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Silver, Josh (Type O Negative)

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Type O Negative's Josh SilverType O Negative’s Peter Steele: Nihilist. Pessimist. Masochist. Atheist.
A real glass-half-empty kind of guy.

And then…
Devout Roman Catholic.

Just when you thought you knew someone.

“We’ve been together so long that there’s nothing Peter can do that would shock me,” says the seemingly ever-deadpan Josh Silver, Type O Negative’s keyboardist and album producer, of Steele’s surprising spiritual conversion. “Probably the only thing he could do that would stun me at this point is to become normal.”

When you’ve known someone for 26 years and have toured across the world with them for 17—as Silver has with Steele and fellow Type O Negative bandmates Kenny Hickey (guitar) and Johnny Kelly (drums)—you’ve certainly gained a unique perspective. But it’s hard to imagine that even Silver would have envisioned some of the lyrical content that Steele presented for the band’s long awaited new disc, Dead Again, which was released in mid-March on SPV/Steamhammer Records, their first since departing the Roadrunner label. Of Dead Again’s 10 tracks, three—”The Profits of Doom,” “An Ode To Locksmiths” and the album’s centerpiece, “These Three Things” —contain direct references to biblical passages and themes. “These Three Things” even goes so far as to blatantly condemn abortion: “The child is torn from the womb unbaptised/There’s no question it’s infanticide… /At the end I’ll escort you to hell, the dark one’s forces lock your flaming cell/To murder the ones unborn, the worst sin you’ve ever performed.”

Type O Negative's Dead Again“I’m not going to tell you that I agree with all of the lyrics; I like a lot of the lyrics, though I couldn’t quite possibly ever agree with the moral message,” says Silver, noting that despite his Jewish heritage, he remains an atheist. “My concern is not necessarily with the views expressed in the lyrics, but with the quality and professional level of the lyrics. The lyrics for “Profits of Doom” [which deals with the Old Testament’s Book of Revelation and a coming apocalypse via the asteroid Apophis, which reportedly has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Earth in 2036—Ed.]—I don’t agree with them; but metaphorically, through the use of language, they’re very clever. Honestly, I’d rather deal with a guy whose views I don’t agree with than a guy who has no views. Probably 90 percent of music today is mediocre, view-less shit. Type O has always had opinions; sometimes they’re horrific, sometimes they’re depressed, but we’ll always have opinions.”

Type O Negative fans have their opinions as well and some are expressing their bewilderment—and even disappointment—with Steele’s conversion. In his typical matter-of-fact tone, Silver defends his friend.

“Peter is the writer of the lyrics, and he is entitled to have his opinion,” he says. “Every album has different messages, because different shit happens to you in your life. This time around, these are the messages. I know some of the fans are bitching about it, but hey, that’s life.”

But what is so unusual about Peter Steele, Type O Negative’s mouthpiece, becoming Roman Catholic? Don’t people convert to new religions every day? In order to understand why Steele’s resolve has shocked so many, a bit of context is in order.

Exclusive chat with Type O Negative's Josh SilverTHE ORIGINS OF THE NEGATIVE

As the 1970s came to a close and disco (thankfully) began to die its polyester ensconced, cocaine fueled, sequin encrusted death, a Brooklyn-based metal band by the name Fallout formed to little fanfare. Four teenagers—Steele, Silver, John Campos and Louie Beato—bashed their way through three years of gigs and one EP before the quartet called it quits in 1982.

Remaining friends, Silver went on to form the band Original Sin, while Steele launched the three-piece metal-meets-hardcore-punk act, Carnivore. Though little is known of Original Sin’s history, Carnivore achieved a strong cult following within New York City’s underground metal scene in the mid-1980s. If pummeling songs like “Jesus Hitler,” “Male Supremacy,” “Race War” and “Sex and Violence” didn’t warrant the band’s status as one of the most brutal on the NYC circuit, their unabashedly violent, politically incorrect lyrics did.

“You gang raped mother nature/blood poured from the earth/she suffered and she died/rusty scissors still in hand you castrated father time/feed his balls to the hounds that drink his cum like wine,” exclaims Steele in the Carnivore track, “God is Dead.” Tongue-in-cheek? More like a bitten and bloodied tongue spewing venom at various targets, including societal ills, organized religion, and anything or anyone else—including himself—that drew Steele’s ire.

Despite the modest success that Carnivore enjoyed, the band folded after just two albums. Steele relinquished his bass guitar and traded it in for gardening tools, as he began a stint working for the New York City Parks Department. But just as another era of music was about to close— this time, it was hair metal’s turn to exit stage left— Silver lured Steele into another band, this time with childhood pals Kenny Hickey and Sal Abruscato. While they toyed with such names as Subzero and Repulsion, the band eventually dubbed themselves—you guessed it—Type O Negative, a moniker that has proven to be appropriate throughout the band’s history in sound, style and attitude.

Exclusive chat with Type O Negative's Josh SilverAlbums such as 1991’s Slow, Deep and Hard, 1993’s Bloody Kisses, 1996’s October Rust and 1999’s World Coming Down waxed and waned between hardcore metal, synth-driven goth, straight up rock and bludgeoning doom, all woven together to produce a truly unique formula. Lyrically, Steele enjoyed employing his sarcastic and biting sense of humor at the familiar targets. The most glaring example of this can be seen in what may very well be one of the band’s biggest “hits,” Bloody Kisses’ “Christian Woman.” In this nine-minute epic, Steele’s lyrics vividly portray a woman who is sexually infatuated (and that’s putting it mildly) with the image of Jesus Christ on the cross. But all’s well that ends well— Steele is able to gain the woman’s affections because, as he puts it, “Jesus Christ looks like me.” Blasphemy be damned.

On this and other albums, tracks like “We Hate Everyone,” “Kill All the White People,” “Everything Dies,” “All Hallows Eve,” “World Coming Down” and “Unsuccessfully Coping With the Natural Beauty of Infidelity” (aka “I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else”) touched on such, shall we say, “less-than-Christian” topics as suicide (Steele attempted it), infidelity, Halloween, paganism, atheism and substance abuse.

But in the past few years, two of these lyrical themes may have provided the impetus for Steele’s role reversal. After learning that his girlfriend had cheated on him, Steele reportedly beat the guy badly enough that he was forced to endure a brief stint at New York’s Rikers Island prison. At around the same time, Steele entered a rehab facility for his cocaine and alcohol addiction, and also spent some time in the psych ward at the Kings County Hospital. Dead Again’s “Some Stupid Tomorrow” seems to sum up the experience: “I can’t play god, forgiveness is hard/Punching in walls to prove I’ve got balls only got me busted knuckles/Therapy is slow, and jail is a no, a rotting tit on which I suckle.” Sunday mass became Steele’s elixir.

Still, as is clearly evident on Dead Again, while the some of the lyrics may be different, the band’s signature musical style remains blessedly intact.

“He’s still angry and neurotic,” muses Silver, adding, “now he’s just an angry, neurotic Catholic.”

Exclusive chat with Type O Negative's Josh SilverTHE DEAD AGAIN DEMOCRACY

Upon first listen, Dead Again appears to showcase the familiar and successful Type O formula. But although it may be subtle, there are, in fact, two major differences between Dead Again and almost any other Type O Negative disc. First, unlike all previous Type O efforts, Steele did not walk into the studio with completed songs. Instead, the album took on a “jam” vibe as the band actually wrote the songs in the studio collaboratively. This approach has given Dead Again a separate identity in the Type O catalogue, one that Silver admits was lacking with their last studio effort, 2003’s Life is Killing Me.

“Life is Killing Me was like the summation of all our previous works, but it did lack its own identity,” says Silver. “But (Dead Again) has that. It has more of an early ‘70s, late ‘60s hard rock edge; it’s a little more jammy. After having put out so much material in our lives, we left things a little more open-ended this time. We had less of a definitive idea going into the studio; as it turns out, it was kind of a good thing to do. So (Dead Again) is a little closer to hard rock and classic rock. I hate to use that term “classic rock” because it makes me sound old. But I am fuckin’ old, so that’s life.”

The second major difference involves drummer Johnny Kelly— actually, the fact that Dead Again involves Johnny Kelly is the difference. For the first time since 1993’s Bloody Kisses, Type O Negative utilized live drums in the album’s recording process. On the last three Type O CDs, the drums were actually programmed in the studio and allowed no room for creativity from Kelly, who joined the band in 1994. On Dead Again there are several tracks, such as “Tripping a Blind Man,” “Halloween in Heaven,” “Some Stupid Tomorrow” and the catchy title track, that seem to be set up by Kelly’s up-tempo beats.

Excluisve chat with Type O Negative's Josh Silver“I’m not going to contribute all of (the direction of Dead Again) to the live drums, but it did bring in an element that pushed things in a direction that was good; the songs became a little more upbeat sounding,” says Silver, though alluding to the notion that he may have liked some of Dead Again to contain more of the “doom” elements that Type O has become known for over the years. “Ultimately, I think it’s just harder to play slower (with a live drummer); it’s harder for a “live” drummer to pull (the tempo) back to something that’s just so slow … which I missed also, songs like “White Slavery” [from World Coming Down], which is one of the most brutal songs we’ve ever done in our lives. I want to die when I hear it. And I like that.”

While certain facets of Type O’s world have changed on Dead Again, Silver’s substantial contributions remain the same. Along with producing every aspect of the recording process, Silver’s keyboard work, though perhaps more subtle on Dead Again than past efforts like October Rust, is nevertheless a key component to the quartet’s sound. Silver’s skills are showcased most obviously on “September Sun,” a rare ballad (of sorts) and disc highlight; yet on other tracks, he challenges the traditional definition of “keyboard player.”

“On October Rust, for example, a lot of the stuff that people think is keyboards is guitars and the stuff that people think is guitars is keyboards,” says Silver. “It doesn’t really matter what instrument does what for us; we use every instrument every way we can, and we don’t really worry about who’s doing what as long as the vibe gets through and the feeling gets across. Even a song like “These Three Things,” those leads at the end are keyboards and not guitar. There is no set job for any instrument, at least in the traditional sense. Even in some fully distorted parts, there’s some keyboard in there. It just has distortion all over it. The keyboards (on Dead Again) are less obvious. But in a rock environment, we do what feels normal. We use anything we can do to put it across.”

Exclusive chat with Type O Negative's Josh SilverSTART THE ENGINGES ON THE ROAD MACHINE

After more than three years off from touring, the band finally hit the road in late March 2007 to support Dead Again. Silver readily acknowledges that Type O Negative would not be where they are today without the constant touring they’ve done throughout their career, especially in their earlier days supporting Bloody Kisses and October Rust with such acts as Ozzy and Pantera, and their thousands of headlining dates around the world. Though Silver suggests with indignation that the record industry is a “dead industry”—adding that he prefers the studio to the road— he accepts the fact that it’s the grueling tour schedule that has kept Type O Negative thriving for almost two decades. It also gives the band the opportunity to play songs from Dead Again live, which Silver explains is more challenging than most might think.

“There’s a lot of technical bullshit involved in putting a song together (to play live); I have to retrieve samples and put them into foot pedals so I can play them on tour,” says Silver, noting that the band is currently playing three tracks from Dead Again, “These Three Things,” “Halloween in Heaven” and “Profits of Doom”, at each show “It’s a bitch to get them ready. We may try to put some other new songs into the set, but it will mean that I’ll have to spend a lot of time at soundcheck trying to get them ready and incorporate them in. And it really interferes with my drinking.”

All kidding aside, Silver also acknowledges the challenge Type O Negative has of putting together a set list that both they and their fans will be satisfied with. And with six full studio albums to choose from—many of which have very long songs—it becomes an even greater challenge with each tour. The reality is, not everyone will be happy. And Silver isn’t— at least with the inclusion of one song in particular.

“Can we play a Type O show and not play “Black No. 1” [from Bloody Kisses, perhaps the band’s biggest single—Ed.]? To be honest, I’d like to,” admits Silver. “I’m fucking sick to shit of that song. Do fans expect it? The rest of the band seems to think so. Me, I would love to leave it out. I would be delighted if I didn’t have to play “Black No. 1″ for the rest of my life.”

Which leads to the next, obvious questions: Is there one song that Silver could ever see the band not playing live? And are there some songs that he’d love to play but, for whatever reason, the band cannot?

“One song I would never not want to play is “Christian Woman,” because even though “Black No. 1” may have been the more popular choice off of Bloody Kisses, I think “Christian Woman” is a much better written song in my mind,” says Silver. “There are a few songs that are brutal that I’d love to play; songs like “Prelude to Agony” [from Slow, Deep and Hard]. But that’s 12 minutes of dirge; you’d kill people with that song. Actually, my dream is to come out and do a set that injures people sonically. They’re on their knees, begging us to stop playing—but we lock the doors so they can’t get out.”

Thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat with Dread Central! For more information on Type O Negative, be sure visit their official website or their MySpace page. And don’t miss them on their latest tour, dates for which can be found at both locations!

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Exclusive: Director Dennis Bartok and Lead Shauna MacDonald Talk Nails

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With writer and director Dennis Bartok’s feature film Nails having bowed Friday on VOD via Dark Sky Films, here’s a bit of our interview with the flick’s filmmaker, Cinelicious Pics Head of Distribution and General Manager of the American Cinematheque Bartok (he wears many hats), as well as the film’s star, Shauna MacDonald (of The Descent series).

Nails revolves around “…track star Dana Milgrom (MacDonald), who, having survived a near-death car accident, finds herself almost completely paralyzed and trapped inside her own body, and while recovering, she becomes convinced that some evil presence exists inside her hospital room and is intent on killing her,” and was executive produced by Joseph Kaufman (Assault on Precinct 13) and produced by Brendan McCarthy (Cherry Tree, The Hallow).

Bartok, who previously wrote and produced the 2006 feature anthology film Trapped Ashes, said of his approach to the narrative of Nails, “It’s very ‘anti-flight.’ Most horror movies are built around the idea that you are running away from something. The Halloween and Friday the 13th movies, there’s a mysterious creature that’s trying to track you down, or conversely you are walking into some horrible haunted house that nobody in their right mind would ever go into, for example, The Woman in Black, which is a really terrifying film. But from the very first moment Daniel Radcliffe’s character goes up to the front of that house, the audience says, ‘Turn around! Get the hell out of there! You are going to die!’ And of course he walks in. So I was really fascinated by a narrative in which the lead character was physically trapped in one space, and actually trapped in her own body. So I thought a lot about narratives like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Sea Inside and Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where the protagonist is physically handicapped and forced to confront that, so both as a writer and as a filmmaker and for Shauna it was a huge challenge, in that how do you make that (type of story) kinetic and compelling, and how do you build suspense when the lead character is trapped in the bed for eighty percent of the story?”

MacDonald said of the script’s appeal, which is a departure in ways from the action-packed The Descent films for which she’s most known, “Oddly, I don’t want to be labeled a horror girl, although the older I get, the cooler I think that sounds. Certainly in the UK they like to fit you in the box of low-budget horror films, and every year after The Descent (films) I get scripts to read, and some of them would say, ‘OK, the lead actress is tied to a stained mattress in her underwear,’ and I would be like, ‘Next!’ and for me, I knew it would be a massive acting challenge to play the lead (as it was written) in Nails, someone who is bed-ridden and paranoid and can’t speak. Her physical journey and her emotional journey is what attracted me to the role.”

“I think it’s important also that she has self-doubt,” MacDonald continues of her role, “and that she thinks she may be having a mental breakdown. No one else is seeing the things she is seeing or experiencing what she is experiencing, so I thought upon that a lot, and also I thought, as a mother of three girls myself, that the character’s connection with her daughter in the script was really heart-wrenching, and I love mother/daughter stories.”

Filmmaker Bartok added, “I thought very much about the bond between a mother and her daughter while writing it, and the sacrifice a parent would make in order to protect their child, and that was one of the main themes from the very beginning. When I set out to make the film I knew that there were two things that I needed to make it work. One was that I needed to make it scary, and to really unnerve people, and to build that suspense and a rising tension throughout, and the second thing was, that I’d really need someone amazing to play the character of Dana, because she’s in nearly every scene of the film, and we experience the story entirely through her perception. And if we hadn’t cast someone with Shauna’s acting gifts, the film would have fallen flat.”

In regards to casting the film’s antagonist, the gaunt, towering and ghostly figure of ‘Nails,’ Bartok states of actor British Richard Foster-King, of which he’d been introduced to via an audition tape for an entirely different movie, “Richard had done these beautiful movements (in that tape), as if he was swimming in the air and elongating his arms, and I think he had even crawled along the floor at one point. And as soon as I saw that tape, I said, ‘That’s it. That’s Eric Nillson. That’s Nails!’ And the producers, because they wanted to keep the budget as low as possible, had wanted to hire local actors out of Dublin, and I would look at those tapes, and they were OK, but I felt we really needed to get Richard. So bit by bit I kept saying, ‘No,’ to these other suggestions, and finally I was able to convince them to bring Richard in from London.”

As for the evolution of the character, which itself possesses some of the nuanced tragedy of Universal’s classic monsters, Bartok stated, “It was really fascinating because we had reached out to several gothic, surreal artists who had been recommended to me by various friends, and asked them to submit concept designs, and the one that we liked the best, and they were all actually excellent, was by a French photographic artist named Nihil, who takes photographs and then manipulates them digitally. So Nihil did an amazingly creepy concept, which provided the blueprint as to how we approached the character’s design. There were several steps in getting it onto the screen, though. Maybe seventy-five percent of it came from Richard’s physicality and his on screen presence, and the rest could only be achieved digitally, and we brought in an incredibly gifted visual effects artist named Eli Dorsey, who had worked on Ted Geoghegan’s film We Are Still Here. And Eli created the milky white eyes, and the dentures which kind of sit outside the palate, and the ghostly pallor. But primarily, I think its Richard’s performance which makes the character, an evil tormenting character who is also tormented, so very haunting.”

Nails also stars Ross Noble, Steve Wall, and Charlotte Bradley. You can watch the film on iTunes.

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Exclusive: studioADI and 20th Century Fox Unveil Stunning Alien 3 and Resurrection Art Collection

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Today, Yahoo! Movies have announced that studioADI, who we’ve seen this year in IT and will see next year in The Predator and in 2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products have launched The studioADI Collection, a new initiative that will see the award-winning FX studio create art inspired by Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. The pieces that will come from this collection are not to be confused as collectible figures but should rather be seen as high-quality works of art as each one will be hand-crafted based on original molds and they will then be individually painted. Prices will range from $250 to $4,000 and they will go on sale beginning December 1st through Big Cartel.

StudioADI’s Alec Gillis states, “The studioADI collection is our tribute to the films that have been an important part of our legacy as artists. Each piece of art reflects the same detail and passion we poured into the characters when we created the original Alien films.

Tom Woodruff Jr. adds, “This is the collection designed for fans of these entries into the Alien franchise as well as aficionados of the art of creatures and monsters of iconic pedigree.

The studioADI Collection will include the following seven pieces:
Queen Alien Embryo from Alien³
Newborn Alien Design Maquette Bust from Alien: Resurrection
Newborn Alien Full Body Design Maquette from Alien: Resurrection
Swimming Alien Study Model from Alien: Resurrection
1:1 Alien Warrior Half Head from Alien: Resurrection
1:1 Newborn Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection
1:3 Scale Queen Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection

These are descriptions of two of these items:
“The Newborn” from Alien: Resurrection was the terrifying mix of human and Alien DNA gone wrong. This Full-Scale Bust is cast from hand-laid translucent polyester resin from ADI’s original production molds and is painted to the same exacting specifications by ADI’s painter who painted the character for the original film. The piece measures 30″x20″x40″

“The Queen Alien Embryo” was seen in David Fincher’s Alien³ was nestled next to the beating heart of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver. Cast in translucent urethane and hand painted by the same ADI artists who created the piece for the film in 1991.
At 7″ x 9″ this piece of art is perfect for desktop display.

Here are images of some of these pieces:

We got our hands on three exclusive images from this collection that add a glorious vision of how detailed and intricate these pieces are going to get.

The first image is of the back of the 1:3 scale Queen Alien Head from Alien: Resurrection. You can see that every square inch of the design is tended to and that no stone is left unturned when it comes to the mold and paint.

The second image shows the Newborn Alien Full Body Design Maquette from Alien: Resurrection from a wide, almost full-front angle. You can really see the spindly, almost delicate structure to its body while also being intimately aware of the grotesque yet hypnotizing physique.

Lastly, the third image is a closeup of the Queen Alien Embryo from Alien³. Here you can see just how detailed the mold is, each wrinkle and crease in the Xenomorph’s body etched finely and with precision.

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Whatever Happened to Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

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Back in April of 2007, we all sat in our local darkened theater and watched as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation double feature Grindhouse (review) blew the roof off the place for 3 hours straight.

Well, it’s ten years later, and I think we are all asking ourselves the same question: Where the hell is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

Like every other human out there, I enjoyed both Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films – along with the fake trailers by Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright – but the big takeaway was Eli Roth’s faux trailer for the greatest 80’s slasher that never was.

So what happened to the feature?

Well, Roth was originally working on the feature back in 2007 after finishing his work helming Hostel: Part II, telling Cinema Blend:

“I’ve been working on the script with my co-writer, Jeff Rendell, who plays the pilgrim in the trailer,” Roth told the site. “And it’s me imitating Jeff’s voice [for the narration]. But Jeff has been working. I said that his deal is he has to work on the script while I’m promoting The Last Exorcism, and as soon as I’m done in mid-September he’s going to fly to California, we’re going to sit down, and bang out the script.”

But then the planned film died out as Grindhouse flopped at the box-office. Following the film’s underperformance, all talks surrounding Edgar Wright and Eli Roth’s Grindhouse double feature spin-off were silenced in a single weekend.

In fact, the last update we received on the possible standalone Thanksgiving film was last year when Roth did a Reddit AMA, and said this about the film’s current development:

“Have a draft not totally happy with. I want to put some more work into it so the film lives up to the trailer. We have the story and mythology cracked so now it’s about getting the kills right.”

Nice. Seemed like the film was making some headway. Nothing to do but gut the T’s and cut the heads off the I’s. But then nothing happened. At all. No updates. No nothing.

With that in mind, we here at Dread Central decided to reach out to Roth personally and see if there were any new happenings in regards to the film. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach him so I guess we’ll all just have to keep wondering and waiting.

Maybe it’s the pressure he no doubt feels making the much loved faux trailer into a feature. After all, he did say this back in 2007: “No matter how many movies I make my whole life, that two-and-a-half minute trailer is what I’ll be remembered for: ‘Eli Roth — he had a guy fucking a turkey with a decapitated head on it.’”

Or maybe the rights to the film were just tied up with the now infamous Weinstein company. But with that company finally going under (thank God) maybe now the rights could be sold off to new producers and finally, we’ll see not only Thanksgiving but features based on Don’t and possibly even Werewolf Women of the S.S.

But I dream…

Until we get the full-length feature flick of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, we can always look back on the comments he made to Rolling Stone way back in April of 2007, in which he talked a bit about the Pilgrim’s backstory.

“My friend Jeff… we had the whole movie worked out,” Roth told the magazine. “A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town.”

Jesus, please us. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the f*cking perfect setup/backstory for an 80’s slasher throwback flick set on Thanksgiving.

So ten years later, let me be the one to come right out and say it: Please, Eli Roth, make Thanksgiving. Please. Every horror fan in the world would thank you. Forever.

Sigh…

We’ll make sure to update this article in another ten years.

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