like you're at a show which really pulled me into the album. If Eternity Should Fail is one of Maiden's strongest opening tracks a brutal rocker which would be an excellent concept record track... come on Bruce. The album features 3 brilliant epic tracks showing that Maiden still write amazing epics and strong shorter tracks. Standout Tracks: If Eternity Should Fail, The Red And The Black, The Book Of Souls, Empire Of The Clouds.


The next 5 will come later.​
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
26. AB III - Alter Bridge - 91%
4.5 Stars

I should preface that this album, The Book Of Souls and the next are actually in a 3 way tie and I chose the order based on which album has the songs I listen to the most. Regardless all 3 albums are amazing. AB III the is one of the more polarizing albums in the Alter Bridge catalog featuring some darker tones throughout the album than the other albums. From the haunting introduction to Slip To The Void to the closing high notes from Words Darker Than Their Wings this album is brilliant. A bookended album to me, as the middle is a little weaker than the opening salvo and the closing set. Haunting ballads like Wonderful Life play perfectly among rockers like Isolation and the ever catchy Ghosts Of Days Gone By. Standout Tracks: Slip To The Void, Isolation, Ghosts Of Days Gone By, Couer D'Alene and Words Darker Than Their Wings

25. Fortress - Alter Bridge - 91%
4.5 Stars


"No let us calm the fire that burns within our hearts tonight"

The follow up to the previous record, Fortress continues on the darker trends started in the previous however not quite to the same degree. The overarching theme that eventually everything goes away is very apparent throughout the record. This is the first album in which Mark Tremonti takes lead vocals for essentially the whole song in Water Rising having done a duet with Myles in Words Darker Than Their Wings. Opening the album with on of the albums epics in Cry Of Achilles the band waste no time delivering a massive guitar assault on their listeners with powerful chorus' and great lyrics. The title track is a massive rocker which I have grown to appreciate much more since my review, and I believe if I did a relisten this album would end up several spots closer to the #1 spot than it does now. Standout tracks: Water Rising, Addicted To Pain and Calm The Fire

24. Walk The Sky - Alter Bridge - 91%
4.5 Stars

"If I died tonight, would the question still remain? Did I live for what was right? Did I live this life in vain?"

Alter Bridge's
latest album comes up next, and wow have my thoughts changed on it from the review. Looking back at the album I will say it like Fortress has grown on me since my last listen. One Life opens up the album nicely before transitioning into lead single Wouldn't You Rather. The band takes a lighter approach to the album as a whole but has plenty of highlights throughout. Mark sings lead on Forever Falling a track which has really grown on me. The back end of this album is quite strong featuring powerful rockers like Clear Horizon and the epic feeling title track Walking On The Sky. Standouts from my initial listen were: The Bitter End, Pay No Mind and Dying Light

23. Appetite For Destruction - Guns N Roses - 92%
4.5 Stars

"No one needs the sorrow, no one needs the pain, I'd hate to see you out in the rain"

Guns N' Roses
debut album the mighty Appetite For Destruction comes in at number 23, honestly this album is so close to being a perfect album it isn't even funny. Dropping the waste of space Anything Goes for the left off Shadow Of Your Love would have done wonders for this album, maybe including the acoustic rendition of You're Crazy would have helped as well. Regardless the album opens up with a brilliant opener that takes no prisioners and the album doesn't slow from its raw rock assault for the entirety of side 1, side 2 kicks off hard as well and has some more sentimental moments before ultimately closing out with some of Axl's best vocals and lyrics in the coda to Rocket Queen. An album that receives accolades and so much attention but honestly it deserves most of the praise it gets. It is one of my all time favourite records and quite frankly stands up to most the albums in the top 5 of this list. Standout Tracks: It's So Easy, Out Ta Get Me, Think About You, Sweet Child O' Mine and Rocket Queen.

22. Temple Of The Dog - Temple Of The Dog
4.5 Stars


"I don't mind stealing bread, from the mouths of decadence"

Another surprise album comes in at number 22, a tribute to a musician who had passed away this album is full of raw emotions from Chris Cornell singing his heart out, Eddie Vedder guests on some tracks and the band which has now become the current lineup of Pearl Jam delivers a phenomenal performance. Say Hello 2 Heaven opens up the album and set the tone which doesn't stop throughout the entire album. The monstrous Reach Down follows the opener and really gets the meat of the record going. And finally Hunger Strike the simplistic duet between Chris and Eddie the track does amazing work and is so powerful throughout. Standout Tracks: Say Hello 2 Heaven, Hunger Strike and Times Of Trouble

21. The Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden - 92%
4.5 Stars

"I left alone, my mind was blank, I needed time to think, to get the memories from my mind."

Bruce Dickinson's
debut is another of the highly recognized albums on this list. A bit of a rough start with Invaders leads into a rather strong first side of the album which in itself would have made for a good album hosting tracks like The Prisoner. However the magic begins on side 2, The Title Track comes in with the classic spoken introduction and then that scream. Followed up with another massive hit in Run To The Hills and a minor misstep the album closes out with one of the bands greatest track Hallowed Be Thy Name. The mighty album closer is haunting but beautiful, Adrian and Dave deliver an impeccable solo section and then Bruce closes it all out with that cry ending the album swiftly as it started. Standout Tracks: Children of The Damned, The Prisoner, The Number Of The Beast, Run To The Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
20. ReIdolized: The Soundtrack Of The Crimson Idol - W.A.S.P. - 92%
4.5 Stars

"
Is there a love to shelter me? Only love, love set me free"

W.A.S.P.
revisits their masterpiece album The Crimson Idol in 2017, adding a few new tracks to the record and rerecording it in its entirety, the added portions actually help further the story adding more depth some censoring here and there, looking at you Chainsaw Charlie.... but as a whole the album works really well. Portions of introductions were also shifted around for example Arena Of Pleasure gets a nice acoustic introduction which I prefer being added but it also closes with the original introduction to Chainsaw Charlie. The Idol also gets some introduction changes but the track remains as emotional and dark as ever before. Standout Tracks which weren't on the original album: Arena Of Pleasure and Miss You

19. Let There Be Rock - AC/DC - 92%
4.5 Stars


Oh let there be rock!

AC/DC
's fourth album takes the 19th slot on this list, the best sounding AC/DC record and jam packed with hard rocking tracks , side 1 is a strong rocking side featuring tracks like Go Down and the massive Title Track and then the listener switches sides... Side 2 is an absolute monster, opening up with Problem Child which was on the previous and fairly forgettable album, before launching into the slow and heavy Overdose then laying into Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be before ultimately closing off with everyone's favourite plus sized woman in Whole Lotta Rosie. The album is raw, rough and unapologetic throughout easily the best album in the bands catalog with only Highway To Hell and Back In Black coming anywhere close to the quality of the tracks presented here. Standouts: Let There Be Rock, Overdose, Problem Child, Whole Lotta Rosie

18. The Crimson Idol - W.A.S.P. - 92%
4.5 Stars


"Welcome to the show, the great finales finally here"

A masterpiece, a dark sad masterpiece. The Crimson Idol hit me like a brick at this time the only WASP album I had heard was The Headless Children and that amazed me, this was the hand that pulled me into the abyss. Dark themes spread throughout the album, of a runaway boy who becomes a rock star only to become trapped by the world he oh so wanted to be a part of; causing him to be isolated then eventually take his life on stage in front of a crowd. Roaring screams and brutal outright rocking mixed in within some amazing ballads. The tracks are fairly diverse while still telling one singular story. Standout Tracks: Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue), The Idol and The Great Misconceptions Of Me.

17. Clockwork Angels - Rush - 92%
4.5 Stars


"The measure of a life, is a measure of love and respect, so hard to earn so easily burned..."

I didn't like Rush when I started this journey, I found Geddy's voice super irritating and didn't listen to much other than Tom Sawyer in the rare cases where I could tolerate his vocals. Those days are gone... Clockwork Angels is one of the greatest final albums a band has released, incredible quality is shown from the opening Caravan straight through till the emotional closer of The Garden. Full of smaller more epic sounding tracks, twists and turns the album is a true masterpiece, incredibly consistent and dare I say perfect in many cases. Standout tracks: Headlong Flight and The Garden.

16. Meanwhile In Burbank - Stone Sour - 92%
4.5 Stars


"So you children of the world, answer what I say"
Stone Sour
making this list surprises me quite a bit considering I rarely will listen to their studio recordings, but their covers... clearly the band shows great taste in these cover tracks choosing 5 excellent fairly well known tracks to do justice to. Creeping Death is monstrous, Love Gun has all the flare that Kiss performs it with and Children Of The Grave comes in hard and heavy. Standout Tracks: Love Gun, Creeping Death and Children Of The Grave.

15. Blackbird - Alter Bridge - 93%
5 Stars


"Blackbird fly away, may you never, be broken, again"

Alter Bridge's
second album shows the band fully coming into their own. Opening hard and fast with a strong one two punch before getting into some more midpaced tracks, the first 8 tracks alone would have been a killer album, but the band continues on giving us other concert staples and emotional ballads. Myles delivers an incredibly high note at the end of Blackbird which normally would be an undisputed highlight of an album but the godly solos from him and Mark in the same track are worth rivals of the album highlight spot. Rise Today is a wonderful uptempo track which has a very uplifitng message throughout. Brand New Start and Buried Alive are great tracks which get overlooked due to the sheer quality of tracks around them. Standout tracks: Ties That Bind, Come To Life, Before Tomorrow Comes, Blackbird and Watch Over You

14. Houses Of The Holy - Led Zeppelin - 93%
5 Stars


"Close the door put out the light, know they won't be home tonight"

Another bookended album, the first three tracks start hard and fast with The Song Remains The Same before the bands beautiful ballad The Rain Song comes in showing that this won't be your typical rocking album from the band instead it is a work of art. Over The Hills And Far Away begins the slight decline into the middle of the album before eventually the bands greatest song comes up as the second to last on side two. No Quarter... an incredible piano based piece distortion of Plant throughout the track makes an incredibly haunting epic which is a trip in itself. The Ocean closes off the album a more typical hard rocking track than the others on the album it has a good energy to it and with it closes off Zeppelin's most eclectic album in high quality. Standout Tracks: The Song Remains The Same; The Rain Song and No Quarter


13. Powerslave - Iron Maiden - 93%
5 Stars


"Live to fly, fly to live, aces high"

My first Maiden album
I bought it after listening to a copy of Live After Death solely because Itunes doesn't allow people to buy any tracks over 13 minutes in length as such I found Powerslave. Aces High kicks off the album with fury easily the best opener in Maiden's catalog and probably the strongest one of any on this list. 2 Minutes To Midnight while I never have to hear the studio version again it is catchy as all hell. The midsection of this album is a little bloated but it has some high quality tracks on it and they are just overshadowed by the fact that Maiden caught lightning in a bottle roughly 3 times on this album. Powerslave's title track is monstrous and epic and the closer in Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is one of the few tracks that could follow the title track up and do well. Amazing. Pure and godly. Standout Tracks: Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Powerslave and Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.

12. Queensryche EP - Queensryche - 93%
5 Stars


"In the dead of night she'll come and take you away"

Like the Stone Sour EP I feel like this is somewhat cheap since there is only 4 tracks on this, that being said, there is 3 masterpiece and 1 strong track which makes it much more okay with me to have them be added here. Queen Of The Reich is a high notes galore track with relentless rocking throughout. Nightrider does the same and Blinded is a pretty good rocker. The sentimental ballad which closes the ep is the mighty The Lady Wore Black which is absolutely amazing and mesmorizing. Standout tracks: Queen Of The Reich and The Lady Wore Black.

11. Rising - Rainbow - 93%
5 Stars


"No sound as he falls instead of rising, time standing still then there's blood on the sand"

Rising
falls just short of the top 10, 6 tracks, and an absolutely killer lineup. Tarrot Woman kicks off the poppier side 1 with some amazing keyboard and guitar combinations while Ronnie James Dio sings his heart out over the track a short masterpiece which is followed up by 3 direct rockers while while they are fun tracks pale in comparrision to side 2. Stargazer opens side two, the greatest track Blackmore ever recorded in my eyes this track is a masterpiece, complete and true throughout the track tells the story of a wizard trying to reach the stars, medieval throughout it is a crowd favourite which somehow escaped basically all the bands live albums. A Light In The Black continues the story being a quicker tempo and while not quite on par with its previous track is a worth follow up. Standout tracks: Tarrot Woman, Stargazer and A Light In The Black
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
10. Somewhere In Time - Iron Maiden - 93%
5 Stars

"If you had the time to lose an open mind and time to choose, would you care to take a look or can you read me like a book?"

Somewhere In Time
opens up the top 10, littered with amazing guitar tones this album is easily the Maiden album I reach for the most. The guitar tone itself is easily the best of all Maiden albums, Caught Somewhere In Time opens up the album in style with a very 80s sounding introduction leads into a rather aggressive riff from the gang which takes no prisoners. Wasted Years is the only track in Maiden's catalog which can challenge Hallowed Be Thy Name for supremacy in terms of their greatest track. Infectious energy throughout those first two tracks segues into the rest of the first side. Stranger In A Strange Land features a commanding chorus and amazing guitar solo, and even the lower quality Deja Vu is a pretty solid track. Standout tracks: Caught Somewhere In Time, Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land

9. Blackout - Scorpions - 94%
5 Stars

"Get your ass to heaven with rock and roll tonight, we'll make this night a special one and make you feel alright"

Scorpions
my gateway into heavy metal music fill the number 9 slot on this list, Blackout is a roaring rock album filled with commercial rockers it is the point where the band has truly perfected the formula for writing a cohesive rock album for commercial success. To think the album almost didn't occur in this capacity because Klaus had to undergo emergency vocal chord surgery changing his voice forever away from those screeches of the 70s. Blackout opens up with the title track which sets the tone as the fastest Scorpions opening track to date, the first side has plenty of poppier style tracks including Can't Live Without You and No One Like You before it closes off with the short and blunt rocker Now! Side two has some true magic. Dynamite is one of the bands strongest tracks they recorded and it shreds constantly. China White is the final of the old style epics that the band used to throw in here and there and the album closes off with a sentimental ballad in When The Smoke Is Going Down. Phenomenal playing by all involved it is a super accessible album which really should have gotten more focus than its follow up despite the followup having the bands best track in Still Loving You. Standout tracks: Blackout, No One Like You, Dynamite, China White, When The Smoke Is Going Down.

8. A Matter Of Life And Death - Iron Maiden - 94%
5 Stars


"Are you a man of peace or a man of holy war? Too many sides to you don't know which anymore"

Iron Maiden's A Matter Of Life And Death
is an interesting album, it is an excellent sum of its parts, the album is long and has plenty of epics throughout and the band had faith in it playing the album start to finish on their album tour. One of Maiden's darkest albums the entirety of it pertains to war and religion which as Bruce said aren't always so far apart. Brutal solos are found throughout this dark album and some of the bands most brilliant reunion tracks are found here from the odd opener of Different World to the closing The Legacy the album has something to offer for all Maiden fans although I would say holding off before introducing might be better or you could be like me and find this album very early on and love it from the start. Standout Tracks: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, The Longest Day, The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, For The Greater Good Of God and The Lord Of Light.

7. Heaven And Hell - Black Sabbath - 94%
5 Stars

"Oh they say that it's over, and it just had to be, oh they say that it's over, poor lost children of the sea!"

This album should have been the start of a new band, I think it would have had a greater public knowledge as a result. That aside Heaven and Hell is the strongest Black Sabbath album ever recorded. A brilliant way to replace Ozzy is with someone who is completely different in nearly every way. Ronnie shocks life into Sabbath and comes forth with the masterpiece of his career as a result. Neon Nights a roaring rocker kicks off the album and introduces the 1980s to Black Sabbath before transitioning into the majestic Children Of The Sea. Lady Evil keeps the fun going before the band lay into the epic Title Track closing out the first side. Side 2 has two weaker tracks on it but still along with those tracks comes the brutal Die Young and Lonely is the Word. Tony Iommi lays down some brutal heavy riffs throughout the track and the band do amazing work start to finish. Standout tracks: Neon Nights, Children Of The Sea, Heaven And Hell, Die Young.

6. Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche - 94%
5 Stars


"And turn my head and stare into the eyes of a stranger! I've always known that the mirror never lies!"

Queensryche
delivers their masterpiece 4th album in the late 80s which is promptly placed in the number 6 slot on this list. A concept record dealing with drug use, murder, false imprisonment and brainwashing all culminating in an incredible 7 minute epic to tie it all together in one small package. Yea its good. I Remember Now opens up the story in a mental hospital before the flashbacks begin telling the story of our protagonist getting wrapped up with the infamous Dr. X. plenty of great track are littered throughout the album but it really is an excellent sum of its parts. Amazing high notes and great harmonies from guitars create a world of shifting darkness before the album ends the same way it began in I Remember Now. Standout Tracks: Listen to it all.

5. Images And Words - Dream Theater - 95%
5 Stars


"This world is spinning around me, spinning without me. Every day sends future to past, every breath leaves me one less to my last"

Images And Words
could be swapped with number 4 but because I've had more time with #4 I will place this one here. A very recent discovery was my actual enjoyment of Dream Theater but more on that later. Opening with Pull Me Under the bands second album really gets things going from the start a longer track which really pulls the listener in and displays every member of Dream Theater in an excellent way. It really is a great opener although I will say the abrupt ending is very odd while effective. Another Day is a wrenching ballad with killer high notes every track on this album is super strong and I can see this album going higher with time and some repeated listens. Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper is another masterpiece track which would span a sequel album which in itself is a masterpiece. Standout tracks: Pull Me Under, Another Day, Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper

4. Bat Out Of Hell - Meatloaf - 95%
5 Stars

"And I never saw the sudden turn till its way too late!!!"

Meat Loaf
was the first massive surprise find in this journey and this album has faltered in some spots and really grown in others. A dramatic album with some excellent musicianship the Title Track is 10 minutes of perfection a roaring motor bike and furious rocking it sets the stage for the album to be a masterpiece and it really is. Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad is a track which I loved at the time of listening but don't listen to it much anymore that being said I think it is excellent. Paradise By The Dashboard Light is an incredible piece of music which frankly I don't know I didn't give it a 10/10 easily the most listened to track on the album, so catchy and fun the first segment is amazing. For Crying Out Loud closes off the album a full blown dramatic ballad closing off the album in style. Standout tracks at the time of listening: Bat Out Of Hell, Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad, and For Crying Out Loud.

3. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory - 96%
5 Stars

"The City calls to me, decadent scenes from my memory, Victoria watches and thoughtfully smiles she's taking me to my home"

As mentioned previously I listened to Distance Over Time shortly after it came out, the day I bought that album I also acquired this, however due to the length and my less than loving experience with Distance Over Time this album stayed on my ipod unlistened from probably March until a few weeks ago when I said screw it. What a fool I had been. A masterful concept record which like Images And Words could have been swapped with the next spot on my list. Overture opens up the album setting the stage before the flashbacks begin, the first disc of the album is quite strong with Scenes 3, 4 and 5 all being perfect. Disc two is where shit gets real good. Home is a masterpiece start to finish if only a single song from this album had to exist it would be that track. The Spirit Carries On and Finally Free are also exceptional tracks which follow each other to close out the album. An amazing album. Standout tracks: Listen to it all.

2. In Trance - Scorpions - 96%
5 Stars

"
I wake up in the morning and the sun begins to shine, the day did sneak up on the night"

In Trance
is the greatest offering from the Uli Jon Roth era of the Scorpions gone are the progressive epics instead we have the first true signs of where the band would end up. An odd but effective opener in Dark Lady shows that Roth doesn't always suck at singing... who knew? A great rocker which set the stage for a very interesting album. In Trance follows up in suit one of the most odd Scorpions tracks, increidbly unique and atmospheric the song is as dark as the Scorpions get. Some great ballads are featured here like Evening Wind, and Life's Like A River. A closing instrumental is present as are some more fun rockers like Robot Man the only throwaway track is the second track sung by Roth known as Sun In My Hand honestly this album is essentially perfect with it and without it would be. Standout Tracks: Dark Lady, In Trance, Life's Like A River, Living And Dying, and Evening Wind

1. Lovedrive - Scorpions - 98%
5 Stars

"Heavy sounds to feel alright, and rock n roll for speed kings my love, I can't get enough!!!"

Lovedrive
is the closes thing to a perfect album I have heard. 7 perfect tracks, 1 minor misstep but really the band still did good on that misstep. Loving You Sunday Morning is not ones typical opening track but the band were making a statement, a midtempo rocker with a long introduction a super commercial chorus and a more accessible sound made it clear that this album was very different from the rest of the bands catalog at the time. Another Piece Of Meat is my favourite track from the album, a roaring rocker which could have opened the album more traditionally but instead it is the energy booster here, silly, catchy and oh so nasty. Always Somewhere is one of the classic Scorpions ballads, soft and powerful the song demonstrates a softer side to the Germans and is the first true commercial ballad of their career. Coast To Coast an brilliant instrumental closes off side 1. Side 2 opens with another roaring rocker in Can't Get Enough which then makes way for the misstep known as Is There Anybody There? Another classic track but not on par with the rest of the albums which came before it. I like the track it just doesn't fit here. Lovedrive and Holiday close out the album, two more massive tracks one a galloping rocker the other a weepy ballad. A perfect album, relatively short and to the point, it broke open the USA for the band and is one of my favourite albums of all time. Standout tracks: Loving You Sunday Morning, Another Piece Of Meat, Always Somewhere, Coast To Coast, Can't Get Enough, Lovedrive and Holiday
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
The Dissident's Top 10 Live Albums

10. En Vivo - Iron Maiden
09. World Wide Live - Scorpions
08. Live At Ritz - Guns N Roses
07. Celebration Day - Led Zeppelin
06. Live At O2 - Alter Bridge
05. Live At Royal Albert Hall - Alter Bridge
04. The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter - Iron Maiden
03. Flight 666 - Iron Maiden
02. Love At First Sting: Live At Madison Square Garden - Scorpions
01. Rock In Rio - Iron Maiden


Honestly no surprises here, I could have seen Tokyo Tapes making it onto this list if Maiden didn't dominate it completely. Of these Live Albums the ones I would deem as essential are World Wide Live, Rock In Rio, Live At Royal Albert Hall all are great records but those 3 are the ones which I reach for the most and all of the 10 albums here have amazing setlists and performances.

I will do a top 10 surprises from this adventure as well. Just need to narrow a couple down.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
The Dissident's Biggest Surprises
These surprises range from individual albums, to artists. They are numbered but are in no particular order.

1. Dream Theater
Early on into these reviews I did Distance Over Time and wasn't really hooked by the album but the day I had bought it I also had bought a copy of Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory. Worried I held off until I was nearing the end of the reviews when I made a list of albums I had to complete and I decided to give the progressive metal band another chance, I am so happy I did having listened to Scenes and absolutely loved it. I went online and bought a box set of the bands albums from Images And Words up until A Dramatic Turn Of Events. Of those I have only listened to Images And Words which continued upon the trend of holy shit this is awesome. My top three tracks at this point would have to be Home, Finally Free and Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper.

2. W.A.S.P.
I heard about WASP through Diesel's reviews and found their rendition of The Who's The Real Me as such I dug into them a little more and wow was I amazed. Their first three albums being totally sleezy 80s hard rock more along the lines of Guns N Roses than their hair metal contemporaries. The Headless Children was the album that got me really interested so I dug further finding the bands magnum opus the mighty Crimson Idol. While their other 90s albums are hard to come by so I skipped ahead to the 2000s where I got to experience Dying For The World, The Neon God and Golgotha all of which featured some amazing tracks throughout. I have really grown to listen to WASP quite frequently. The raw approach is amazing in conjunction with the dark themes and really well thought out concepts throughout their albums. The Great Misconceptions Of Me is easily their best song but they have so many catchy tracks. Both short and long.

3. Bat Out Of Hell [Album]
Since I'm not super blown away by the second album in this series I will mostly be refering to the first album although I'd Do Anything For Love is a piece of perfection which while so bloated is amazing and the song's coda is amazing. Bat Out Of Hell is a blazing opening track which perfectly combines rock with symphonics to form a magnificent title track to the album. Paradise By The Dashboard Light is catchy as all hell and those three distinct components are so well written and intertwined and the album closing out with For Crying Out Loud is perfection. I had heard I'd Do Anything For Love's single version with my grandparents probably about 8 years or so ago and I was bored out of my mind now I appreciate the beauty of it and wow is the album perfect even if it doesn't include that song. But it spawned a sequel which would feature it.

4. The Garden
Geddy Lee finally clicked for me, I find their 70s and early 80s albums quite consistent and effective each having definitive highlights and excellent musicianship, with Neil Peart being a brilliant writer and drummer and the sounds those 3 men could make with their instruments. However what absolutely blew me away was the brilliance of Clockwork Angels. A brilliant album start to finish not letting up throughout however the true gem within the album isn't the powerful title track or the heavy rockers like the opener Caravan. It was The Garden, it isn't as complex as 2112 or as direct as Tom Sawyer or Fly By Night instead the band takes the middle ground and puts so much emotion into a track which quite frankly must have forced Neil to dig deep while writing it. The Garden's chorus is incredible and so powerful throughout. A power ballad to close out a 40 year career and a brilliant tribute to their fans.

5. Judas Priest
I'm not sure if it was these reviews or seeing Priest live this year that did it for me, regardless they earn a spot here on the list, having a rocky start for me Priest began to come into their own with Sin After Sin. Halford's wails used to be annoying but now I appreciate his skyrocketing vocal style and his sheer power. The 80s albums full of their hits really clicked as well some incredible commercial tracks being present here. Unleashed In The East brought some appreciation to the earlier work especially Victim Of Changes which is easily the bands strongest track from the 70s and sits in my number 2 slot for the band. The 90s brought forth Painkiller which was a shredfest before splitting with Halford until the mid 2000s spawning 4 albums 2 of which I enjoyed quite a bit. However the track which gets the most play comes from the Defenders Of The Faith album. A track in which Halford's vocals are so pure and powerful, painting a story of death and destruction from The Sentinel.

Honourable Mentions
The Mayfield Four - Second Skin
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Myles Kennedy - Consistency of releases
 
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