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Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sorely underrated and unfairly bashed, 18 Mar 2005
This review is from: Flash Gordon (Audio CD)
Flash Gordon (1980.) Queen's ninth album.
Following the release of Queen's first album of the eighties, The Game, the group recorded something totally different - something that, unlike that album, would be forgotten by legions of fans - The soundtrack to the 1980 film Flash Gordon. Honestly, who better would there have been to record a synth-heavy rock soundtrack to the film version of the classic comic series? Read on for my review of this album.
As I stated above, this is, by far, Queen's most underrated album. This may be due in part to the fact that some fans overlook it because it's a film soundtrack and not a regular Queen album. The people who overlook this one really are fools. For the album, the band creates a synth-heavy rock work that is unlike anything else they had ever recorded before or would ever record in their future. Although the album is divided into several tracks, it is really easiest to think of the release as a single work - all of the songs fade right into one another. Over the music is dialogue and sound effects from the film, so in addition to getting a bad ass synth-heavy rock and roll score, you, in a sense, get an abbreviated version of the movie. Admittingly, I wish the band had released a music-only soundtrack, but that is NOT reason enough to bash this release the way some critics have been. In the end, it's one of the band's most overlooked releases, and a damn good one, too.
This album, like other Queen releases, got remastered and reissued, and the record company put on a remix bonus track. Like other remix bonus tracks, this one is nothing special. Also, this album seems to be MUCH harder to find than the band's other albums, probably due in no small part to it never getting the proper credit. It needs better distribution.
I've heard some good film soundtracks, but this one ranks among the finest. Queen beautifully demonstrates their musical diversity here. If you're a fan of Queen, the film Flash Gordon, or you just like eighties-style rock and roll with lots of synthesizers, pick this one up.


Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent box for an excellent band, 22 July 2004
Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR for short) is recognized as one of America's greatest southern rock bands of all time, and why not? Their music rules! John Fogerty and the boys were some of the world's finest musicians, and although their days as the band were short, during those years they shelled out some of the finest songs in rock and roll history. And now the band has compiled a box set of their recordings! Read on for my review of this package.
PROS:
-There are two ways you can do a box set: The good way (a definitive collection of every recording you have ever done) and the bad way (a scattershot mixture of tracks.), and the Creedence Clearwater Revival box set does it the GOOD way! You get all of the band's studio albums in this collection: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willie And The Poor Boys, Cosmo's Factory, and the band's live album.
-The compilation features live material previously unreleased on compact disc.
-The first disc of the compilation is nothing but previously unreleased Pre-Creedence rarities! This stuff is the icing on the cake.
-The box includes a handy booket with a ton of useful and interesting liner notes.
-Buying this set is a better value than buying all of the band's material separately. And besides, some material in this set isn't available anywhere else!
-The band really tried to save space with this set. When they could fit more than one album onto a single compact disc, they did so. Smart thinking.
CONS:
-Although Amazon's photograph may have convinced you otherwise, this box isn't actually made out of wood. Sorry.
-There are noticable sound flaws in some of the recordings featured here. Nothing major, but still a flaw worth mentioning.
-Although this is probably common knowledge, the following material is NOT included in this set: Creedence Clearwater Revisited material, John Fogerty solo material, and any other post-Creedence stuff that members of the band may have done over the years.
-The Pre-Creedence material may disappoint some people. In other words, if you already own every Creedence album, it's not worth buying the box set just to get the rare stuff.
OVERALL:
Overall, despite minor flaws, this is an excellent compilation for one of America's greatest rock and roll bands. If you're a classic rock fan, don't bother with hits compilations - be a man and shell out the cash for this set. It's a set worthy in the collection of every fan of classic rock.


The Complete Studio Recordings (10CD)
The Complete Studio Recordings (10CD)
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £115.55

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one and only true way to experience their music, 22 July 2004
Complete Studio Recordings (1993.) A box set covering Led Zeppelin's entire career.
Led Zeppelin. These guys have become known as gods of rock over the years, and with good reason. Their music puts that of this or any other decade to shame. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and John Bonham were musical geniuses, and it was about time they put all of their albums together in one handy set. The Led Zeppelin Complete Studio recordings brings it all together at long last. Read on for my review of this set.
PROS:
-Every last one of Led Zeppelin's studio albums is in this set. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, Houses Of The Holy, Presence, Physical Graffiti, In Through The Out Door, and the outtake collection album Coda are all here for your listening pleasure.
-The version of the Coda compilation included with this set features four hard-to-find bonus tracks.
-Unlike the other Led Zeppelin box sets, this one isn't a scattershot mixture of tracks - it's got EVERY studio album.
-A handy booklet is included with the set. The booklet contains useful information (release dates for albums/singles, etc.), as well as a new essay by legendary rock journalist Cameron Crowe.
-You save money by purchasing this set. If you were to buy every Led Zeppelin album separately, you would end up spending more than you would for this box set. The price looks steep at first glance, but in actuality, it's a great deal.
CONS:
-I'm not too crazy about the way the individual CDs were packaged in the set. Two CDs each are in five slipcases, each of which contains the art to the two albums, as well as the basic liner note informaton. It's hard to get the CDs out of these slipcases, because you must grab the edge of them. It also gets confusing looking at the liner notes (you actually have to own or see the set to see what I mean.) I was hoping they'd all be individually packaged. Oh, and what's up with the shrunken cover art?
-Because it's the complete STUDIO Recordings, you don't get the band's early BBC session recordings or the live releases The Song Remains The Same and How The West Was Won.
-Just a little word of caution - this is common knowledge to most people, but the following material is NOT in this box set: Robert Plant solo material, David Coverdale/Jimmy Page material, and Led Zeppelin's live albums.
OVERALL:
One of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time has put together all of their master works, and at long last, you can get all of these works together in one convenient set. Sure, the set isn't quite perfect, but it doesn't have to be - the quality of Zeppelin's music more than makes up for it. If you're a rock and roll fan, and this set isn't in your collection, what the hell are you waiting for?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2011 4:50 PM BST


Houses of the Holy
Houses of the Holy
Price: £8.15

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - Another excellent work, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Houses of the Holy (Audio CD)
Houses Of The Holy (1973.) Led Zeppelin's fifth album.
By 1973, Led Zeppelin had managed to build up a huge following of fans - and a damn good musical sound, as well. Their four albums to date were nothing short of excellent, but the band was only getting started. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham were shifting gears at this point in their musical career - Round One had reached its end, and Round Two had begun. In this new era of their career, the band would experiment with a variety of new stylings. Would these stylings ultimately hurt or help the band? Read on for my review of the band's 1973 release, Houses Of The Holy.
On this album, the band scored hits with two awesome hard rockers - Dancing Days and The Ocean. Both of them still receive radio play on a regular basis, and with good reason - these songs ROCK. The former was eventually covered by nineties alternative rockers Stone Temple Pilots, and the latter is one of my personal favorite Led Zeppelin songs. Two other hits also emerged from the album, which were certainly different from the other two - Over The Hills And Far Away is one of them. This is a slower and more melodic tune, but for the most part, it's still a rocker. The other is the extremely bizzare (but still good) D'yer Mak'er. The title is strange enough, but the song itself is even stranger - fusing elements of reggae and pop! This is NOT what you're used to hearing from this band, but it manages to be a good song nonetheless. Another excellent track featured here is The Song Remains The Same. You'll be hearing a lot of Led Zeppelin fans praise this song, and it's really no surprise that they do - this is a masterpiece of a song. And, of course, the other songs are excellent as well. In the end, we're left with an excellent album. In terms of quality, it's not quite up to the "classic four" Led Zeppelin albums, but it's still damn good stuff.
There have been numerous issues of this album released over the years, but really, they're all the same other than their packaging. Don't bother shelling out the extra cash to get one of those foreign LP-style replica packages - it's just not worth it. The domestic versions are exactly the same and cost considerably less.
Overall, I feel this is a very good album, however it's not the place to start if you're new to the band. If you're new to the band, start with their self-titled debut or, if you've got the cash, get the Complete Studio Recordings box set (it's very rare I will recommend a new fan of a band should go out and purchase their box set, but Led Zeppelin is THAT good of a band.) This album demonstrates beautifully that sometimes musical experimentations work out for the better.


Led Zeppelin IV
Led Zeppelin IV
Price: £10.16

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their finest hour, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Led Zeppelin IV (Audio CD)
Untitled (AKA Led Zeppelin IV, The "Rune" Album, Four Symbols, Zoso, and countless other names (1971.)) Led Zeppelin's fourth album.
It was in 1971 that Led Zeppelin would release their fourth studio album. Although the album was often referred to as The Rune Album or Zoso due to the symbols featured on the packaging, for ease of reference most fans call it Led Zeppelin IV. By now Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham were really beginning to realize their musical potential. With most bands, there is one album that the vast majority of fans tend to call that band's best work. With Led Zeppelin that album would have to be Led Zeppelin IV. So, are all the fans who call it their finest hour right, or is it just subpar by the band's standards? Read on for my review of this album.
Anyone who calls this album the finest Led Zeppelin album knows what he or she is talking about. Their other albums are great, but this one is a masterpiece among masterpieces. Kicking off the quintessential rock masterpiece is Black Dog. This is one of the band's most memorable rockers ever created, and Jimmy Page serves up some of his finest guitar playing here. Next up is another hard rocker, the appropriately titled Rock And Roll. It's one of the band's biggest hits, and why not? I'm not surprised this song (and most of the others on this album) still get played on the radio on a regular basis. Next up is one of the band's true masterpieces, The Battle Of Evermore. Although not one of the most popular songs on the album, you're going to hear fans of the band praise it constantly. This little epic shows just what Led Zeppelin is capable of performing, and that there more than "just another rock band." The next track, Stairway To Heaven, is probably the most popular song that this album spawned. It's slower and more melodic than most of the band's material, but that doesn't make it any less excellent. There's no denying this song's status as a rock classic. Next up we go back to the rockers with Misty Mountain Hop. This is an interesting track, because it fuses elements of hard rock with elements of pop! What's even more surprising is that the end result is very good! Four Sticks, the next composition present on the album, is probably the least known track featured here, but that doesn't mean it's a bad one. It's a solid rocker through and through. For Going To California, the band slows things down a bit again, creating one of their most memorable tunes that explores the softer side. And, of course, the album is concluded with the classic When The Levee Breaks. It's early power rock at its finest, and above all, it's an excellent way to close out a great album. In the end, this album just plain rocks.
There have been numerous issues of this album released over the years, but really, they're all the same other than their packaging. Don't bother shelling out the extra cash to get one of those foreign LP-style replica packages - it's just not worth it. The domestic versions are exactly the same and cost considerably less.
What can I say? If you're a fan of classic rock and you don't own this album, there is really no excuse for not owning it. If you haven't made the purchase yet, I strongly suggest doing so. As I've stated in my other Led Zeppelin reviews, a hits compilation can't do these guys justice - so either buy all of their albums, or just get them all at once with the Complete Studio Recordings box set. Led Zeppelin were gods of classic hard rock, and their fourth album proves it like no other release can.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2014 12:52 PM BST


Led Zeppelin III
Led Zeppelin III
Offered by MUSIC2000UK
Price: £4.15

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - Not their best but solid nonetheless, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Led Zeppelin III (Audio CD)
Led Zeppelin III (1970.) Led Zeppelin's third album.
In 1969, Led Zeppelin released two albums that were nothing short of excellent - Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II. It's very rare that a band can shell out two five-star albums in a single year, but the guys managed to do it nonetheless. Both of the band's previous albums followed a similar style - blues-based hard rock, which worked surprisingly well. Although no one can deny the pure excellence of the band's first two albums, the band must have realized that they couldn't go on doing the same thing forever. So they got progressive. And in 1970, the band released its third studio album, appropriately entitled Led Zeppelin III. Read on for my review.
On this album, Zeppelin fuses their classic hard rock sound with traces of folk rock in places, and the end result is surprisingly good. This album is kicked off with Immigrant Song, the fast-paced rocker that would go on to become the most popular song on this album. It's an excellent song, however, it does NOT speak for the rest of the album. Being both the first track and the most popular song to emerge from the album, you'd expect the other tracks to be similar in style. Well, my friends, the opposite couldn't be more true. As a whole, this is probably the most different-sounding Led Zeppelin album. The second track, Friends, is a folksy-styled acoustic track. Although this isn't what the average person is used to hearing from the band, it's a solid track nonetheless. It's followed up by Celebration Day, which uses similar stylings to its predecessor but throws some electric guitars in the mix to keep things interesting. The most underrated track on this entire album would have to be Gallows Pole. If you want an excellent Led Zeppelin track that gives you everything, you've come to the right place. Don't overlook this little gem! The band also tries their hand at some simplistic acoustic-style songs, Tangerine and That's The Way. The band is generally recognized by fans for its hard rock sound, so it's easy to overlook the softer stuff - and it's actually quite good! Two pretty strange songs finish off the album. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp is a another folksy-style track, which sounds like it had some Bob Dylan influence. Hats Off To (Roy) Harper finishes off the album. It's an old blues song that gets an excellent update. Strange as they may be, these closing songs are still excellent.
In America (as of July 22, 2004), the readily available version of this album is the standard remaster. Take my advice and DON'T shell out the extra cash for one of those import versions with the mini LP-style sleeve - they just aren't worth it. Or better yet, shell out the cash and get the Complete Studio Recordings box set.
In the end, Led Zeppelin III comes off as one of the band's most different-sounding albums. It's probably the weakest of the "classic four" albums that the band released, but it's still damn good (I gave it four and a half stars, didn't I?) It may take a few listens to get into this album, unlike the others which generally hook you on the first listen, but in the end you should agree - this album is an underrated little gem. Just make sure you listen to this one with an open mind.


Led Zeppelin 2
Led Zeppelin 2
Offered by MUSIC2000UK
Price: £4.19

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophomore slump? I don't think so, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Led Zeppelin 2 (Audio CD)
Led Zeppelin II (1969.) Led Zeppelin's second album.
Following the release of their first studio album in early 1969, Led Zeppelin went right back into the studio and got to work on their follow-up effort, rather unoriginally titled Led Zeppelin II. John Bonham, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant had demonstrated their potential beautifully on their debut, creating an excellent hard and heavy blues-based rock sound that won audiences over almost instantly. How would their sophomore effort, also released in 1969, measure up? Read on and find out.
Led Zeppelin II, for the most part, follows the same blues-based rock stylings of its predecessor, but it throws in just enough new elements to keep things sounding fresh. Whole Lotta Love, a hard and heavy classic rocker that would go on to become one of the band's biggest hits of all, kicks off the album. When you're starting an album, the first track should always grab the listener's attention and hold it - and here the band succeeded beautifully. Several hits emerged from this album including the medley of Heartbreaker and Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman), as well as the classic Ramble On. All of these songs receive classic rock airplay even to this day, and it's no surprise why - these songs flat out rule. And, of course, the tracks that weren't hits were no slouches either. What Is And What Should Never Be is an excellent rocker that should have gotten more popularity than it did, and even the frequently-bashed Lemon Song is actually pretty good. The album's love song, Thank You, is another masterpiece. Moby Dick and Bring It On Home finish the album off, and do a damn good job of it. All in all, another excellent album that doesn't suffer from that dreaded sophomore jinx.
There have been numerous issues of this album released over the years, but really, they're all the same other than their packaging. Don't bother shelling out the extra cash to get one of those foreign LP-style replica packages - it's just not worth it. The domestic versions are exactly the same and cost considerably less.
Led Zeppelin II is one of the greatest sophomore albums in the history of rock and roll. If you're a fan of Led Zeppelin, this is one of their many albums worth adding to your collection. Do yourself a favor and buy all of their albums separately or get the Complete Studio Recordings box set - hits compilations just can't do this band justice.


Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Offered by MUSIC2000UK
Price: £4.53

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome debut, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Led Zeppelin (Audio CD)
Led Zeppelin (1969.) Led Zeppelin's first album.
In the latter half of the sixties, Jimmy Page was left without a band since his previous one, The Yardbirds, had disbanded. However, he wasn't about ready to be done rocking and rolling. He put together a new band with vocalist Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. He appropriately called this new band The New Yardbirds. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this isn't a very good band name. Fortunately, the band received inspiration from The Who drummer Keith Moon. He had an expression - "This gig is going down like a lead Zeppelin." Liking this term, they changed their name to Led Zeppelin. And in 1969, one of the great years in rock and roll history, these four young men released their self-titled debut album. How does it measure up? Read on and see.
The first two Led Zeppelin albums are considerably more bluesy than the later ones, but this is not a bad thing. Good Times Bad Times opens the album. It's a solid, classic hard rocking tune, with a slight bluesy touch. The most underrated member of Led Zeppelin is John Paul Jones, and his bass here really must be heard to be appreciated. Babe Im Gonna Leave You is a slower, mostly acoustic tune about heartbreak. Every musical artist, regardless of genre, has to do a few heartbreak tunes - and here Led Zeppelin serves up one of the finest the world has ever seen. You Shook Me is a cover song. To put it simply, this is a slower track, but it's still a hard rocker. I'm not too crazy about this one, but it's still a decent song. Dazed And Confused features the band serving up an excellent example of classic psychedelic hard rock. This is one of the most popular songs that can be found on the band's debut album - and why not? This song ROCKS! Your Time Is Gonna Come kicks off with an organ solo by Jones, which is nothing short of excellent. It's not long before we have a melodic rocker that almost certainly won't fail to please. This here is what we call an underrated masterpiece. Black Mountain Side is short but sweet acoustic instrumental. Jimmy Page is a guitar god, but the acoustic stuff he does never seems to get the proper credit for some odd reason. Communication Breakdown is straight-up classic hard rock, this one is a premonition to the heavy metal that would slowly begin to surface in the seventies. This one is arguably my favorite song on the album. I Cant Quit You Baby is another cover song. This here is a slower, bluesy rocker featuring some excellent guitar riffs by the one and only Jimmy Page. The bass is also excellent, and it really makes me wonder why John Paul Jones is the most underrated person in the band! How Many More Times is yet another cover song. To put it in the simplest terms possible, this is a slow rocker - but it's still hard rock. It's a shame this track never got the proper credit, because the band couldn't have finished the album off with a better track!
There have been numerous issues of this album released over the years, but really, they're all the same other than their packaging. Don't bother shelling out the extra cash to get one of those foreign LP-style replica packages - it's just not worth it. The domestic versions are exactly the same and cost considerably less. Or better yet, just shell out the extra bucks and get the Complete Studio Recordings box set - it may appear pricey, but in actuality, it's a great value.
Led Zeppelin's self-titled 1969 debut is one of classic rock's essential masterpieces. Even after all these years, it still stands the test of time. If this little gem is missing from your rock and roll library, I suggest you add it as soon as possible. I don't know if I can call this the band's finest album (it's tough playing favorites with these guys), but it's damn fine nonetheless - and well worth purchasing.


Last Time Around
Last Time Around
Price: £5.07

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Their final album..., 22 July 2004
This review is from: Last Time Around (Audio CD)
Last Time Around (1968.) Buffalo Springfield's third album.
Despite having released two excellent and wildly diverse rock and roll albums, Buffalo Springfield just never managed to achieve any major popularity. This was a shame, because they really were excellent musicians. Among their ranks were the widely talented Stephen Stills (who wrote most of the band's compositions) and the future rock legend Neil Young. For the band's third album, which would be their final one, they recruited new bass player Jim Messina (who would achieve great fame in the seventies playing alongside Kenny Loggins.) How does the band's final album, the appropriately-titled Last Time Around, measure up? Read on for my review.
This was Buffalo Springfield's third and final album. The band must have finally realized that their music, while good, could never be as influential as that of, say, the Byrds or Bob Dylan (the major folk-oriented rockers of the day.) It was a shame that they decided to call it quits, but before quitting, the band served up this album, and I'm glad they did. By far Buffalo Springfield's greatest strength was their musical diversity, and they serve up plenty of that on this album, drawing influences from a number of genres and artists of the day. There's really not a whole lot more that I can say about this album, but it's not quite as good as it's predecessor, Buffalo Springfield Again. However, in my mind, it DOES top the band's self-titled debut. It's doubtful that any fan of the band will be disappointed with it.
Like the other Buffalo Springfield releases (as of July 18, 2004), there is only one version of the album readily available on CD. This is a real shame, because it could use some remastering and bonus tracks, since so many of the band's excellent rarities are unavaiable outside of their restrictively expensive box set. If there are executives from the record company reading this, I urge you to reissue the band's catalogue and remaster it!
Last Time Around was, well, the last time around for Buffalo Springfield, but it certainly wasn't the last time around for the members of the band. Several spin-off bands were born from the downfall of Buffalo Springfield, including Crosby Stills Nash And Young, Poco, and Loggins And Messina. Many of the former members also released solo albums. Last Time Around stands as the last effort by this great classic rock band, so it's fortunate that its members would find successes elsewhere. If you're new to Buffalo Springfield, I would have to recommend either starting with the band's sophomore effort Buffalo Springfield Again, or the Retrospective hits compilation. This is an excellent album, no question, it's just not a very good starting point for new fans.


Muscle of Love
Muscle of Love
Price: £7.63

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten masterpiece, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Muscle of Love (Audio CD)
Muscle Of Love (1973.) Alice Cooper's seventh studio album, and the last one with the classic Alice Cooper band.
Despite rough beginnings, Alice Cooper had proven himself to be a classic hard rock genius by the time 1973 rolled around. Every major label album he had released to date with his band was nothing short of a masterpiece. Later in 1973, after releasing their wildly popular Billion Dollar Babies album, the band released the considerably less popular Muscle Of Love. Would this album be another masterpiece like Billion Dollar Babies before it, or would it be one of the band's blunders? Read on for my review.
Let me start my saying that anyone who doesn't appreciate this album is brainless. Every one of the Alice Cooper band's album's released on a major laber (with the lone exception of Schools Out) is worthy of a five-star rating, and this one is no exception. It is kicked off with Big Apple Dreamin', a Zeppelin-esque hard rocker that grabs the listener's attention and holds onto it. The follow-up track, Never Been Sold Before, is another excellent and worthwhile rocker. Next the band serves up one of their slowest and most melodic tracks, a little tune called Hard Hearted Alice. This has got to be one of the band's most underrated songs. The two big hits to emerge from this album, the title track and Teenage Lament '74, are also excellent, I especially like the latter of the two, which talks about life from a teenager's perspective. The Man With The Golden Gun is a song that the Alice Cooper Band submitted to be the theme to the James Bond film of the same name (they were all big-time James Bond fans), but sadly, it got turned down. Why? It's WAY better than Lulu's song that ended up being the theme! Woman Machine, yet another one of the band's severely underrated tracks, brings the album to a close. They couldn't have picked a better song to finish the album.
It's a shame this album is now out of print in America (as of July of 2004) and appreciated by so few fans, because it really is one of Alice Cooper's finest albums of his entire career. It was the last album to feature Alice with his classic band, and I really don't think they could have gone out on a better note. If you come across this album and you're a fan of Alice Cooper, casual or die-hard, pick it up. It may take a little more time to grow on you than the other albums, but ultimately you should end up agreeing - it's one of the band's finest efforts.


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