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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS

Crossover Prog • Finland


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Von Hertzen Brothers picture
Von Hertzen Brothers biography
Formed in 2000 in Helsinki, Finland

When the 90s was coming to its end, all three sons of the von HERTZEN family enjoyed a successful career in the front line of Finnish rock; Kie von HERTZEN was the guitarist for DON HUONOT, one of the most popular rock bands at the time, Jonne von HERTZEN played bass in the backing band of Jonna TERVOMAA and Mikko von HERTZEN was the drummer for EGOTRIPPI and LEMONATOR, but was soon to quit both bands to leave for India to live a simpler life. Von Hertzen Brothers started off around the year 2000 as a way to realize the songs Mikko had been writing in India, and when the two other brothers brought their spices to the table, their first album," Experience" (2001), was born. Kie and Jonne kept to their original instruments, but Mikko stepped to the front taking the lead vocalist / rhythm guitarist duties while still playing the drum parts. They assembled a live band, played a couple of shows in support of the album and went back to their own bands and lives. The album didn't sell very many copies.

A few years later DON HUONOT had broken up and the brothers decided to try working together again. Again consisting mostly of Mikko's songs the band recorded and released "Approach" (2006) to a much warmer response than their debut. Finland's biggest rock magazine Soundi gave the album a glowing review with five stars, and a cut-in-half version of the psychedelic balladish track "Kiss a Wish" conquered the radio waves. Eventually the album went gold in Finland and won the Emma (the Finnish Grammy, kind of) award for best rock album of the year. In 2008 their third album, "Love Remains the Same", shot straight to the number one spot of the Finnish album charts and has so far spent 17 weeks in the top 40.

The band lists as their influences pretty much everything from AC/DC to Yes, but the names most often heard connected to them are KINGSTON WALL, LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD. The final word comes from Mikko: '"von Hertzen" is german and means "from the heart". That's what we try to always keep in mind when writing or performing. We feel the music is pretty much useless, if it doesn't come from our hearts. The point of music, any kind of music, is to create wonderful experiences that are somehow elevating and encouraging. That's our mission. The music is our instrument'


Thanks to Pekka Turunen (Keppa4v) for the biogrpahy

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Nine LivesNine Lives
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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS discography


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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 30 ratings
Experience
2001
3.80 | 64 ratings
Approach
2006
4.19 | 164 ratings
Love Remains the Same
2008
3.80 | 121 ratings
Stars Aligned
2011
3.89 | 108 ratings
Nine Lives
2013
2.96 | 32 ratings
New Day Rising
2015
3.82 | 39 ratings
War Is Over
2017

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.67 | 3 ratings
The Best Of...
2012

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VON HERTZEN BROTHERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Approach by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.80 | 64 ratings

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Approach
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by tigerfeet

4 stars Approach was arguably one of VHBs' most creative and progressive albums and there were a lot of talented guest musicians who added ingredients to this album. Not to mention the ex-Kingston Wall drummer Sammi Kuoppamaki who is considered extremely highly in Scandanavia, who also co-arranged this album.

The album opens with the track Disciple of the Sun as if it is getting ready to launch with a beautiful angelic harmony; although you just have that feeling that you are about to embark on some kind of amazing trip.

And there you are, suddenly thrust right into the very flavor of the album.

The arrangement and production quality is just amazing and throughout this album you really do feel inside a huge arena but with a god-like graphic equalizer so as to not make you feel distant from the warmth of the sound.

The amazing thing about VHB is that they get away with many driving guitar riffs that at first sound a little poppy in nature but it only with many listenings you begin to grasp what they are trying to achieve; which is making rock relevant and popular again.

The 2nd track Let Thy Will be Done is a great example of early Purple mixed with a little Lenny Kravitz with a modern feel to it.

Each track has many magical moments and the sound is sooo rich, and has such depth and deliberation. Not to mention, the brothers are all extremely talented musicians, singers, and producers.

Each track certainly moves and flows like water and waterfalls. Which is great, if you like to not know where you are going.

River is the 3rd track which delves into the mystical and eastern sound to start and almost gives a wink to Enya ? but again you know it will be going somewhere else very shortly. What a wonderful catchy tune and expert musicianship and production and grand in nature.

Von Hertzen Brothers know how to enjoy themselves and know how to create an atmosphere. In Your Arms is a kind of love song as well as almost a nostalgic look back at the Crimson King with a dash of Stills and Nash. These guys appreciate love and birth and put much into songs about their loved ones. Again, there is nothing predictable for long with VHB. This is one of the most creative tracks overall on the album.

Open Water Stormy Weather is a fun track which evolves into a very catchy song. After listening a few times you almost hear parts of each track repeating through your mind. The track melds in nicely with the next track Ocean of Mercy.

Kiss a Wish

By far their most popular song in Finland, and as much as it was cute, and some may even go as far to say predictable, all is forgiven for the honesty of the song and complexity of something that at first is dismissible. The song is Floyd-esque in that it has many parts inside one song. This keeps the interest and makes the song complete and intelligent in nature even with teeny pop lyrics like 'Kiss A Wish'. Surely it is not so bad to want a Kiss or a Wish from time to time?

After all is the last track. This little gem is just simply gorgeous. Atmospheric, clever, with wonderful vocals to boot. It leaves you there where it found you, wanting more, but satisfied with the journey, but knowing you will be back again soon. What more can one ask of an album?

However, there are two bonus tracks on the LP.

Ebb Tide Ride is the first bonus track is a wonderful shuffle train with some awesome rockabilly style drumming skills mixed with some Tarantino, and basically a track for the musicians to get some solo time. But it is a worthy stand alone track and rocks very well.

The last bonus track on the album is another version of the earlier track River. This one is a little more acoustic in nature and so different that it took me a while to realize it was the same track. A little sitar is never missed.

To sum up.

Approach, at first take, can be underestimated or even overlooked, but VHB have all the right elements; Fire, Earth, Air and of course Water. Certain tracks will flow through you and leave lasting impressions in your thoughts. At random moments their catchy songs will appear in your mind. An energetic album full with the flow of love, life and what is to come.

4.5 Stars from me on this album for being as close to progrock that crossover can be and for surprising me each time I listen.

 War Is Over by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 39 ratings

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War Is Over
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by tigerfeet

4 stars Von Hertzen Brothers ' War is Over

It took me about four listens to get what this album it is all about. That is not saying it is not catchy or has epic tunes, it just takes a little more than being handed the goods to you on a silver plate.

What VHB have done here is pull together a unique and compelling album, beautiful and emotional at times whilst rip-roaring with a 'no care in the world' attitude, at others.

Perhaps this is the very essence that Von Hertzen Brothers wanted to convey in this tight and motivated prog rock album.

At first listen you are kind of going from track to track trying to gather as much information as possible. But there is so much information in each track, that you miss much of it even after a couple of listens.

What is apparent is that Von Hertzen Brothers have found a new lease of greatness and in this album they almost achieve it on every track.

Sami Kuoppam'ki appears on parts of this album as drums/percussion/arrangements and you can hear the Kingston Wall drummers' influence in a very positive way on various parts of the album.

Although the theme appears to be about the emotions of love and loss, it is could also be about human differences, real life wars, and the pain that occurs all over the world.

War is Over

The album begins with a fine intro leading to a most thoughtful song about war and also perhaps our relationships with each other. I was totally taken aback with the purity of the falsetto in this song considering it is quite a rocking tune over all, along with a driving bass line, intricate drums, and warm guitars throughout.

To the End of the World

There is nothing wrong with writing a song about love and relationships, more so if it is not in your face and not clich'. Sometimes it is not where the song begins but where it goes and this song certainly goes somewhere unexpected.

The Arsonist

Here the album takes a new turn and does well on the pop rock side of things. I found myself forgiving the obvious on this track due to the production quality. All that was missing was a well placed cow bell.

Jerusalem

As this symphonic epic prog rock track rears its slithering head from the aptly named song title, we find ourselves listening to a tune much about the march of war and continuing of the cycle of violence. The fact is that rock music in general has always had a close affinity to despair, war and loss and is often so powerful that it helps our world change; aka Pink Floyd's The Wall; that to many appeared to be just an inward self centered look at just ones self pity, but eventually evolved to become one of the most influential albums of the 80s; after all, music is often about uniting people against adversity.

Frozen Butterflies

A breathless rolling journey into love and emotion through a strong fast tune a delicate touch brings the listener closer to the lyrics

Who Are You

Even more so delicate is the beauty of new life and this song captures this so purely. There is most likely no event in life that is more significant that bringing a new life into this world.

Blindsight

This track is probably the most interesting for me on this album. I am still working out exactly what it is about but I guess sometimes one can just go along for the enjoyment of the ride without thinking too much.

Long Lost Sailor

This one's a little flashback to the late 80's with catchy, grungy, guitar rifts, almost alterative/indie pop/rock in its essence, but it works and the catchy riff gets you enjoying this little gem every time you hear it, I almost felt like I was galloping along on a large frothy white horse across the open ocean.

Wanderlust

This may be the best track on the album. Any song that begins with such a rich falsetto you just know the journey ahead will be amazing. It really is an amazing song and well written and could have been recorded by a plethora of 'popular' artists from Cold Play to Adele and may have been a massive hit, it's that good.

Beyond the Storm

This track may have accidentally been a 'tip of the hat' to the song Warrior by Wishbone Ash from their 1972 album Argos, with marching band drums and legions of warriors lining up with hands on hearts.

To Sum Up, I took much away from this album and perhaps most importantly in how this album spoke to me is, as the listener, was to try and eventually overcome preconceived obstacles by marching forward; hopefully coming out of it all with a better perspective on what is most important in life. I can't wait for VHB next upcoming projects and hope they are as good or better as War is Over.

Four Stars from me for an Excellent, honest and to the point album

 War Is Over by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 39 ratings

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War Is Over
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars This new album was made on the ground of their childhood in an isolated small island "Söderskär" where each musician participates in the writing process by bringing their own influences. From the 12 minutes opener, "War Is Over" we know we are in the presence of something out of the ordinary. The pace is a like a roller coaster that you can't stop after you have come out of the gate, it gets a little breather with "Who are You" and "Wanderlust". There are many layers of sound, plenty of catchy hook and grooving music with some huge keyboards, incredible guitar hook and on top of that some diverse and impressive vocals. The past reference is from many genres, from alternative rock, classic rock, and prog rock. The band manages to create some direct and captivating music while offering enough complexity to make you want to listen again to make sure you have absorbed everything. You can hear the hard work the band has put on the arrangements with the exotic guitar tones and about how each instrument should sound. After listening to this album, I was unable to say what kind of music it was, listening to "Long Lost Sailor", it's closer to pop music than anything else on the album. But like the band said; "we wanted to make an album that comes from the heart". Yes, that is probably the most important thing...
 Love Remains the Same by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.19 | 164 ratings

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Love Remains the Same
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Accessible melodic rock prog outfits who draw heavily on Pink Floyd are thick on the ground and often leave me cold, but on Love Remains the Same, their third album, Von Hertzen Brothers overcome my usual scepticism about this style thanks mainly to the fact that they don't just regurgitate the same tired old Floydian motifs (echoed telephone vocals, etc.) but actually seem to have some appreciation of the old masters' compositional style, as well as some intriguingly cryptic subject matter to apply it to rather than the usual tired old moaning about modern life. The end result is an engaging and entertaining album which deserves your attention.
 New Day Rising by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.96 | 32 ratings

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New Day Rising
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

2 stars Having listened only to samples of Von Hertzen Brothers' music previously, I was intrigued to receive this promo of ''New Day Rising''. With a first spin, one might wonder if this band is actually Finnish, since their sound resembles heavily to popular (Brit and American) rock bands.

The good thing is that there is a lot to say about this album and band; the bad is that not a lot is overly positive...

''New Day Rising'' is a generally well-made pop-rock album with catchy melodies, a talented vocalist in Mikko von Hertzen (who can sound like Eddie Vedder, Bono, Thom Yorke, Herman Saming, you name it) and a more-than-strong commercial approach. Strong influences on this album come from U2 and Coldplay (e.g. New Day Rising, Sunday Child), Muse and Radiohead with tracks ranging from straight-rockers such as ''You Don't Know My Name'' (with a hint of Hawkwind space psychedelia) and ''Trouble'' (heavy mid-tempo with oriental and Sabbathy touches) through to disappointing ballads such as ''Black Rain'' or ''Hibernating heart'' and light hearted indie radio tunes such as ''Hold me Up'' and ''Dreams''.

One might ask, where is the prog? Well, there are scattered references to Moon Safari and Muse, and it gets more interesting in ''Love Burns'' (reminding me of A.C.T.) and the 70's-oriented groovy ''The Destitute'', which along with ''Trouble'' make up the highlights of this album. The flow of the album is complicated, since it starts with 3 relatively steady rockers and then turns to a much softer mood. The lyrics seem to be dominated by love themes to the extreme, which doesn't help. The positive is that there is fair variety of (alternative, indie, hard) rock sounds that might appeal to the general radio rock audience and might satisfy the very, very open minded proggers out there. Thus, if you don't mind a well-done pop-rock album along with glimpses of modern prog and can tolerate lyrics such as ''my heart is like a hibernating Romeo...'', you will enjoy this. Some of its parts I certainly did but I found it equally frustrating that the band don't use the full potential of their apparent talent.

Thanks to Freeman Promotions for the promo.

 Approach by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.80 | 64 ratings

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Approach
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

3 stars There's something remarkably inviting and welcoming on Approach. Perhaps it's the warm, soothing, slightly fuzzy and enveloping atmosphere of this set of songs or the prodigious talent for writing catchy, inspiring and engaging melodies. It might be the propensity to dress up the arrangements with crisp, rich and urgent vocal harmonies or the joyful, fiery guitar and peppy, powerful drumming. An accessible album through and through.

Where the Von Hertzen Brothers base their wilder excursions in some sort of pop rock format, it's full of reverence and admiration of past masters rather than what you would hear on the radio today, without ever sounding dated or copied in any way. I guess you could say it's a fresh, timeless and happy reminder of the power pop of the 60s and 70s, but with a lot of added adornments. These adornments come in various shapes and forms, but most prominently it grows into progressive rock territory in grand, expansive and sweeping arrangements with a flair for the dramatic (just check out the second half of After All!). At times the underlying musical backing in itself isn't very technical or particularly grandstanding, but the skilful and layered arrangements simply soar. I love it. But there's always an immaculate sense of space and low-key colouring in moodier passages where keyboards, guitars and bass are given room to be more introvert and intimately melodic. Well-needed breaks in an otherwise very hearty meal. Some seasoning also come in the form of spicy guitar riffs and solo excursions here and then, so regardless of the melodic gregariousness there is a decent amount of bite to be found.

It is a very consistent album with very few duds, but there is a slight tendency for fluff to creep in to the songs, where the harmonies get just a bit too ingratiating, the poppier side of the band gets a bit too much room and where the generally warm product gets bogged down in a starry-eyed, mid-tempo and brightly coloured puff of not wanting to bother anything or anyone. Ever. In other words - too smooth. And after a while the vocals can occasionally start to get annoyingly declamatory, bordering on preachy. On Stars Aligned, the other Von Hertzen Brothers album I've reviewed, this felt like less of a problem, perhaps because it felt slightly more daring and expansive in its ideas and moods.

Nevertheless, this is a very nice experience for anyone into the more melodic side of prog rock and I never regret coming back to it, even with some slight reservations in mind. It lifts you up and makes you happy. That's never a bad thing.

3 stars, but not at all far from 4.

//LinusW

 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 108 ratings

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Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars The Finnish band Von Hertzen Brothers' fifth record from this years is well produced and quite different music, yet rather commercial and mostly good. "Nine lives" is the name and on the cover we can behold nine tiger faces in different colours. The line-up is Mikko von Hertzen (voice, guitar), Kie von Hertzen(guitar, voice), Jonne von Hertzen(bass, guitar), Mikko Kaakkuriniemi(drums) and Juha Kuoppala(keyboards). A half year after its release I heard the record twice and I find it enjoyable.

I think von Hertzen Brothers have their best times when they're fast and poppy and sing together. The first track is also the best: "Insomniac" is such a track, very catchy but also strong, with powerful melody, harmonies and instruments(8/10). Then comes the clamping dashing "Flowers and rust" (6/10) and "Coming home" where you'd find "normal" rock moments and a nice guitar in the background(6/10). "Lost in time" is inferior, when I really like the musical background I find the vocals and the melody annoying(5/10). "Separate forevers"(3/10) would I not recommend, I can't say anything else than it's boring. "One may never know" is little better but to caotic for me(4/10). Then it becomes better again: "World without" is a long track with competent harmony singers and the song developped to power and style(6/10). "Black Heart's Cry" is the albums second best track(7/10) and such as the first this is fast and has the popular touch. Before they started sing I also got a folky feeling. Then the album concludes with "Prospect for escape" which is not a favourite(5/10), but too long.

I like some of the songs and it's enough for three stars. What the band does seems rather unique and I am happy I explored this record. But it can surely never be a favourite, it's too radio minded for me. Perhaps I also think it's too modern and catchy. This record has, just like the newest Moon Safari record very easy acquired music and that would appeal to some, not really to me. My rating= 2,78 = 3 stars.

 Stars Aligned by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 121 ratings

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Stars Aligned
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

4 stars Dripping, over-enriched power-nuggets of unadulterated catchiness and melodious joy. Ye gods what a high-octane ride through the more digestible parts of progressive rock!

The purity of this soaring, uplifting euphoria of blistering light and hook-dominated crossover is relentless and oh-so-pleasing. If you expect things to grate, clash or just quietly and discreetly melt together, shield your ears from this zenith-like ray of burning emotionality and harmony.

Von Hertzen Brothers effectively launch a set of songs that grabs you right at your most sentimental, receptive and melodic state of mind, only to lift you ever higher in their rich tapestry of space-atmosphere, tight riff-and-percussion power and die-hard melodiousness. The instruments happily stay safely close together, but often enough still bustlingly independent, in punchy, grandiose and groovy riffs or melodies that eagerly fly away as light as feathers. Clear, razor-sharp harmonies (especially the near omnipresent vocal ones) burst out as often as they're called for. On Stars Aligned, that's pretty much constantly. Calmer bits pleasantly plod along familiar musical walkways in self-assured sincerity and familiarity. Sure, there are the spacious, more atmospheric bits around, where things swirl, resonate, twinkle and pulse more than usually in pop-infused rock of this style. It's rather tense at times, but never very ethereal or ambient, as you might find it in more old-school space rock. Nowhere are you pleasantly lost in time or confused in any way, but rather happily floating on an interesting, but relatively safe river you know will happily reach the sea. And there's a compositional diversity you don't find in your everyday rock band. But despite that, all of this is just another platform on which to launch and contrast the shameless glory of melody and harmony that rise above everything else. I know. Those words keep coming up again and again, but there's a very strong reason for it.

Yes, there are streaks of the familiar and hints of the cliché from all over, but still mixed together and presented with more energy, creative vigour and sincerity than you normally find in this type of music.

So...starry-eyed wonder and orgiastic pleasure in wild, freely flowing torrents of atmospherically infused, direct and eager melodic and harmonic overload and affluent instrumental excess. That's what you get. When properly executed that's a winner in my book. If you disagree, stay far away from Stars Aligned.

4 stars.

//LinusW

 Nine Lives by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 108 ratings

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Nine Lives
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If there's one thing I love about the Von Hertzen Brothers, it's that they know how to give us variety and personality. These guys have the chops to do whatever they want; but, like their other albums, "Nine Lives" is a big ol' bag of tricks of all shapes and sizes.

Brother Mikko, the singer, has a wonderful voice that can be used in so many ways. You see, "Nine Lives' features great little ballads, rocking accessible songs, and soaring prog pieces. They can do all of these comfortably, and Mikko can change his voice to fit the style. "Insomniac", for instance, features some very high vocals with much melody. However, "Coming Home" features Mikko channeling Billy idol a bit with that low and almost creepy style that bounces off the bass lines so well.

I think this ability is not just consigned to Mikko. All of the instruments follow suit as they can change to play whatever style they so desire, and they spar with Mikko very well, too. In other words, this album is simply fun and a joy to hear, even if it's not the most challenging music to absorb. Yes, I just used the word "fun" to describe a prog album! What these guys lose in challenging music, they gain in purely interesting music.

If you are looking for a great album of semi-catchy prog rock, look no further. You won't get any epics or any ambient tracks, but you will get the Von Hertzen Brothers rocking your socks off and creating some wonderful melodies, too.

 Love Remains the Same by VON HERTZEN BROTHERS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.19 | 164 ratings

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Love Remains the Same
Von Hertzen Brothers Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a terrific album! This crossover prog band has a great melodic style. They don't try to overdo it on technicality or speed. They write beautiful music that arouses the emotions and lifts the spirits. Amazing, soaring melodies are the key here. The band even plays around with some Spanish sounds here, too.

This album is great from start to finish. "Spanish 411" and "Faded Photographs" are both fantastic songs, but the unequivocally best song on this album is "The Willing Victim". This song is simply stunning in every way. The structure is superb and the vocals are breath- taking!! It takes you and allows you to soar on the crest of the melody. This would have been a 5-star album for sure had the rest of the album been as fantastic. As it is, it is a strong 4-star album. Highly recommended!

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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