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Emperor

Emperor Photo

Band Photo: Emperor (?)

Formed: 1991
From: Telemark, Norway
Last Known Status: Disbanded

Background

Beginning life as a trio in the spring of '91 with Samoth (drums/vocals), Ihsahn (guitar) and Mortiis (bass). The band quickly recorded and circulated the now legendary "Wrath of the Tyrant" demo. It was this that brought them to the attention of the then still fledgling Candlelight record label . A deal was inked, Samoth moved to guitar and Bard Faust was recruited for the now vacant drum stool. By the end of the year the band had been once more into the studio to record their half of the "Emperor / Enslaved" split CD which was to eventually surface early in the following year. Mortiis departed for the band, and was after a while replaced by Tchort.

In autumn of '93 a series of headline grabbing events (which are now quite sufficiently documented. For further reading check "Lords Of Chaos". Emperor would suffer the temporary loss of Samoth and the permanent loss of Faust, due to prison-sentences. However, before Samoth has to do time, the band managed to put together a new line-up, with new bass-player Alver, and a session-drummer.

Even though the band was seriously disturbed by the unpleasant confrontations of the imprisonment's and line-up difficulties, the entity of Emperor came out even stronger in the end. By the time Samoth was paroled, Trym (ex. Enslaved) had joined the band on a permanent basis, and the bones of what would become their most epic and majestic material to date were taking shape.

By the end of '96, now fully prepared and rehearsed, they were back in the studio. First firing off the "Reverence" EP to announce their return to the fold and then following up in early '97 with what is without doubt the single most ambitious and important black metal release to date......"Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk". An album of epic savagery. Not only beautiful but bestial in it's wide ranging scope.

Emperor have now moved so far ahead of the field that it would be unfair to even consider them a black metal band any longer. Utilising elements of their more traditional metal roots, operatic vocals and of course their trademark symphonic riffing the band have created an album so mature that it may well take the rest of the competition years to catch up.

Latest Emperor News

Below is our complete Emperor news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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True Norwegian Black Metal Exhibit In Denmark

The official MySpace page of Peter Beste, who published the photographic documentary book True Norwegian Black Metal, has been issued with the following announcement about an exhibit in Denmark:

"I am pleased to announce that my True Norwegian Black Metal exhibit will be showing in Copenhagen at V1 Gallery. Opening party on Friday Feb 13. Come say hello!"

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Ihsahn Comments On Latest Album And Emperor Rumors

In a recent interview with Sevenstrings, Ishahn of Emperor fame commented on his latest album and rumors about whether Ross Robinson was slated to produce the fifth Emperor album. Excerpts from the interview are below.

SS: When I first started preparing for this interview it dawned on me that, for a guy who's only in his thirties, you've already achieved an amazing amount as a musician. How does it feel to know that you've recorded albums that have defined a genre and are now regarded as classics?

I: In general, I think I’ve been very lucky having had this as a career since I was 16 when we signed to Candlelight in 1991. Very lucky considering; I’m from Norway (which in itself does not spell out "potential international music-career") and I started my career by playing one of the most infamous and un-commercial forms of music to date. Things are different now, but 1991 was Death Metal era, and Black Metal was close to nothing. Getting back to your question; it is a double-edged sword, I guess. I am of course proud of previous albums and things I’ve achieved. However, with Emperor kind of living a life on it’s own, it is sometimes like being my own little-brother, with all my current work being compared to things I did as a teenager. At 32 I do not feel retired, I am just as passionate about my music as I ever was and I still believe my best is yet to come! More...

Read the full article at Seven Strings.

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Abigail Williams Taps Mutiny Drummer

Abigail Williams has officially disclosed the addition of drummer Samus Paulicelli (ex-Mutiny) to their line-up. You can see Paulicelli in action here and below. Abigail Williams had utilized a guest drummer during the recent recording of their new album.

"In The Shadows Of A Thousands Suns" as the title of its new album, due this summer via Candlelight Records. The recording was done in Notodden, Norway, with guest drummer Trym (EMPEROR, ZYKLON) laying down tracks at Akkerhaugen Lydstudio with engineer Thorbjørn Akkerhuagen (EMPEROR, ZYKLON, WINDIR). More...

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Emperor Cover And Remix Available Online

Black Smoke's official remix of Emperor's classic "I Am The Black Wizrads" has been posted online at the official EMPEROR myspace profile. The band's label, Death To Music Productions, states: "90% of the people hate it (as expected) which is actually (in our opinions) the best reaction it could of got!"

You can listen to a clearer version of it here (along with The Bombs Of Enduring Freedom's remix of Solefald) at a page created to host J. Fogarty's DnB metal remixes done by his current projects.

In related news, re-activated cult black metallers Old Forest have recieved the blessing of Samoth himself (The Lord of Silence and guitarist of EMPEROR) to upload their version of the Emperor classic "Ancient Queen" (taken from the classic 1991 Emperor 7" vinyl EP "As The Shadows Rise"). This cover version can be heard exclusively at the DEATH TO MUSIC myspace profile.

The next release from DEATH TO MUSIC Productions will be BRING YOUR OWN KNIFE's "My Life's A Curse - How's Yours" as a FREE download EP from this Swedish death metal band in the style of At The Gates. "My Life's a Curse" will be available to download starting May 31 on Death To Music's website.

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Release Date Announced for Upcoming Ihsahn Album

Candlelight Records has confirmed May 27 as the American release date for "angL", the second solo album from former Emperor vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. The album features nine new songs and will have guest performances by drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar), bassist Lars Koppang Norberg (Spiral Architect) and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth).

Recorded and mixed by Ihsahn at Symphonique Studios in Notodden, Norway (the studio owned by Ihsahn and partner Heidi Tveitan), additional work was completed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth) at Fascination Street Studios and Borge Finnstad (Mayhem, Borknagar) at Toproom Studios. Commenting about the record’s musical collaborations, "Asgeir did such a great job on my last album, that while in preproduction for angL I programmed a much more generic drum track to leave more creative license for him. It was on Asgeir’s recommendation that Lars contribute to the album. They both recorded at Asgeir’s studio (Multimono Studios) and it came together nicely."

Commenting about working with Mikael Akerfeldt, "Mikael and I go back as friends since the early nineties. We met up when Emperor headlined Wacken in 2006 and had a great time watching bands together. We talked then about doing something together at some point and in spite of busy schedules on both sides this luckily came to happen. Rough mixes of "Unhealer" with lyrics were sent to Mikael with the idea for both clean and growl vocals. He worked on it during his off-time recording the new Opeth album. I could not be any happier with the results."

Writing for angL began early in 2007 and picked up momentum after the Emperor US performances early last summer. "I knew to a greater extent where I wanted to go with this album, though I feel all albums are a kind of struggle to overcome. Regardless of how many you make, it never gets any easier." An aggressive schedule to complete the album, in addition to recording projects for Hardingrock (in which Ihsahn also contributes) and Starofash (released February 26), Ihsahn completed album tracking in early December.

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Book On Norwegian Black Metal Due In May

American documentary photographer Peter Beste's book "True Norwegian Black Metal" will be issued on May 15 via Vice Books.

In the last two decades a bizarre and violent musical subculture called black metal has emerged in Norway. It has its roots in a heady blend of splatter movies, heavy metal music, Satanism, Pagan mythology and adolescent angst. In the early-mid 1990s, members of this extremist underground committed murder, burned down medieval wooden churches, and desecrated graveyards. What started as juvenile frenzy came to symbolize the start of a war against Christianity, a return to the worship of the ancient Norse gods, and the complete rejection of mainstream society.

Peter Beste has spent the last eight years working in the milieu of this insulated and secretive community. Beste's access and insight has been absolutely without precedent, resulting in an amazing photographic journey. Beste has earned the respect and trust of this impenetrable, suspicious and often elitist community. With each visit Beste saw more, photographed more and eventually accumulated enough material for this book. "True Norwegian Black Metal" is a visual testimonial to this subculture. Peter Beste and editor Johan Kugelberg have created a unique photographic narrative that explores black metal from a truly visceral perspective.

With extensive contributions from the personal archive of Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen, publisher of the original Norwegian black metal publication Slayer magazine, a unique opportunity is here presented to see original artifacts and ephemera from this secluded rock community, and to read accounts of these events in the words of the people who were actually there at the time.

"True Norwegian Black Metal" offers confrontational live performance photographs of a savage subculture set alongside the stark beauty and natural allure of a landscape often shrouded in darkness.

The book is comprised of:

* 160 pages of photographs of the following bands/individuals: Nocturno Culto and Fenriz of DARKTHRONE; Necrobutcher, Hellhammer, Blasphemer, and Maniac of MAYHEM; Samoth of EMPEROR; Frost of SATYRICON; ENSLAVED; Abbath of IMMORTAL; Gaahl, Infernus, King, and Kvitrafn of GORGOROTH; Nattefrost of CARPATHIAN FOREST; 1349; DIMMU BORGIR; ILDJARN; AURA NOIR; and many more

* Interviews/quotes from Frost (1349), Abbath (IMMORTAL), Fenriz (DARKTHRONE), Gaahl (GORGOROTH)

* Essay by authors and Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen, publisher of the original Norwegian black metal publication Slayer magazine, including 32 pages of original artifacts, photographs, ephemera, and personal accounts by black metal's key figures from Krisiansen's personal archive."

For more information, visit www.peterbeste.com.

Beste has scheduled a photo exhibition beginning May 8 at Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City, with London, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, Los Angeles shows to follow.

Peter Beste on Norway's NRK talking about his black metal pictures: More...

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Opeth Frontman To Appear On New Ihsahn Album

OPETH frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt has recorded a guest appearance on the track "Unhealer" from the forthcoming solo album from former EMPEROR vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn, entitled "angL".

Commented Ihsahn: "We've been talking about doing something for a while and I'm really happy it finally came together. Needless to say, Mikael's performance is nothing short of amazing!"

Asgeir Mickelson and Lars Norberg (both of SPIRAL ARCHITECT) were responsible for laying down the drum and bass tracks on the CD, respectively. Ihsahn said, "Asgeir and Lars have delivered a rock-solid foundation for the whole album. Pounding blast-beats to slow fretless passages are all performed with great precision."

"angL" is tentatively due mid-spring via Mnemosyne Productions/Candlelight Records.

Ihsahn previously described the musical direction of the new CD as "a natural progression from 'The Adversary' [2006], but with a somewhat heavier touch."

"The Adversary" entered the Norwegian album chart at position No. 33 upon its release in 2006. The CD was written and recorded over a one-year period at Symphonique Studios in Norway and features a guest appearance by Garm from ULVER on one song. All music and lyrics for "The Adversary" were written and performed by Ihsahn with exception of drums, which were played by Asgeir Mickelson (BORKNAGAR, SPIRAL ARCHITECT).

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Ihsahn's New Album In "Final Completion" Stage

Vocalist/guitarist IHSAHN (ex-EMPEROR) is expected to release his upcoming second solo album in spring, 2008 via Candlelight Records.

The label reports that the forthcoming album, entitled Angl, is currently in the "final completion" stage.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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Emperor To Guest On Metalocalypse

During EMPEROR's final visit to the U.S. this past summer, vocalist Ihsahn, guitarist Samoth and drummer Trym stopped by Titmouse Studios, the creative team behind Adult Swim's popular late-night cartoon "Metalocalypse" in Los Angeles. "Dethfashion", the episode featuring characters portrayed by the band, is set to premiere this weekend. Those who can't wait to see it Sunday night (check local listings for airtime) can view the online premiere now by clicking here.

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Various Metal Stars Featured In NY Art Exhibit

Egyptian artist Nader Sadek has invited Steve Tucker (ex-Morbid Angel), Trym (EMPEROR, ZYKLON), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Ralph Santolla (OBITUARY, ex-Deicide, Death), as well as Middle Eastern legend Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Miles Jay (ex-Weird Al, Fathy S alama's Orchestra), Liron Peled (Raquy And The Cavemen) and Raquy Danziger to contribute to his multimedia installation "The Faceless" that opens 6th September at Michael Steinberg Fine Art in New York's Chelsea district.

These musicians worked with Sadek to produce a noise experiment moving in and out of independently conceived death metal and Arabic music tracks. This sonic composition accompanies Sadek's uniquely installed drawings which juxtapose the iconographies of death metal and Middle Eastern fundamentalism, which outsiders often associate with darkness, moon worship, and anti-Christian fervour. "The Faceless" startles the audience into rethinking connections between these two frequently misunderstood and villified cultures.

Having grown up a death metal fan in Egypt, Sadek works from the knowledge that the Egyptian state perceived both death metal and religious fundamentalism as threats to its power and legitimacy: death metal rebels against religious and political hypocrisy; piety rebels against a bureaucratic, commercialized, and godless world. Through sound, image, and space, "The Faceless" mingles these cultures in thoughtful, frightening, and uncanny ways.

Says Sadek: "For a while now, I've been interested in exploring what different cultures perceive of as extreme. 'The Faceless' grows out of years of walking the crowded streets of down-town Cairo dressed as a full-on death metal fan (i.e., long black hair, long-sleeve Morbid Angel/Deicide t-shirts, and an overall grungy look). Then, in a sort of twisted reversal, I decided to walk the streets of New York's Times Square in the black garb of a fully veiled woman. The intense reactions I got in each case confirmed for me the potential of this project. Those experiences inspired me to channel the popular paranoid fantasy in which the fully veiled woman is wrought from a dark death metal world, full of serpents, skulls, demons and dark mountains. I hope that by reflecting back to the audience their paranoid fantasies, which totally oversimplify the reality of Middle Eastern and death metal culture, that my work will get them to question their own prejudices and sense of the extreme."

To preview photographs of the artists and artwork that will be on display during The Faceless event, click here.

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Is It The End For Emperor?

Sources report that the Emperor performance at Tuska (Helsinki, Finland, June 29-July 1) may well be the band's final show, ever.

It seems that multi-talent mastermind Isahan has once again become disenchanted with the travails of rock stardom, preferring to stay home, run his label and his newfound passion for composing a combination of classical music and black metal.

He has declined all further offers for interviews and in the few recently conducted, broke them off abruptly when inquiries toward the future of Emperor were asked.

The bands main page was also offline at the time of this posting. Stay tuned for updates as they come.

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Classic Emperor Albums To Be Reissued As Digipaks

Five Classic EMPEROR album's are being re-released in limited edition CD box sets that include a digipak CD with CD-ROM extras, a 48CM X 48CM double sided poster with unseen photos, and an interview booklet - each is limited to 5000 worldwide.

Emperor formed in 1991. Their recordings have sold in excess of 600,000 units worldwide and their impact on the whole black/extreme metal scene is second to none. In late June the band will headline two major festivals: the first in France (Hellfest) and the second in Finland (Tuska Festival) as well as select shows in the USA.

The Emperor albums being reissued in this format are the following:

IN THE NIGHTSIDE ECLIPSE
IX EQUILIBRIUM
ANTHEMS TO THE WELKIN AT DUSK
PROMETHEUS
WRATH OF THE TYRANNT

PlasticHead Distribution's site show a release date of August 20, 2007 on each of the reissues. You can pre-order the box-sets here.

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Averse Sefira To Open For Emperor In New York

Texan black metal outfit AVERSE SEFIRA are confirmed to perform in support of EMPEROR on Friday, June 1st, at BB King's in New York. The trio recently completed a North American tour with label-mates 1349, and they are slated to enter the studio in September to record their debut release for Candlelight.

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More Bands Added To Finland's Tuska Open Air

The 2007 Tuska Open Air Festival is scheduled for June 29th - July st at Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki, Finland. ISIS, MISERY INDEX, THUNDERSTONE, TURISAS, PROFANE OMEN are the latest acts confirmed.

Acts on the bill now include: More...

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Emperor Auction Off Guitarist's Classic Axe

The guitar used by Samoth on EMPEROR's "In the Nightside Eclipse", SATYRICON's "The Shadowhrone", ZYKLON B's "Blood Must be Shed", the THOU SHALT SUFFER demo and EP aswell as the first EMPEROR mini-tour of England in 1993 is being auctioned via eBay.

The guitar is a Kramer and comes in its original hardcase, equipped with an EMG81, but the original Duncan Humbucker will follow guitar. The instrument is fully playable and was recently used on the SCUM "Gospels for the Sick" album, but bears its marks from a history of violent, black metal shredding. The coolest detail about this axe is the "Necrocannibalisticdeathnoise" sticker on the head, covering the Kramer logo.

The auction ends on April 6 at 16:24:22 PDT. More information, including photos, is available on the this location.

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Emperor Schedules Two European Appearances

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air Festival and their triumphant wrecking of London’s Astoria last year, EMPEROR today announce two rare appearances at European festivals this summer:

June 24 Clisson (France), Hellfest
June 30 Helsinki (Finland), Tuska Open Air

“The demand for further EMPEROR shows in Europe has been overwhelming”, comments guitarist Samoth. “We have been looking at several offers, but have decided to commit to these two festivals. With the success of the festivals we played last year, we’re really looking forward to these events."

Emperor's touring itinerary now looks like this:

May 30 - (US) The Metro - Chicago, IL
June 01 - (US) B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
June 03 - (US) Key Club - West Hollywood, CA
June 24 - (FR) Clisson, Hellfest
June 30 - (FI) Helsinki, Tuska Open Air

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Prosthetic Records To Re-Release The Funeral Pyre

Prosthetic Records will re-release the latest full-length from Los Angeles' THE FUNERAL PYRE in a licensing deal for worldwide re-release March 20, 2007 through a deal with Bay Area indie label Creator-Destructor Records. Originally released last year through Bay Area label Creator-Destructor Records, the band has been garnering praise through non-stop touring. Channeling melodic death metal and Norwegian black metal alike, THE FUNERAL PYRE takes on the two legendary genres in what has to be billed as a welcome addition to LA’s crowded extreme music scene. Locking in over 100 shows throughout 2006 alone in support of the band’s second full-length, the band cites At The Gates, Shai Hulud, Dissection and Emperor as influences on the band's MySpace page. Having recently returning from a five week tour through November and December, THE FUNERAL PYRE will return to the road in March, but not before playing shows in Southern California on their own.

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Emperor Return To America

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air festival in Germany and four capacity performances in America last summer, Norwegian black metal pioneers EMPEROR have announced their return to the United States for three encore appearances this spring.

"We have made a decision to return to the U.S. for a few additional shows," notes guitarist Samoth. "This time Chicago is also put on the map.

"The shows last summer were very successful and we had an amazing turnout and support from all the fans. It was also a bit stressful because of the embassy hassle that we unfortunately had to endure. So we feel a few more shows are due and this time, all visas are in order and the band will appear in its full command."

Confirmed dates are as follows:

May 30 - The Metro - Chicago, IL
Jun. 01 - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
Jun. 03 - Key Club - West Hollywood, CA

Ticket on-sale information will be announced shortly.

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Blood Tsunami Set Release Date For Debut Album

Candlelight Records / Nocturnal Art Productions has set a March 19 release date for the debut album from BLOOD TSUNAMI, the Oslo, Norway-based thrash metal band featuring drummer Bård G. Eithun (a.k.a. Faust; SCUM, ABORYM, ex-EMPEROR). The CD, aptly titled "Thrash Metal", was recorded at Lion Heart Studios in Oslo with engineer Øivind Voldmo Larsen. According to a press release, the album's artwork "will be over-the-top fantastic and the man going nuts on the canvas is Alex Horley Orlandelli, who is also known for his great drawings for Marvel comics, Heavy Metal magazine and Image comics."

BLOOD TSUNAMI last year announced the addition of former GLUECIFER bassist Stu Manx to the group's ranks.

BLOOD TSUNAMI previously worked with Øivind Voldmo Larsen at Lion Heart Studios on their "Demo 2005", which can still be heard on the band's official MySpace page.

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Emperor Announce Upcomming Plans

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air Festival and completing recent capacity performances in America, EMPEROR today announce two additional performances for 2006. Scheduled Saturday, October 7th EMPEROR will headline the fifth annual Motstoy Festival in the band's hometown of Notodden. Formed in 2002 by local youth and supportive arts organizations, this year's festival will also include appearances by RED HARVEST, MORTIIS, SHE SAID DESTROY, and PAGAN'S MIND, among others.

"The Motstoy festival is a non-profit organization situated in Notodden that my company Mnemosyne Productions has endorsed since its start in 2002," says vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. "As it is a no-alcohol arrangement with no age limit, it is a great opportunity for EMPEROR to play a local show and at the same time give younger fans a chance to see us live." Ticket and sponsorship information can be found at the festival's official site.

EMPEROR additionally confirm their return to England for an exclusive engagement at the famed London Astoria. Scheduled Saturday, October 28th the show will feature supporting performances from Candlelight Recording artist TO-MERA and Nocturnal Art Productions recording artist SHE SAID DESTROY.

"It's great to finally come back to England with EMPEROR," says Samoth. "England is where we first started out in the early 90's; signing to Candlelight Records and heading out on our first real tour. We've always had a strong following in England, both press and fans, and we've built up a strong relationship throughout the years with the folks at Candlelight Records and Plastic Head, so it was a very obvious choice for us to return to the United Kingdom. All hail & see you soon!"

EMPEROR's final album, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise, was released October 2001. In 2004, Candlelight Records reissued the band's four genre-defining albums, Wrath of the Tyrants, In the Nightside Eclipse, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk and IX Equilibrium; each featuring bonus footage and material previously unavailable on both European and US-licensed versions. All recordings are available as part of Candlelight's vinyl collectors series on sale at exclusive retailers worldwide or by direct purchase from the label's official webstores (European customers visit www.plastichead.com; North American customers visit the recently launched www.candlelightrecordsusa.com). Additional merchandise from EMPEROR is also available.

The recently announced EMPEROR guitar tabulature book, Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath will see worldwide release in time for the London performance. The 132-page oversized book featuring foreword and transcriptions by Ihsahn will include original tabs for thirteen EMPEROR classics contained on the band's 2003 compilation of the same name.

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