Archive for the rock music interviews Category

BIG DAD RITCH of TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION – An Exclusive Interview With The Champion Of Red Dirt Metal

Posted in Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, interviews, metal music, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, southern rock with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

Big Dad Ritch is the lead singer and founding member of Texas Hippie Coalition, aka THC. Red Dirt Metal is what THC plays, with a reverent nod of influence to Country Music’s most famous outlaws to the late Dimebag, with Black Label Society and Lynyrd Skynyrd in between. Texas Hippie Coalition’s Southern Hard Rock ‘N Metal is as American as corn dogs washed down with (plenty of) Shiner Bock beer.

This badass band from Texas aren’t about kowtowing to the mainstream or the man sitting high-up inside some ivory tower. Hell no. This is Texas Hippie Coalition and they aren’t about being a band for the ages, they’re a band for the people, in my forthright opinion. With 2010’s Rollin’, their newly released Peacemaker (Carved Records), coupled with a notable live presence from clubs to festivals, Texas Hippie Coalition have earned a continuously growing fan base that knows real when they hear and see it.

They’re skilled musicians that are loud, proud, hard and heavy as hell with contagious American Southern pride. Texas Hippie Coalition are: bassist John Exall, guitarist Wes Wallace, drummer Timmy Braun and of course, Big Dad Ritch and his earth splitting vocals. Big Dad Ritch took the time recently to answer more than several questions that I tossed his way. As this being my second (appreciative) encounter with Big Dad Ritch, I can honestly say he is as genuine, kind, professional and badass as they come. Metal be thy name. There is and forever will be only one Big Dad Ritch. Here is what he had to say:

Stone: I know I absolutely love your new album Peacemaker. The fans and critics have spoken and this album is a winner! Can you put into words just how rewarding all of this widespread acceptance feels to you?

Big Dad Ritch: Feels like a backyard friends n family Bar-BQ, with all the fixuns n pecan pie.

Stone: What is the secret behind the muscularity that Peacemaker represents musically and lyrically?

Big Dad Ritch: Just being proud of being BADASS. If u were a rodeo stock bull would you want to be the ol’ piece of beef every sod buster rode for a short 8 seconds or the Horned Monster Bull that punished every belt buckle chasing cowboy for a long 2 second ride. Dare to be BADASS.

Stone: Your vocals are so powerful! Are there any steps you swear by in keeping your voice so healthy and strong?

Big Dad Ritch: Never drink or smoke… I’m lyin!

Stone: Yes, Big Dad Ritch, you’ve proven that you can sing a ballad! What’s the story behind the creation of “Think Of Me”?

Big Dad Ritch: I wrote that song on Valentines Day, like most Valentines Days I spent it with the love of my life – music. I think people will say a song like this is dated or that it shows a softer side. Yet, in my opinion, I believe to write a song like this in this day and age only shows that this band has balls, BIG BALLS.

Stone: What came easy and what was difficult about recording Peacemaker?

Big Dad Ritch: Music and words flow thru those that participated on this album, the task seemed so easy at times. Difficult part was deciding what 11 songs of the 14 to put on the album. My stance was like that of Sweden. I held the money while they argued.

Stone: THC will be opening for the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd on select dates this September. Describe the thrill you are feeling about this and don’t hold back!

Big Dad Ritch: WhooHooo, yipp, yip, yippy, yeehaw!!! Hyeah! Raise Hell! Sorry, got a lil carried away there. See, couple years back I started tellin people THC would open for BLS (Black Label Society) very soon. At the time an untruth. People on fb started connecting dots comments like “I would pay to see that show”. Next thing I know, were on half a dozen BLS shows. So I started fibbin, again fibbin is almost a lie. Tellin everyone we were gonna open for Lynyrd Skynyrd, at the time not true. Yet here we are today talkin about the Skynyrd n THC show. So what I’m trying to tellya is I never lie, and soon we will be touring with Willie Nelson n Judas Priest… I’m lyin. This show with Shooter Jennings on the line up as well is proof there is a Southern Uprising!

Take a look and listen below to the Official Video for Turn It Up!

Stone: I look at the band photos, listen to the songs and watch the video footage of THC and the feeling of brotherhood hits me like a ton of beer kegs! How important is this brotherhood toward your band’s success?

Big Dad Ritch: Texas Hippie Coalition. Texas = Proud of where we come from, which everyone should be. Hippie = that’s the way my mom n dad raised me, TRIBAL. Coalition = Because we are more than just 4 men, we are many, we are chapters nationwide, we are chapters world-wide, we are fans around the globe, we are men that would be kings, we are twisted hippie chicks, we are FAMILY MEMBERS, we are all together under one flag that we wave HIGH n MIGHTY, we are COALITION.

Stone: Many bands pigeonhole themselves into one “select” genre. With THC, you guys can reach out to many Rock genres with your sound and style. Would I be wrong to call THC “the band for the people”?

Big Dad Ritch: The PEOPLE’S CHAMP, love it. Red Dirt Metal, Southern Fried Rock. It’s all good.

Stone: As THC creates their own hard-earned success, do you ever have time to take it all in?

Big Dad Ritch: Yes I do inhale. What was the question?

Stone: You tour the country and witness many things on the road. Is American pride still alive and well or is there a sense of division among us as a nation?

Big Dad Ritch: There is an immense amount of pride nation wide, but I do believe people are starting to place more faith in their neighbor than in their government. US definitely still applies in my eyes.

Stone: If Big Dad Ritch could sit by the river with a legend of Rock, either past or present, to share some booze, stories and barbecue with, who would it be and why?

Big Dad Ritch: Tuff one, I always aspire to be what I have grown to refer to as “1 man empire”. The likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon or Willie, or modern-day Rob Zombie, Zakk Wylde, or Vinnie Paul. To achieve things in and out of the world of music. Hoping in someway one day to grow up and be an OZZY. Sorry mom. So to pick from all of these would be hard. So I would say this I would pick “Dime Bag” just so I could tell him what he has meant to generations of fans and how much he has influenced me and many others. I would even drink one of those horrible black tooths.

THANK YOU, Big Dad Ritch for this interview! Thank you for creating such memorable Red Dirt Metal with your band! I am so happy for you and the band and wish only the very best for Texas Hippie Coalition both off and on stage.

Until the next time, your brother in Rock ‘N Metal –

Stone \m/\m/


PEACEMAKER Available NOW! Get it at iTunes (with exclusive track WHISKEY):


For more info on TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, click on the links below!





MUNICIPAL WASTE – facebook Fan Interview Streaming Online!

Posted in Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, metal music, Music, rock interviews, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, Thrash Metal, thrash metal bands with tags , , , , on August 31, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

Via the official Nuclear Blast Europe Facebook page, fans from all around the world had the chance to ask MUNICIPAL WASTE their questions – and when Philipp of Nuclear Blast met the band at the Summer Breeze Open-Air in Germany, he forwarded them to Ryan and Dave. This resulted in a great video interview that can be watched HERE.


(Source: Nuclear Blast)

For more info on MUNICIPAL WASTE, click on the links below!



MARTA GABRIEL of CRYSTAL VIPER – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal news, metal music, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, traditional heavy metal with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

CRYSTAL VIPER – Recently, the forever Rockin’ HARD ROCK NIGHTS and Metal Odyssey teamed up for an exclusive interview with Marta Gabriel of Crystal Viper. Besides being the lead vocalist, Marta also is a guitarist, songwriter and lyricist for Crystal Viper, to name a few. Her knowledge of music and of course, Metal, is exemplary and radiates the skies from Crystal Viper’s recent release on AFM Records: Crimen Excepta.

Originating from the great country of Poland, Crystal Viper was founded in 2003 and plays Traditional Metal with potent relevance. After the success of 2010’s critically acclaimed Legends album (their first with AFM Records), Crystal Viper has become an international player in the world of Metal. Marta is surrounded by: Andy Wave (guitars), Tom Woryna (bass) and Golem (drums).

Marta talks about the band’s dynamic new album Crimen Excepta and songwriting to the worst moments her band has experienced on tour. Here is what Marta had to say:

Can you describe how the new album “Crimen Excepta” conceptually evolved?

Marta: “Before I started composing music, I wrote a story; a lyrical theme for the album. I was inspired by history, especially holy inquisition issues, and books such as “Malleus Maleficarum”, “The Name Of The Rose”, and others. After that I started composing the actual music, and that’s really why the whole album is so different in comparison to the previous ones we’ve put out; it’s darker, heavier; there’s more real feeling in the music. It all happened, because I had the whole story in front of my eyes whilst writing the actual songs; I was able to imagine situations described in the lyrics? I would say that this album is like a movie, but instead of pictures, it is told by music.”

What has been the turning point or momentum push thus far in the Metal career of Crystal Viper? Was it the (excellent) “Legends” album or something prior?

Marta: “Thank you first of all for the compliment; I’m glad you like “Legends”! I can say you’re right in some way, and that was a turning point, because “Legends” was our first album for AFM Records. It was a huge step for us, joining a bigger label.”

“Being part of good record company means better promotion for any band, which is very important, because, except for playing live, there are then so many more opportunities for new fans to discover your band. Joining AFM was, without doubt, a huge and important step, but I would say also, that every single live show, and every single album or single release is important too, as we truly enjoy what we do.”

I find “Ghosts Of Sherwood” to be an amazingly powerful song, both lyrically and musically. With “Ghosts Of Sherwood being the theme song for the 3D horror movie “Robin Hood”, how did this all come to pass?

Marta: “Well, we’d known the German company called Digidreams Studios, which is doing this movie, for quite a while; just through the scene and through video production. It turned out that Crystal Viper’s image and music for this record was going to fit perfectly to the atmosphere of the movie, so we started cooperating and it went from there.”

“I received the screenplay, wrote the song and the lyrics, and we were off. It’s worth mentioning that this song is quite different to the usual Crystal Viper stuff; it’s heavy but really melodic. I’m very, very glad that I composed a song for a movie; the film stars the great Tom Savini, and “Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood” (to give it it’s full title) will have its premiere during the Cannes movie festival, which is really a huge honour.”

What was the chemistry like between you and Andy writing the guitar parts for this new album? For that matter, the chemistry of the entire band while recording?

Marta: “Well, the chemistry was as good as always really; I wrote all the guitar parts and all the initial music, then we were all working on it, all together. I mean, the band, our producer, everyone gets involved.”

“We produced this album in a little bit of a different way though; everything was produced like in the ’80s; you know, Flying V guitars, tube amps, and real drums all the way, no copying or corrections? Everything you hear on the album was sung or played truly. I’m very proud of the final result, and I can’t wait to hear these songs on the vinyl release!”

“Crimen Excepta” shows an enormous musical strength through its balance. How difficult is it to not stray too far on either the heavy or the light side of the Metal sound?

Marta: “Again, thank you for the compliment. But we never plan or think like that really… To say, “All right; this needs to be heavier” or something like that would be fake in some way. A good song is a good song; everything is very natural and real. What you hear on the album comes out from our hearts and soul. We play the music that we love and I compose music I would like to listen to, all the time…… We don’t want to record the same album again and again; that’s why each Crystal Viper album is a little bit different. “Crimen Excepta” is definitely the heaviest and darkest, but they’re all very different.”

Which song on “Crimen Excepta” proved to be the largest challenge for you to sing? I feel “Medicus Animarum” is a shining moment (among many), but this song certainly must push the envelope for vocal execution?

Marta: “There are many songs that are less and many more difficult than that on this album, but before entering the studio, I had a lot of time to practice, for sure – we rehearsed everything a million times. We basically always do a strong pre-production before entering the studio, so we know what to expect; what sounds good and so on.”

“We don’t like to waste time in the studio. Everything that you hear on the album was sung; we didn’t use any tricks or corrections! It wouldn’t have made sense to do that, as later, I wouldn’t be able to sing moments like that live on stage.”

“There are many bands that sound totally different on the album to on stage, or bands who re-arrange the songs to make them easier to play or sing? Of course, if they are happy with doing something like that, then fine; but it’s not our way.”

Chris Moyen created an absolutely brilliant cover for “Crimen Excepta”. How important is it to convey the music of Crystal Viper through the album artwork?

Marta: “Very… Chris Moyen did a great cover for us again – but, he’d already painted cover artwork for our second single and 3rd album, and so, now with “Crimen Excepta”, he is like part of the family. Of course, it is very important to have the right album artwork, and I would say it’s important in the case of every single band and album? The front cover artwork is like the face of the album, telling you what you can expect, so it should be chosen or painted wisely. In the case of “Crimen Excepta”, everything is one, solid piece: album artwork, lyrics and music!”

What can you attribute to the strong success of Traditional Heavy Metal in Europe over the years? Besides a dedicated and large fan base, could it be the variety of Metal festivals and ease of touring within Europe?

Marta: “The strong success of Traditional Heavy Metal, you mean? I wouldn’t say so, as some Metal genres are surely more popular these days than it; but the truth is, Heavy Metal has been here for many, many years; trends come and go, but Traditional Metal stays. I think this genre simply deserves that respect – even bands, who play more modern genres of Metal, have their roots in Heavy Metal. Old-School Heavy Metal, as well as classic rock, is a base for all genres of heavy music.”

“There’s also lately a kind of New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal going around; young bands playing Old School Metal, and it’s really, really great.”

Okay, what is the worst thing that ever happened to Crystal Viper while out on tour?

Marta: “Well, there are many stories to tell, and every band has some stories to share, don’t they? The one that comes to my mind, right now, sounds quite funny now, but back then it wasn’t.”

“We were playing on a small open air festival (doesn’t matter in what country…); the stage had no roof, and it started to rain. We basically had a lot of special effects on stage (guitar peddles, that kind of thing…), and as the stage got wetter, there were sparks everywhere; the stage was soaked. My guitar amp suddenly exploded because it got all wet! The roadies brought another one on, but it also exploded! It was truly a weird show, but we did our best!”

“We also once played on an open air festival in winter; it was like -10 degrees, and the organizers “forgot” to put heaters on stage? And forgot to organize any dressing room for us, as well? Pretty interesting experience, I can tell you!”

If Crystal Viper could perform at a “Metal Dream Festival”, which other bands (past or present) would be on the bill?

Marta: “There are many great acts we would love to play with, but if I could choose, then the bill would be like this: King Diamond, Nifelheim, Hell, Immortal, Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Iron Maiden, Virgin Steele, Judas Priest, the list goes on!”

“Thanks for the interview!!”

Thank you Marta for giving your time!


For more info on CRYSTAL VIPER, click on the links below:




SINISTER REALM – A Metal Odyssey Exclusive Interview!

Posted in classic metal, Heavy Metal, heavy metal news, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, traditional heavy metal, traditional metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

(All band photos and logo provided courtesy of John Gaffney/Sinister Realm)

SINISTER REALM – Traditional Heavy Metal, aka Classic Metal, reigns supreme in 2011. With hordes of legendary Traditional Metal bands leading the never-ending charge, to this very moment as you read this, there are a good many new, hungry and talented Metal bands out there that revere Metal’s history of tradition. Sinister Realm is one such Metal band. Led by founding member and bass guitarist John Gaffney, Sinister Realm is a band that I have admired and loudly recommended, since my first thorough listen of their second studio album The Crystal Eye (Shadow Kingdom Records) which was released this Summer.

Calling Allentown, Pennsylvania their Metal home, Sinister Realm is a band amassing a loyal following of Metal fans from Trexlertown, Pennsylvania to points worldwide. Sinister Realm has created some incredible Traditional Metal that MUST be heard to understand my Metal point. It’s not everyday that I bellow with such Metal pride about a rising Metal band such as Sinister Realm. Alex Kristoff (vocals), John Risko (guitar), John Kantner (guitar), Chris Metzger (drums) and John Gaffney’s bass illuminates my eardrums with their utmost Metal talent and respect for the Metal they play.

Traditional Metal goes much farther than “the look” of denim and leather. The sound, lyrics, vibes and attitude I hear on The Crystal Eye are all-encompassing of what Traditional Metal is all about in my Metal world. Overall, Sinister Realm represents where Metal was so many years ago and where it is today, in all of its powerful glory. Sinister Realm is the real Metal deal here, fellow Metalheads.

Taking a time out from playing live gigs amid a busy schedule, John Gaffney was courteous to answer ten questions for Metal Odyssey. Covering topics ranging from the new album to respecting the history of Metal, here is what John Gaffney had to say:

John Gaffney, bass guitarist, songwriter and founder of Sinister Realm.

Stone: Can you share the goals and mindset of the band as a whole, while recording “The Crystal Eye”?

John Gaffney: With the new album our goal was pretty simple, to take a step forward from our first album. I think my mindset when I started writing the music was to just make sure that every song was as good as I could make it. I wanted to make sure there was a good amount of variety also, some fast songs, some slow and mid tempos one. I know all the other guys really wanted to make this one a good follow-up to our debut record. The goals of our band in general are to always get better and keep pushing forward, to play and perform better, to get our music out to as many metal heads as possible and in general to just keep growing as a band.

Stone: How is the songwriting and lyrics shared among the band?

John Gaffney: All the music and lyrics are written by me but the other guys definitely add their personalities to the songs. I demo everything out in a very rough format with a drum machine and me singing and the other guys take that and add their own thing to it. When I write I really think about the guys and their personalities on their instruments and I write to their strengths so that the songs feel natural to them and not like I’m asking them to play or sing things that don’t fit who they are as musicians. Even though I write the music, the strength and identity of Sinister Realm is really in the collection of all the individual players, we work and sound really good together in my humble opinion.

Stone: Just how important is the history of Metal to Sinister Realm?

John Gaffney: Very important, especially the early years of metal, I’m very much a Heavy Metal scholar. I’m always reading about heavy metal and searching out old classic bands that I may not have heard of yet. I’m a very big fan of the “golden” years of classic metal as I like to call it, 1980 to about 1984. The albums that Priest, Maiden, Dio, Sabbath, Ozzy, Mercyful Fate and many others released during those years are some of my absolute favorite heavy metal albums of all time. With the band we really try to pay our respects to those great metal classics, when we perform or work on new music all those bands are in the back of our mind, they are our benchmarks if you will, we really want to do this music justice and we consider it a great honor to be called a traditional metal band.

Stone: How did Sinister Realm and Shadow Kingdom Records find each other?

John Gaffney: Well…a bit of history on the band I guess is in order here. I used to be in a band called Pale Divine, when I left the drummer Darin McCloskey called me and said he wanted to work on some of the ideas I had that were never used in Pale Divine.  As things progressed it started sounding really good and we decided to get a proper singer and record a demo, so into the picture came Alex. I played guitar and bass on the original demo, Darin played drums and Alex sang. Darin knew Tim from Shadow Kingdom Records and ran into him when Pale Divine was playing in Pittsburgh, he passed our demo on to him and he really liked it.  At the time the demo was really making the rounds on the internet and we got a few offers from other labels but we really liked where Shadow Kingdom was at the time and the other types of bands they had so we went with them.  After we got signed we added our current guitar player John Kantner and a lead player and quickly recorded our self titled full length. Right after that Darin had to leave for personal reasons and our original lead player was asked to leave so we brought Chris Metzger in on drums and John Risko on lead guitar. Lots of gigs followed and we’ve just released our second album “The Crystal Eye”.  That’s our history in a nutshell.

Stone: What venue that Sinister Realm has played to date exhibited the most rabid Metal fans?

John Gaffney: We played a Doom Metal festival in Wisconsin this Summer that was really cool, we have a lot of great local fans who really support us also so it’s hard to pick one venue, we have fun where ever we play.

Stone: What is the biggest hurdle that confronts a Metal band in 2011?

John Gaffney: Trying to stand out above the bottomless sea of bands that are out there right now. The Internet is a great thing because anybody can get a band together, put something out and promote it. The Internet is also a bad thing because anybody can get a band together, put something out and promote it..haha. It works both ways. There are just so many bands out there now and the playing field is so so crowded that it’s really difficult to get yourself to stand out of the pack. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and sticking to and believing in what you’re doing. Selling CDs is very difficult nowadays because there is a lot of illegal downloading and not many people are even into buying CD’s anymore. I’m old-fashioned and still listen to vinyl, in fact I have a rather large Metal vinyl collection and consider that to be one of my hobbies.

Sinister Realm – The Crystal Eye (Shadow Kingdom Records/2011)

Stone: My favorite song on “The Crystal Eye” is the title track. That song just psyches me out blindly!  Which one is yours and why?

John Gaffney: I like “The Crystal Eye” also. I think I like it because it’s a great title track and has a really good “epic” feel to it. All the guys sound great on it, I especially like John Risko’s lead solo on that one, just super cool! I love the way that guy plays. It’s just a song that came together really nicely if you know what I mean. If I had to pick a close second I would say “Signal the Earth”. I like the feel and groove of the song and I was proud of my lyrics on that one, it’s about a guy sent on a mission in space, now’s he’s trapped in his space ship alone, seeing and hearing things and trying to signal the earth that he needs help. Plus there’s a bass solo in that song… ha ha.

Stone: Is there a “dream band” Sinister Realm wants to be contacted by to support on a major tour?

John Gaffney: Any of the big classic bands like Priest, Maiden, Sabbath would be a dream. I’m also a big fan of Candlemass so I would love to be able to play in Europe or Scandinavia with them.

Stone: How many guitars do you own and which one is your favorite?

John Gaffney: Bass is my main instrument but I do own an early 80s gibson flying V guitar and a Fender telecaster guitar. As for basses, I have three. A 1978 Fender jazz bass, a 1984 Fender precision and a Geddy Lee model Jazz bass. For Sinister Realm I use the Geddy Lee bass, it has a great aggressive grinding growling sound. I use an Ampeg Svt-Pro 2 and Ampeg 4-10 cabinet live for amplification.

Stone: The talents and musical skills of Sinister Realm are obviously heard by my ears on “The Crystal Eye”. What are the other intangibles required to create such a powerful album of Traditional Heavy Metal? What is Sinister Realms “Metal X-Factor”?

John Gaffney: There’s a lot of X factors, I really couldn’t pin it down to one thing. I tell the guys all the time that it’s the little things that make a great band. Playing in tune, having good equipment, having good players and a good singer. If I had to point to one thing though I would say at the end of the day it’s songs and how their delivered. The average listener is not a musician, they are just fans of the music, so the only thing that is really important to them is if they like the songs or not. There are plenty of bands through history who had great players that never went anywhere because their songs just weren’t that good. It’s why the Beatles have lasted forever, they had great songs! So for Sinister Realm I think the X-factor is a combination of everyone’s professionalism and individual personalities wrapped around the songs, that is our “X-Factor”.

* For more Metal info on SINISTER REALM, click on the links below:





Faithsedge – Giancarlo Floridia: A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in classic rock, Hard Rock, hard rock vocalists, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, interviews, melodic metal, melodic rock, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

Giancarlo Floridia of Faithsedge – Back on April 19th, 2011, Giancarlo Floridia took one enormous plunge into the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal limelight with the release of his band’s debut and self-titled album via Scarlet Records. FAITHSEDGE is now a part of Rock history. Will Giancarlo Floridia and Faithsedge add more chapters to their own Rock history? I’m banking on it. This debut album from Faithsedge combines more delicious Melodic Hard Rock moments, within it’s quality songs, than I can actually count.

With a world-class band of musicians surrounding Giancarlo, Faithsedge are not just another supergroup. They are a band that has created what I consider to be one of the best albums of 2011, in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal combined. With the guidance and experience from the world respected producer and bass guitarist Fabrizio Grossi, the path to Heavy Rock success for Giancarlo has been paved. As a songwriter, lyricist, vocalist and guitarist for Faithsedge, Giancarlo has impressively paid his Rockin’ dues for any and all positive response thrown his way.

Giancarlo is both solidly confident and humble, two attributes necessary for a rising talent in the Rock Music world. Forget about any “newcomer” tag… Giancarlo for all Metal intents and purposes… Rocks. Throw in the obvious fact that Giancarlo is one grounded and a hell of a nice guy and the point is clear: I’m rooting for him each and every step of the Metal way. Recently, Giancarlo took the time to talk to Metal Odyssey about the debut Faithsedge album, it’s memorable songs, influences, life and Rock and Roll. Here is what Giancarlo had to say:

Stone: Giancarlo, how did Faithsedge all fall into place as a band?

Giancarlo: The way everything worked out was great. Being a fan of Fabrizio’s (Fabrizio Grossi) and then working with him was awesome. Alex (De Rosso) and Tony (Morra) the same thing, just great people and great musicians. I had a five song ep that I did with Juan Croucier (x – Ratt) and showed it to Fabrizio after leaving California for a little while and it was enough to get my foot in the door to work with him and then we took it from there. Fab (Fabrizio) got Alex and Tony involved and the rest is history! The chemistry just happened.

(Faithsedge debut/self-titled album cover – Scarlet Records)

Stone: Describe what it’s like to work with Fabrizio Grossi.

Giancarlo: Well he’s a hard worker but he still makes it fun. I mean you have to trust your producer (at least I do) and since I was already a fan of his work it was easy. Everything just kinda fell into place in terms of people involved, lyrics, song idea’s, parts etc.. We knew when something was off or if a chorus or a lyric needed to be better. Like for example, “Let It End This Way” was the last vocal to track and the lyrics I had before were good, only we both knew it didn’t fit the record. So, I went back and wrote it at home in like less than an hour with some different ideas I had. Since he wasn’t a jerk about things it was stress free getting eveything done. If something comes up I just let him know, he’s easy going and easy to work with and freakin talented as hell! I mean that sums the guy up! Just don’t piss him off! (Laughs).

Stone: (Laughs) Okay, I would never consider making Fabrizio mad at me! You’ve mentioned in the past, Joe Lynn Turner is an influence on you. Is it fair of me to have written you may very well be the next Joe Lynn Turner of Hard Rock?

Giancarlo: Wow! Ya know, it’s amazing to see people compare me to him or Geoff Tate or Tony Harnell or one of the top guys in the Hard Rock vocal scene. To be put in that league is um, an awesome thing. All I can really say is I want to be one of the new top Metal and Hard Rock singers and I work really really hard at it. I think with hard work and just doing the best I can as a writer and singer, while trying to progress and get better and better, people are getting the point of what I am going for and that makes me happy. At first I wasn’t sure if people were gonna let me into the scene, being somewhat of a newcomer, but they have and I’m thankful! So Thanks everyone and thank you Stone!

Stone: Gee Metal whiz, thank you Giancarlo! How excited are you by the positive response critics have given your debut album?

Giancarlo: It’s been great, there are a few haters but they dont talk smack on us as musicians or me as a singer, they mostly gripe about my lyrics or whatever! (Laughs). I’d rather write about stuff that is personal or real, rather than try to come up with some sort of stupid gimmick to my lyrics. I mean, if it doesn’t come from my heart whats the point? I know I’ll regret it later. Whats important is that people get something from it and I know they have from the emails and other things I’ve read. But as far as all the good reviews go, yeah, it’s been great. I am proud of everyone involved and to have great reviews is just a plus! So thanks for all the great reviews!

Stone: What guitarist or guitarists do you look upon for inspiration?

Giancarlo: Alex De Rosso cause I suck compared to him! (Laughs). Honestly, I am not much of a lead player and I am just more into riffs and the overall drive of a song or direction of a record. I like progressive stuff like old Queensryche and Dream Theater, Metal like Megadeth and Anthrax, and Arena Rock like 80’s KISSOzzy, Scorpions and Bon Jovi. I like 70’s rock too. So I guess it’s an overal mix of sounds that I like that makes Faithsedge. You can hear a mix of all of that on the cd, thats why you may have a tune thats more Metal and another more Arena Rock, so it depends on my mood or what I feel the album needs without going too far right or left of the overall sound.

Stone: As a songwriter and lyricist for your debut album, which two songs mean the most to you and why?

Giancarlo: If I had to pick two? “Somewhere In Your Heart” and “Faith-Anne”, maybe because they are both about my kids. “Somewhere In Your Heart” most likey because I was able to put almost like a “70’s kinda lyrics” into a somewhat Progressive Rock song and make it work with all the key changes. Plus, I like the postive feel to it. “Faith-Anne” because it almost didn’t make the record. I finished the chorus less than an hour of having to record it. I’ll never forget not being able to get the chorus right and sitting in the Valencia Town Center Mall parking lot and hearing it in my head the day I had to track it. I’ll never forget walking into the studio and telling Fabrizio I had finally got it! I mean, when you write a song to your daughter who you haven’t seen in a while and you know there is a chance she’s gonna hear it when she’s been held away from you, it had to be special. I feel I got that across in the song. Funny thing is, our relationship has been restored since the album has come out and the line I wanted her to hear “We had everyday, remember those days?”, well she did. I’m Proud to be a part of her life again.

Stone: Giancarlo, that is a song and story that goes straight to the heart. Awesome. How is the new material coming along for your second album?

Giancarlo: Great! I’m writing the music for the last song now. Eleven tracks I have along the same lines of Metal, Progressive and Melodic. I have the lyrics almost done for four songs. The titles are “Telling the Sky”, “Save the Promise”, Closer to the Truth” and my favorite song I’ve ever written that’s called “When I lost You”. I am gonna be touching more direct issues on the record like my history with my dad, abuse and dark subject matter with a positive outcome. It’s kinda like what I did with tunes like “Another Chance” and “World Keeps Falling Down” on the first record. I will also do some relationship stuff along with a new storyline song I am working on that I don’t have the title for yet, but I have the all the music done and it’s gona be really cool. Music wise though, I’m not going to change the style. People want good, hard, American Rock albums in the Melodic Rock and Metal community. If certain bands that can don’t wanna give it to ’em, it’s ok, I will! (Laughs). Anyways, I’m hoping I’ll have all the lyrics and hooks all done within a year, that way I don’t stress it and the lyrics come out equally as good, just as it did with the first album.

Faithsedge: From L to R: Tony Morra, Giancarlo Floridia, Fabrizio Grossi, Alex De Rosso.

Stone: In your opinion, has Melodic Hard Rock and Melodic Heavy Metal made a comeback these past few years in the U.S.?

Giancarlo: Well it’s awesome bands like KISSMaiden and Priest still doing it. I don’t see too many American new comers doing it, I mean a few are but most of them are from over sea’s or partner with musicians from other countries. Maybe it’s cause they really have a love for this kind of music and don’t care about what people think. Where as in the States you get more of “whats trendy today” is what’s hot! Llllllaaaaaaaaammmme!

Stone: I agree, very lame! On a scale of one through ten, how much of a perfectionist were you while creating the Faithsedge debut album?

Giancarlo: (Laughs) I abused myself, I was one hundred percent happy with every lyric and melody other than one song which I could have done better on the chorus, in my opinion it’s by far the most cliché chorus on the cd. However, I love the verses and the bridge before the solo. Oh well, I’ll make it up on the second album and no, I’m not saying what song it is! (Laughs). I know I’m just wrong huh?

Stone: You’re not wrong, it’s called keeping the fans in suspense! If Faithsedge could tour with two current bands of your choice tomorrow, what bands would they be?

Giancarlo: Anyband that kicks ass that would give us exposure in the market of Hard Rock and Metal. I would love to do some Europe gigs if I could too!

Stone: Great answer! How true is this statement: “music mirrors life”.

Giancarlo: Thanks, I am gonna steal that for the next cd! Just kidding. I mean, in my life music has been the thing that I’ve connected with so often, with many people, wether if thats someone I meet thats a fan or it’s a genre or a rare band that I like that not everyone knows about. It’s how I connect with people thats all I can really say! Did you come up with that saying?

Stone: Um, well, I probably did come up with that saying. I think. (Laughs). Has Giancarlo’s wish come true with your incredible debut album or is this just the beginning?

Giancarlo: It’s nice when I get magazines from Germany, Italy, France and the States and I see myself in them. I do hope it takes off more and more of course, to where it becomes huge and we can play out live a lot and I can make more of a career of it. And I do want to say this, it’s not over till you decide it’s over and listening to negative and destructive people is a big mistake! I don’t care how close they were to me or how they were supposed to be my family or whatever. For once in my life, other than my kids, I’ve found something where as I put in all my efforts that the result has shown. The proof is in the album and shows that the doubters were wrong. When you believe in yourself and work hard you can do great things. Thats not just in music thats just in any goal in life!

Stone: Well said Giancarlo, well said. I wish nothing but the very best of success for your band and career! You Rock my Metal brutha!

Giancarlo: No problem and thank you Stone!

* For more info on FAITHSEDGE, just click on the links below:

FAITHSEDGE – Official Website

FAITHSEDGE – facebook




TRILLION RED – A Metal Odyssey Interview

Posted in ambient music, Extreme Metal, Heavy Metal, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive metal, progressive rock, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

TRILLION RED – It’s no secret that undergound music exists from the sprawling country sides of a Middle America to the back alleys, basements and lofts of rural cities worldwide. Underground Metal exists, has existed and shall never go extinct. Trillion Red is yet another example, as to why the underground scene is a music force that can never be underestimated. Trillion Red is a two-man band of (multi-instrumentalist & vocalist) Patrick Brown and Max Woodside on drums, evolving from San Francisco, California.

I have already labeled Trillion Red a Metal band, one that focuses on the ambient, progressive and extreme sides. The layers of instrumentation, diverse vocals and excellent musicianship has made me an admirer of the sound that Trillion Red has captured. The dark imagery that Trillion Red has me visualizing in my minds eye from their debut Two Tongues EP comes as an embraced bonus. Trillion Red is onto something and I’m on board for the ride.

Recently, Patrick and Max took the time to answer some questions that hopefully give their new fans an inside look into their music styles, tastes and influences. There is a complex process involved when a recording is being created, Patrick and Max touch on their thoughts and experiences of recording the Two Tongues EP as well. Here is what Patrick and Max had to say:

Stone: What’s the story behind the band being named “Trillion Red”?

Patrick: The usual. We go back and forth on what we like and dislike. There were a lot of disagreements and eventual realizations, that the last name we thought of was totally ridiculous or not as cool as we thought. This is one we just fell upon without any particular meaning or ideology and just instantly liked. It has a nice ring to it, sounds cool, isn’t affiliated with any particular genre, not cliché and symbolizes a mass scope of life, power, blood, and yes, death. To me it is more a visual existential feeling than an actual idea.

Max: Powerful name Trillion Red.  Vast numbers of intense Red. Besides, I felt close to all the great bands with color in their names. Evergrey, Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Shocking Blue, Frigid Pink, Cream, Savoy Brown, Deep Purple, Black Flag, Blue Oyster Cult, Yellowjackets, Maroon 5, Moody Blues, Whitesnake, etc..

Stone: If the opportunity ever came to pass, would you be interested in
creating a Horror movie soundtrack?

Patrick: Is our music that creepy? I never realized or even thought of our music as “dark” until I received feedback from listeners. The devil has got me all goosed up I suppose. But, to answer your question, yes, that would be a lot of fun.

Stone: What band or who is the musician you would say has had the most
influence on your music?

Patrick: Hmm….tough one.  I can be rather capricious with these kinds of questions. I tend to immensely like a certain genre or a few bands at one time, and after a while, my mood changes and I move on to something else.  So, depending on when you ask me, it would be a different musician. If had to pick a few musicians that have always been somewhere in my mind, it may be Allen Epley of Shiner and now, The Life and Times. He is a brilliant songwriter, guitarist and vocalist.  And Johan Edlund (vocalist/guitarist) of Tiamat (the old stuff mostly!)

Max: King Crimson, Rush, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Andromeda, Dark Moor, Chuck Brown, Terry Bozzio, Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Bill Bruford, Tommy Bolin, ELP, Yngwie Malmsteen. Mahavishnu Orchestra, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Vandenplas, Therion, Nightwish, Chick Corea, Al De Meola, Billy Cobham, Jean-luc Ponty and Patrick Ohearn.

Stone: How did you decide on the style of Metal that you would create and

Patrick: When writing the Two Tongues material (and new stuff coming), I didn’t even consciously consider it was “Metal”, so to speak. What you hear on this EP and will hear in the future are simply songs that I would want to hear myself. I never stopped to think, “geez, what kind of Metal do I want to sound like?”. It just never occurred to me.  This style of Metal I suppose is a conglomeration of everything I like and enjoy I suppose.  If it sounds like hip-hop (which it never ever will), then so be it.

Stone: Do you agree that music truly is a universal language?

Patrick:  Yeah. I’ve lived in China and Japan for many years, and have always found commonalties and camaraderie with others into the same music that don’t speak English. Although, to be fair, I do speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and some Japanese. Good times those were…

Max: The most universal language perhaps but certainly not the most objective art.

Stone: Somewhere, someone is listening to Trillion Red right now. Does this
thought put what you create as a musician into perspective?

Patrick:  I don’t think so.  When I write, it is a selfish act and process, it’s a place where there are no concern of others. It is a pleasant thought that somebody is listening to (and hopefully enjoying) my passion, but it doesn’t change anything other than me feeling more rewarded for my efforts, i.e., a happier guy.

Max: Cool thought. But only a thought. It’s nice that someone should listen to our music because the music is very good.  But, if nobody listened, we would still have fun making it.

Stone: What trials and how much fun was involved in writing and recording
your debut “two tongues ep”?

Patrick: The writing was a lot of fun. It always is. Max and I are not recording engineers or mixologists, and had no prior experience recording this EP.  So we had a steep learning curve with respect to creating a good sound and production (but it all turned out sounding excellent). So one can imagine there was a lot of wondering and worrying. I did all the sound engineering, recording and initially mixed the entire EP myself. I had a hard time getting the right sounding mix with all the instruments and layering.  I kept beating my head to the wall trying to get everything well represented in the mix. Eventually I came to realize that I didn’t carve out frequencies very well, and subsequently, the drums and vocals were buried. At that point, I renounced my mixing moniker and had a professional do it for us, under my direction though.  I had a blast during production though! That was my highlight. I really think the next go-around will be very enjoyable, because we know our true strengths and limits.

Max:  Profound fun with Patrick!  He lets me be creative and experiment. I think I understand the way he thinks now and he indeed has a great vision. Pat let’s me contribute, without being a petty tyrant as other bandleaders I’ve known were.

Stone: Will there be a full-length eventually from Trillion Red? Are you
approaching the writing and recording process any differently compared to
the first time around?

Patrick: Yes, we have 8 new songs we are preparing for a full-length album. Various parts of these new songs were written prior to and during the construction of the Two Tongue’s EP. We have put beats to 5 of them, and as soon as we do so with the last 3, we will start recording. I suspect we will release an album in very early 2012.

The writing on this record will have more ambient (or isn’t psychedelic the new cool trendy term to use?) breathing room.  Yet, it will still maintain a very dark and heavy pounding mood. Writing for me is very much like writing a story; there is a beginning, middle, and end.  I love songs that emotionally pull you up, take you down, or drag you across a droning path, only to pull you up, down, side ways and bleed the mind. That is what I am trying to do with this album, all of the above.

We will indeed be recording differently. There will be a lot more attention paid to sound engineering (like microphone placement on the drums) and engineering a much better bass guitar sound.  I will also be doing some different recording techniques on the guitar and unifying my vocal style a bit. We’ll see how it turns out!

Stone: Have any record labels shown interest in Trillion Red thus far? I feel
there should be strong interest from labels in what you have created with
the “two tongues ep”.

Patrick: None so far.  I just started sending our EP to labels. I originally wanted to be independent. Since we currently aren’t playing live, I didn’t see what a label really could do for us. But after learning a bit more about the way things work in the world of underground Metal and the strain promotion takes on “time” in my life, it made more since to have a label as a supporter. Therefore, we have just recently shifted gears towards finding a lablel.

10 – If you could seek out one “well known” guest musician for your next
album, who would that be and why?

Patrick: Possibly Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver.  The guy is an amazing vocalist. Truly inspiring and very original! His unique take on vocal presentation and a pull away from traditional choruses and melodies would run beautifully with some of my material I think.

Stone: As a multi-instrumentalist, how important is it to focus on song
structure and balance?

Patrick: Song Structure and balance is extremely important. A song doesn’t necessarily require original riffs, melodies or hooks, it is how it is presented, structured, and layered, that will ultimately make or break it.  One of my biggest pet peeves with Metal bands (or most bands) is that they don’t know when to shut up, there is so much riffing/vocal masturbation, that bands lose sight of what it means to simply put a good well-rounded song together. Many just concentrate on perceived cool ideas (mostly redundant) and try to glue shit on shit with unnecessary bridges and breaks. I would suspect producers have a lot to blame for this phenomenon too. Originality is great, but if you can’t put the pieces together correctly, it loses its appeal very quickly.

Slayer’s Reign in Blood is an exemplar of structure and balance.  The freaking album is what, something like 30 minutes? Each song is tight, powerful and doesn’t linger one bit. It has zero filler! Its’ balance and structure is perfect. I strive for that kind of bluntness. However, as I like to structure songs as emotional stories that walk you to the side, up, down, and more to the side, I can’t afford to be as cut and dry. I also totally love style structures like Burzum’s Filosofem, an ambient antithesis of Reign in Blood being long, winded, spacey, rich… a beautiful record!  I guess you could say I am now trying to structure and balance my songs like Reign in Blood and Filosofem – to the point, not too much fluff, but some good fluff for sure, and then get on with it!

Stone: Where can fans buy your music?

Patrick: You can buy the Two Tongues CD on our website: . It is $5, including postage in the USA. Buyers outside the US will be quoted pending country/location. MP3s can be purchased via Amazon, iTunes, and a lot of other places too.

We are planning on doing some t-shirts and possibly releasing Two Tongues on 10” vinyl soon. It all depends on how the label thing shakes out. Thanks for the interview. Good questions.

Stone: Thank you Patrick and Max!

* For more info on TRILLION RED, click on the links below:

TRILLION RED – Official Website

TRILLION RED – myspace music

* To read my review on two tongues ep, (posted on Metal Odyssey April 21, 2011), click on the big header link below:

TRILLION RED – two tongues ep: Take A Dark Descent Into An Ambient Metal Abyss



HEMOPTYSIS – A Metal Odyssey Interview With Masaki Murashita

Posted in Extreme Metal, Heavy Metal, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, Thrash Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

(Photo credit: Eyeful Images Photographic Arts)

HEMOPTYSISMasaki Murashita is the founder, lead singer and guitarist for Hemoptysis, a Thrash Metal band from Phoenix, Arizona. Masaki wears a lot of hats these days, while making certain the world is being properly introduced to Hemoptysis. The blending of Extreme Metal styles is what makes Hemoptysis stand-out from the Metal pack. With some Death Metal grooves and occasional shades of Blackened vocal tones from Masaki, these attributes just seem to make the Thrash he and his band have created all the more relevant and unique in 2011. The overriding “Old School” Thrash style and sound of Hemoptysis is the driving force behind the songs heard on their debut full-length – Misanthropic Slaughter.

The “do-it-yourself” work ethic of this band, led by Masaki, released their debut album independently on March 8th, 2011. Since then, the critical response from all over the globe has been nothing short of exhilarating for a band that has justifiably earned it. Masaki is young and driven, with a professional air about him that I cannot help admire. This is a musician in Metal that has a keen sense of awareness for the business side of the recording industry. At the end of the Metal day, it is Masaki’s musical proficiency that he combines with his band’s impressive Metal skills that has left me rather awestruck, ever since my first listen to Misanthropic Slaughter.

I recall wondering and writing, how long can Hemoptysis be left unsigned to a label? This band could not be overlooked for long, however. On March 8th, 2011, the very day that Misanthropic Slaughter was released, it was announced that Rock It Up/IceWarrior Records from Germany signed a licensing deal with Hemoptysis. Metal be thy name, I felt proud for Masaki and his band. It’s a deserved leap forward into eventual Metal stardom. Hemoptysis has Metal stock that is rising fast, so my best advice is to invest your Metal time and money wisely and pick up Misanthropic Slaughter… you surely want to be a part of Thrash Metal and Metal history in the making.

Masaki Murashita is one cool Metal gentleman to speak with. I cannot resist supporting his Metal career and insanely impressive band known as Hemoptysis. Here is what Masaki had to say:

Stone: Just how did Hemoptysis evolve?

Masaki: Travis and I met through a mutual friend in April of 2007.  We started the band in June of 2007 when I found a larger practice space and another guitarist.  We got Sunao to play bass for us in early 2008.  Initially, I wasn’t the singer.  We had a different singer for a few months. After the original singer left, I took over on vocals.  We went through a few lead guitarists until we got Ryan Miller, who is also in a band called Excessive Bleeding.

Stone: How proud are you and the guys for getting signed to Rock It Up/IceWarrior Records?

Masaki: We all are very proud of it. We finally found a label that believes in us. They offered the most fair deal by far and it showed long term interest in our career. We are truly honored and we will continue working hard.

Stone: Metallica “Master Of Puppets” versus Slayer “Reign In Blood”. Which album is better and why? No, you can’t give a “tie” for an answer! (LOL)

Masaki: It’s a tough question since I grew up listening to both albums, but I’d say “Master of Puppets” because that record definitely inspired me to play Metal.

Stone: How have the live gigs been going for you? Tell us about your charity gigs too!

Masaki: It’s been really fun! The charity gig was especially awesome simply because the venue used to be a church and playing songs like “Who Needs A Shepherd?” was just priceless.

Stone: Can you update us on your family and friends well being in Japan?

Masaki: They are all doing well. Thank you! Japanese people are strong. Though it may take some time, they are working really hard to bring back their normal life.

Stone: What do you feel is lacking in today’s Heavy Metal climate when it comes to marketing and promotion?

Masaki: Team work. Everybody needs to work together to keep the scene. Bands can’t expect to get their name out and bring people to their shows without working hard. Same thing to fans. If you would like to see your favorite bands, you need to show them support by spreading the word and buying their merchandise and music. Promoters, venues, and labels also need to do their job and promote the shows to support the bands and the scene. Everybody is becoming greedy nowadays, but at the end of the day, we all need to survive and work together to sustain.

Stone: What inner and outside influence(s) did you and the band draw from, to write and record such a kick ass and Old School album of Metal?

Masaki: I have heavy influence from old school Thrash. Our drummer, Travis, and our lead guitarist, Ryan, are death metal guys. Our bassist, Sunao, listens to everything, including non-Metal stuff. We all have different backgrounds and that makes our music unique when everybody’s ideas blend together.

Stone: Tell the world… what veteran band do you feel Hemoptysis should open up for on a major tour and why?

Masaki: Megadeth, Carcass, Exodus, Testament to name a few. Those bands are just a few of the core influences of our sound and we think the people who are into those bands would like us.

Stone: Are you guys currently writing new Metal material for the next album?

Masaki: Yes. We are already working on the material for the next record.

Stone: With so much critical praise, from so many outlets, for “Misanthropic Slaughter”, are you shocked, knew it was coming or just humbled?

Masaki: We weren’t sure what was going to happen.  We knew we liked it but we weren’t 100% sure what people would think.  A lot of people liked our EP, “Who Needs A Shepherd?,” and gave it good reviews, so we were pretty sure people would like this better since the quality of the recording is so much better.  We also grew as musicians and switched to an even better lead guitarist, so we felt pretty confident about good reviews coming in.  We consider ourselves pretty humble, though.

Stone: What band that you’ve seen perform live left you awestruck?

Masaki: D.R.I. We opened for them last September and we were amazed how much their fans love them. The crowd was nuts! We’ve never seen that crazy of a pit and crowd at the venue in which we played. Much respect to them for being one of the most legendary “Do It Yourself (DIY)” bands.

Stone: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans as we close out?

Masaki: If you like our music, please buy our music and support us. We would like to tour and play enough cities, both in the U.S. and abroad, only we cannot do this without our fans supporting us.


Masaki Murashita – vocals & guitar

Ryan Miller – lead guitar

Sunao Arai – bass

Travis Thune – drums

* For more info on HEMOPTYSIS, click on the links below:

HEMOPTYSIS – Official Website

HEMOPTYSIS – myspace music


HEMOPTYSIS – bandcamp page

Rock It Up / IceWarrior Records

* Metal Odyssey reminds those who want to help out our great friends in Japan, to click on the link below for assistance:




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