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VIRUS

Experimental/Post Metal • Norway


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Virus biography
Obscure Norwegian Avant-Garde Metal band VIRUS was formed in 2000 by Carl-Michael Eide (also known as "Czral", "Aggressor") on guitars and vocals, Petter "Plenum" Berntsen (AUDIOPAIN) on bass guitar and Einar "Esso" Sjurso (INFERNÖ) on drums. VIRUS was meant to be a musical continuation of Eide's previous group VED BUENS ENDE, which had released only one full-length album at the time, however, VIRUS's approach to songwriting also changed with the new adherents hired by "Czral". The self-taught minds of VIRUS were influenced by a diverse variety of groups, from VOIVOD to TALKING HEADS, from MILES DAVIS to SODOM, from TORTOISE to UNIVERS ZERO... This explains how the group's only album to date, titled "Carheart", which was released in 2003 on Ulver's label Jester Records, managed to incorporate elements of rock, jazz, pop, electronic and metal music into their sound. However, as complex and genre transcending VIRUS's sound is, the songwriting is also in top shape, being harmonic in its unique way and also borrowing the eerie atmosphere that was first present in VED BUENS ENDE's music.

The group hasn't yet released any more albums, however, the last known VIRUS line-up has reformed as VED BUENS ENDE in 2006 together with Yusaf "Vicotnik" Parvez (a previous VBE member), and are expected to play VIRUS material live in addition to VBE catalog.

VIRUS's only album "Carheart" is highly recommended to the followers of the Norwegian Post-Black scene, as well as all fans of technical and avantgarde, yet eerie and atmospheric music. Recommended but not limited to fans of ULVER, VOIVOD, CYNIC and others!



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Discography:
Carheart, studio album (2003)

Virus official website

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Buy VIRUS Music


LocuraLocura
Import
Sony Import 2011
Audio CD$3.27
$13.85 (used)
Wadu WaduWadu Wadu
Import
Sony Import 2011
Audio CD$3.15
$7.82 (used)
AnalogueAnalogue
N-Soul Records
Audio CD$0.32 (used)
Nuestras 30 Mejores CancionesNuestras 30 Mejores Canciones
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 2007
Audio CD$6.32
$28.00 (used)
RelaxRelax
Import
Sony Import 2011
Audio CD$3.15
$12.28 (used)
Superficies De PlacerSuperficies De Placer
Import
Sony Import 2011
Audio CD$3.28
$5.67 (used)
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More places to buy VIRUS music online Buy VIRUS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for VIRUS DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

VIRUS shows & tickets


  • PZG + Virus + Paik + more at Barometr, Warszawa on 11 Jul 2014
  • Til Dovre Faller 2014 on 19 Sep 2014
  • GBH + Virus + Drongos For Europe + more at Fleece, Bristol on 29 Nov 2014

VIRUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VIRUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.18 | 21 ratings
Carheart
2003
3.77 | 16 ratings
The Black Flux
2008
3.82 | 25 ratings
The Agent That Shapes The Desert
2011

VIRUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

VIRUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VIRUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 8 ratings
Oblivion Clock
2012

VIRUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Demo 2000
2009

VIRUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Carheart by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.18 | 21 ratings

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Carheart
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On Carheart, the blasted remnants of avant-black metal outfit Ved Buens Ende shudder into life again in the new form of Virus. This time, the black metal focus which had kept Ved Buens Ende's sound anchored and coherent is set aside, resulting in freewheeling experimentation even more reminiscent of Mr Bungle. There are points where the band seem to be experimenting for experimentalism's sake and trying to feel out their new sound and songwriting preferences, and sometimes they make decisions which don't really add much aesthetically (the production applied to the vocals on the title track I find to be particularly pointless aesthetically), but on the whole it's an interesting grab-bag of ideas.

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 Oblivion Clock by VIRUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
3.67 | 8 ratings

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Oblivion Clock
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Oblivion Clock" is a compilation album by Norwegian avant garde rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Virulent Records/Duplicate Records in December 2012. Itīs sometimes refered to as an EP, but itīs actually a compilation of a four track EP featuring new recordings (only available on this release as far as I know), the two tracks from the rare 7" single that came with only 250 copies of the vinyl version of "The Agent That Shapes the Desert (2011)" and one unreleased track from "Carheart (2003)" sessions.

While there are notable differences in sound production between the tracks (all tracks feature a raw yet well sounding production), itīs actually amazing how well "Oblivion Clock" goes down as one consistent product. At least Iīm greatly entertained all the way through the relatively short playing time of 31:30 minutes. The music on the album is in the bandīs trademark dissonant avant garde rock/metal style. Itīs dark and sinister and delivered with a sense of carnival madness that only Virus master. While the music only borders metal, itīs often damn heavy and while itīs not always directly aggressive, thereīs aggression just underneath every note played, but also a deep despair. References to acts like Bauhaus and Joy Division arenīt completely wrong but the dissonance of Voivod is also a big part of Virus sound. Itīs however Carl-Michael Eideīs lunatic singing style thatīs the number one defining element in Virus sound. The man sounds positively deranged...

Because the tracks are compiled from different sessions, "Oblivion Clock" is a rather varied release. While all tracks are unmistakably the sound of Virus, tracks like the upbeat "Saturday Night Virus" and the Walker Brothers cover "Shutout" are a bit different from what I usually expect from Virus and I think it suits them well to branch out and try new and different things. Other highlights to me are the title track and "Inverted Escape".

Not all compilations featuring rare material and B-sides, which Iīd put "Oblivion Clock" in catagory with, are equally interesting or necessary for that matter, but "Oblivion Clock" is not one of those. Itīs in fact a very great release with material thatīs fully on par with anything the band have released on their preceeding studio albums. I find "Oblivion Clock" highly recommendable both to fans and to newcommers, who could do well by starting their Virus journey here. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

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 Carheart by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.18 | 21 ratings

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Carheart
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars The full-fledging arid dry daunting intimidating hilarious and beautiful masterpiece of metal.

There are few albums to which I go to more than this one. In many ways- it contradicts any and all stereotypes of Norwegian metal. Where the stereotypical Norwegian metal band will immediately bring you images of sharp and steep cliffs and fjords, daunting and freezing winters, the first thing I usually think about when I listen Virus is the desert. A flat, bare, empty, desert. Bizarre, dissonant, with production where everything just sounds so dry and compact. Czral (who is also well known as the drummer in Ved Buens Ende), the eternal genius he is, has a distortion so dry, crunchy, bare, that it almost makes my mouth dry really. The drum set is jazzy and punchy, with all drums tuned to sound tight and with minimal echo. All cymbals are incredibly crisp. And then that bass. Almost galloping, almost as if at times it's chasing those guitar lines. It all comes to indent in the end Czral's brilliant, arpeggio-picking, drop tuned guitar. The drop-C guitar tuning brings more than heaviness in this album, but darkness, the sort of darkness I get from a hallucinations, insanity. Czral's guitars are never showy, but they are what drive this album forward into new, twisted directions. It's not that this album is that heavy, it is that it is in conclusion so twisted, dark, somewhat insane, that metal seems the only logical choice to identify Virus as.

But the sound is so different! Not quite like anything I've heard. And one of the stronger trademarks of this album, is Kvohst's powerful, epic, sincere, croon. It's almost god like. Almost as if you're walking in a desert and he is speaking over you calling you a fallish mortal and making fun of your hair. Like he doesn't take anything you do with your life seriously. It is impressive and at times really funny. There's also quite an interesting use of ambient passages in between songs. Many of them actually consist of cars whizzing by (Carheart eh?), and a particularly powerful and creepy sampling from what I assume to be dialogue from a French movie.

Every tiniest little detailed was fine tuned, to give the album the correct atmosphere, to give it that Virus vibe. It is a joy to revisit this songs to find this little tweaks, to appreciate the powerful wall of sound which the guitar work display here. It is a sound that is so unforgettable, and in many ways inspiring and thought provoking. It is emotional as it is maniacal as it is beautiful.

I suggest you join the fun!

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 The Agent That Shapes The Desert by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 25 ratings

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The Agent That Shapes The Desert
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' - Virus (7/10)

From a country known for its relatively wintery landscapes like Norway, I would not have expected to hear an overtly desert-rock styled album, as I do with avant-garde rockers Virus and their third full length. From the ashes of legendary avant-metal act Ved Buens Ende came Virus, a band that has often been met with conflicting genre labels and categorizations, and all to their credit; they do bear a strikingly unique sound to them. 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' starts 2011 on quite a good note for these talented musicians, and while I cannot say that the magic of this album is all too suited to my tastes, I have no trouble seeing why fans of metal and avant-garde music alike are swooning over the record.

From a personal perspective, I see the music on Virus' 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' as being some sort of eccentric cross between fellow Norwegians Arcturus, and the latter- era Americana of drone pioneers Earth. Contrary to the 'metal' label that this band and album has been receiving alot, the sound is instead more rooted in a sort of jazz-inspired desert rock, full with dissonant riffing, strange song structures and odd time signatures to hold up the rear. Instrumentally, I must say that the music is incredible at painting some quirky imagery of a post-apocalyptic desert, complete with tumbleweed and wind-bitten cow skulls.

Where the sound of Virus starts to go wrong with me are primarily to do with the vocals of Czral. Feeling far too highly mixed in terms of volume, Czral's somewhat operatic croon really tends to grind against the sound of the album, feeling cheesy and even campy at times. Although I will admit that the voice does grow with each listen, the mixing issue remains an issue. Also, while melody is obviously not a big concern with alot of avant-garde music, Virus' fairly concise and riff-based music songwriting could have done with some hooks to add a more engaging quality to the music.

An excellent album on an instrumental level, although I still am not yet convinced by the vocal work even after several experiences with it. 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' will be sure to be an album that sticks around for quite a while on playlists, and while the desert rock style here doesn't much mesh with my personal tastes, I can certainly see this as certainly being one of the more unique albums to come out in 2011.

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 The Agent That Shapes The Desert by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 25 ratings

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The Agent That Shapes The Desert
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Agent That Shapes the Desert" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde rock/ metal act Virus. The album was co-released in February 2011 by Virulent Music/ Dublicate Records.

During the recording of the album Virus parted ways with Season of Mist and had to resort to alternative funding to complete the album. Therefore Virus announced on the Dublicate Records homepage that they encouraged fans to pre- order "The Agent That Shapes the Desert", in order for the band to be able to finish and release the album. So "The Agent That Shapes the Desert" is one of those albums that was forged with blood, sweat and tears (and with help from the dedicated fans). Not only did the band co-release the album on their own label Virulent Music, they are also responsible for paying for additional studio time, mastering, printing and promoting the album.

The music on the album continues the dark, twisted and bleak rock/ metal style that Virus have become known for. The vocals are bleak, monotone and desperate sounding, the guitar riffs are dissonant, twisted and open strings and chords are often used. The drums are laid back and cool and session bassist Bjeima plays some rather intriguing basslines. Take a listen to the bassline in the opening title track for an example of that.

As usual though there are enough twists and turns and unique sounding ideas to tell the album apart from the bandīs previous releases. First of all the production is very different from the bass heavy and dark production on "The Black Flux (2008)". The sound is lighter and the guitar has a distinct thin sound. Not thin in a negative sense, but the sound is purposely not very distorted or heavy. The compositions themselves also deviate some. So while the band definitely have what I would characterize as a core sound, they are not afraid to try new things. The rather progressive "Dead Cities Of Syria" and "Chromium Sun", the latter which features a semi-disco beat, are examples of songs where Virus incorporate new features into their core sound. The way Czral delivers his vocals in the title track is also a new element. An element I hope the band will explore further on subsequent releases. If the band were to start using more varied vocal styles, their releases could be even greater IMO. Speaking of varied vocal styles the closing track "Call Of The Tuskers" features a guest vocal performance by Garm (Ulver), which is never a bad thing.

As with the two predecessors "The Agent That Shapes the Desert" is an album that takes time to sink in and appreciate. Even though the music is mostly based on simple rock instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums ( there are also a few keyboard parts as far as I can hear), there are lots of details in the music that you probably wonīt catch on your first listen. "The Agent That Shapes the Desert" continues the high quality that Iīve come to expect from Virus and while I still feel the album hasnīt completely clicked with me yet and has the potential of growing even more on me over time, Iīll risk my neck and give out a 4 star rating. Itīs not everyday you come across an act as unique sounding as Virus and succesful innovation and experimentation is always something Iīm prepared to honour.

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 The Agent That Shapes The Desert by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 25 ratings

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The Agent That Shapes The Desert
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by madmike

3 stars Some interesting musical ideas going on here that end up getting drowned out by repetitive guitar riffage and sadly mediocre vocal work. The result is a meandering melange of various metal instrumentation that is occasionally entertaining but seldom engaging. The most notable sonic comparisons that come to mind from listening through would be Opeth and Mastodon, although the total package is one that takes on a life of its own, muddled efforts from Czral notwithstanding.

That being said, I would pay very good money to see an extended jam session between this band's drummer and bassist - they steal the show and make the album at least worth listening to (to the point where fans of extremely rhythm-driven avant-garde metal may want to treat this as a four-star review - Einz and Bjeima are that good).

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 The Black Flux by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 16 ratings

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The Black Flux
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Black Flux" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian experimental rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2008. Virus is the brainchild of Czral (Carl-Michael Eide) who handles vocals and guitars. Esso (Einar Sjurso) handles the drums and the bass is played by Plenum (Petter Berntsen). There are a few guest musicians on the album. Bård Ingebrigtsen add baritone guitar, violin, piano and slide to the mix while Benny "B9" Braaten adds ambience (whatever that is).

The tracks for "The Black Flux" were originally meant to be released on the comeback album by Ved Buens Ende who had reformed in April 2006 after they originally split up in 1997. Czral and Vicotnik (Yusaf Parvez) apparently werenīt able to make the ends meet though and split up again in 2007. Vicotnik went on to work on the "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" album by Dødheimsgard and more recently the "Resplendent Grotesque (2009)" album by Code. Czral on the other hand opted to take the tracks that were originally written for the next Ved Buens Ende album and turn them into Virus songs.

The music the three-piece conjure up on "The Black Flux" is dark, twisted and slightly experiental rock/metal. Imagine what would happen if Joy Division and Voivod made a collaborative album. This is indeed a bleak and dissonant sounding album. The vocals by Czral are desperate, monotone and depressive while the instrumental side of the music is built upon twisted, dissonant riffs and a great playing rythm section. The music can seem a bit repetitive and maybe a bit too monotone in nature upon first listen but given time small recognisable hooks start to appear. There are many excellent compositions on this album but the ending track "Strange Calm" and especially the intense "As Virulent as You" really make my blood boil. The latter simply blows me away. Itīs one of those rare songs that literally creates vivid and unpleasant images of vile and dark things in my mind. The opening lines to "As Virulent as You" belong in the twisted and bizarre genious catagory when Czral sings: "Your contaminated majesty, You live in my wounds". He sounds like a cross between a scary lunatic and a delirious alcoholic. Brilliant.

The production is organic and dark. It suits the music perfectly.

"The Black Flux" is an excellent release by Virus and I find it a highly recommendable purchase for fans of dark and twisted experimental rock/metal. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

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 The Black Flux by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 16 ratings

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The Black Flux
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars It's no coincidence I reviewed this album together with Intronaut's Prehostoricisms. They are quite different but expressions of the same musical philosophy: free expression, highly innovating musicianship, dense chord progressions and other jazzy goodies.

The music is decidedly less heavy then Intronaut and replaces the Neurosis and Tool stylings with an equal amount of Voivod complexities and the haunting anguish of Bauhaus, especially in the vocal department, but also in the yearning guitar licks. Again, this music has little to do with metal. It's highly experimental but not heavier then Voivod was around Nothingface. It's highly chromatic, not to say atonal and almost categorically non-melodic.

To draw a last parallel with Intronaut, the vocals might be the aspect that will shy away most listeners. The plaintive declamatory diction gets heavy to take after a few songs. Maybe the album would have benefited from more instrumental parts or from some melodic relief left or right. But I'm quite sure they did it on purpose. Easy-listening this is not, but one of the most unique and innovative bands around? Sure. 3.5 stars

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 The Black Flux by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 16 ratings

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The Black Flux
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

4 stars More black, less flux

Sub-genre: Progressive Metal (with a side order of AvantGarde)
For Fans of: Voivod
Vocal Style: Gothic sounding Peter Murphy/Steele-esque
Guitar Style: Distorted electric
Keyboard Style: I hear a piano once
Percussion Style: Standard rock kit played much heavier than previous album
Bass Style: Picked electric, occasional overdriven sound
Other Instruments: Piano and Violin somewhere

Summary: Five years removed from a nearly perfect freshman effort, Carheart, Virus returns with a more metallic presentation. The feel of dissonance in the guitar/bass remains, but the contrast has taken a back seat to a more straight forward distorted sound. The eerie clean breaks have been substituted with heavy handed power throughout the album, but not in an overly-compressed Meshuggah style stomp. The musical structure still contains a significant complexity, but not nearly comparable to Carheart.

A definite shift in vocal style occurs as well. An almost evangelical dissertation is pronounced in very gothic fashion that is reminiscent of the more guttural moments of Peter Murphy (Bauhaus). One thing that remains the same is the darkness and despair conveyed by the sound. This is not one for those seeking out the Yeses of the Progressive world.

The Highlight for me is the franticly busy Lost Peacocks with its sinister walking bass and creepy chromatic chorus. The bridge vocal harmonies will make the hair stand on the back of your neck.



Final Score: The first listen was at times disappointing due to the aforementioned lack of contrast. Where Carheart required no break-in time, The Black Flux was distinctly different in that regard. But the growth factor kicked in quickly. This album will appeal less to Avant-Garde/RIO fans and more to Post Metal or Extreme Metal fans. 3.8 stars, rounded up.

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 Carheart by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.18 | 21 ratings

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Carheart
Virus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Metal in Opposition

Sub-genre: Prog-Metal (Ventures well outside conventional Prog-Metal, though the genre provides the best overall fit)
For Fans of: Voivod (Dimension Hatross, Nothingface era), any of the heavier Avant-Garde/RIO bands
Vocal Style: A more melodic version of Denis (Snake) Belanger. Hints of Peter Murphy. No Cookiemonster or Wailing
Guitar Style: Electric, not as distorted as typical Metal fare, frequent eerie FX like tremolo
Keyboard Style: A rare note or two of a phased out moog.
Percussion Style: Modest rock/metal kit played with skillful contrast
Bass Style: Picked clean electric, often played in walks that counterpoint the guitar
Other Instruments: Cars, dogs, wood blocks



Summary: This Norwegian band, supposedly a side project, is one of those bands that comes along and requires no "grow on" time. The immediate feeling is that Virus is a non-thrashy version of Voivod. The vocals and guitar dissonance immediately conjures images of Nothingface. But differences are quickly apparent. The guitar parts are more arpeggio driven and stray from standard metal conventions in both composition and sound. The distortion is often substituted for creepy effects that harkens back to tense scenes from 70's horror films. But the influence of Piggy is all around. Frequent broad reverbs create mysterious auras in the songs.

One of the primary differences that can be pointed out Between Virus and Voivod is the story within the music is more human. The themes are of loss and madness with strange allusions and metaphors to dogs and cars. The older of the two bands had a more typically science-fiction element to their concepts. One envisions in Carheart the descent of an isolated soul into insanity during a long Nordic winter night.

While the attachment to the punky side of their primary influence is a bit subdued, further attachments can be made to bands like Univers Zero and Present. The unusual chord structures and atonal counterpoint are identifiable, though the instrument selections may not be as eclectic. More comparisons may be drawn to fathers of the gothic world such as Bauhaus, though those comparisons would be more cosmetic than substantive, though an undeniable Peter Murphy-like vocal is used in the song Its All Gone Weird.



Final Score: I became an instant fan of this "side project". Like anything that is Avant-Garde/RIO related, it is not for everybody. But those music listeners who appreciate the genre and enjoy it delivered with a more distorted electronic approach will really dig this album and should be considered essential. Carheart takes a wrinkle in Progressive Metal started by a thoughtful quartet of Canadian punks and runs with it. 4.7 stars rounded up.

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