DEATH — Human

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4.17 | 103 ratings | 10 reviews
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Album · 1991

Tracklist

1. Flattening of Emotions (4:29)
2. Suicide Machine (4:22)
3. Together as One (4:08)
4. Secret Face (4:35)
5. Lack of Comprehension (3:43)
6. See Through Dreams (4:24)
7. Cosmic Sea (4:27)
8. Vacant Planets (3:48)

Total Time: 34:01

Line-up/Musicians

- Chuck Schuldiner / Guitars, Vocals
- Steve DiGiorgio / Bass
- Paul Masvidal / Guitars
- Sean Reinert / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Relativity Records/Roadrunner
October 22nd, 1991

Japanese edition of the album has a bonus track, 'God of Thunder' (KISS cover),
which was also released on Roadrunner's compilation 'At Death's Door vol.2'.

All words and music by Chuck Schuldiner

Produced by Scott Burns and Chuck Schuldiner
Recorded and mixed by Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida
Mastered by Michael Fuller at Fullersound, Miami, Florida

Artwork by René Miville
Photos by Tim Hubbard
Art direction by David Bett
Label coordination by Tracy Cruz

A music video was made for 'Lack of Comprehension'.

Also released on R/C / Roadracer Records.
Also released on Century Media in 1998.

Thanks to UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, Unitron for the updates

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martindavey87
Okay this isn’t going to make me any friends... but this is my review and I can only share my honest opinion...

Yuck. What is this?

I was heavily into thrash metal in my early teens, and while I don’t sway very often towards the heavier and more aggressive side of metal these days, I still like many of the artists that I’m already a fan of. So here I am many, many years later, and it’s time to get stuck in with one of the main metal subgenres that has always eluded me; death metal. And what better place to start than one of the most revered and beloved bands of the genre? Death.

But this? Nope! Not into it! I mean, the playing is incredibly intense and these guys are all incredibly proficient at their instruments, with pinpoint precision and accuracy, and there are a couple of decent riffs. But most of it is just way too fast and lacks any kind of melody. Ditto for the vocals. Angry, growly stuff, which is fine if you’re into that, but for me, I need some kind of melodic vocal line that I can sing along to!

Aw well. I tried, and I know I’ll get flayed alive for this review (metal fans can be so annoyingly passionate sometimes, it’s just a review, come on guys, chill!), but there we have it. I gave Death’s ‘Human’ multiple listens, and it’s just not growing on me. What can I say? I’m only human.
UMUR
"Human" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Death. The album was released through Roadracer/Roadrunner Records in October 1991. Despite the the fact that there are only about 1,5 year between the release of "Spiritual Healing (1990)" and "Human", quite a few things happened in that time. Most notably almost the entire lineup has been changed since the predecessor and only lead vocalist/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner remains. Guitarist James Murphy left after recording "Spiritual Healing (1990)" (to briefly join Obituary and later Cancer) and drummer Bill Andrews and bassist Terry Butler had a serious disagreement with Schuldiner, which meant that the European part of the tour supporting "Spiritual Healing (1990)" (where they supported Kreator), was completed without Schuldiner. After that tour Schuldiner took control of the Death name again and Bill Andrews and Terry Butler left to play with Massacre on the now legendary "From Beyond (1991)" album along side former Death guitarist Rick Rozz and vocalist Kam Lee (who had also played with Schuldiner in the past).

Schuldiner took the opportunity to hand pick exactly the musicians he thought could bring his music to the next level. His choices were bassist Steve DiGiorgio (active in Sadus at the time), drummer Sean Reifert, and guitarist Paul Masvidal. The latter two both from Cynic, who was an active demo band at this point and hadn´t yet released their groundbreaking debut full-length studio album "Focus (1993)".

The new blood in the lineup is heard right from the opening double pedal fade in of "Flattening of Emotions". While the "old" lineup certainly had it´s charm, the technical abilities of the new guys are through the roof. Reifert is nothing short of a brilliant drummer with a powerful technical drumming style. He plays fast, precise, and inventive for the time. His slight fusion influenced playing is adventurous, but not in a manner which takes power away from the music. Instead he understands exactly when to speed up, change rhythm patterns, or play more heavy, to ensure the greatest impact on the listener. Not enough praise can be given to him for his performance on "Human". DiGiorgio is quite an exceptional bassist too, and his fretless work is heard throughout the album. Masvidal compliments Schuldiner with his melodic and very well played guitar solos. Schuldiner himself is also at the top of his game on "Human" delivering fiercely aggressive growling vocals (fully intelligible), thought provoking lyrics, and his signature guitar leads.

All that wouldn´t have mattered much if the material wasn´t as well composed as it is here. The 8 tracks on the 34:01 minutes long album are all strong compositions, featuring memorable vocal/lyric/riff/rhythm hooks and while most tracks are relatively formulaic in structure, they are all distinct sounding and recognisable. The only track on "Human" which sets itself completely apart from the rest is the instrumental "Cosmic Sea", but it still works well in the overall flow of the album. "Human" is a very consistent album in terms of quality and style, and while I can´t help to mention "Flattening of Emotions" and "Lack of Comprehension" as some of the highlights (the band shot a promotional video for the latter), it´s not really fair to the rest of the material on the album, because all tracks are standout high quality material.

"Human" was recorded and mixed by Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida and produced by Scott Burns and Chuck Schuldiner. They´ve managed to create a very powerful sounding album, which is both raw, brutal, detailed, and sophisticated. Almost the same words which can be used to describe the music, so the material and the sound production go perfectly hand and hand. So upon conclusion "Human" is an outstanding death metal release, which strikes the perfect balance between old school brutality and technical adventurous playing. Paired with songwriting which features a rare sense for memorable hooks, "Human" is a high quality release through and through. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.
arcane-beautiful
Death are a band I have had a fond interest in the past few years. I do respect them immensely and have always liked their music, but they are a band that I have only really liked them at periods. I remember having this album on my Ipod for a very long time, with a very bad quality MP3 sound. The sound quality did make me have a slight negativity towards this album for the past few years. But after finally getting my hands on the CD copy of the album, I do know like this album a little bit more.

Musically, compared to their first 3 albums, a natural progression is slowly coming into form. While the previous album “Spiritual Healing” dealt with longer and more experimental compositions, the songs on this album are a lot more compact, with similar and closer time lengths. Now, this does at time prove to be a slight negative aspect on the album, making the songs sound slightly similar. I do not like the robotic sound of the instrumental sections as well and the high focus of rhythms does annoy me slightly, but I do try and look past that and see what else the album holds.

Lyrically the album shows another progression from their earlier material. Having started out as a gore guts lyrical steal, as time went on, Chuck started to become a lot more critical of the movement. So, with this and their previous 2 albums, the lyrics started to become more philosophical. Apparently they got criticized for there change in lyrical styles, but that wouldn't change Chuck's artistic and stubborn ways.

The album intro “Flattening Of Emotions” is an incredible way to start the album. Taking no prisoners, it speeds on like a tractor mowing down helpless weeds (weird metaphor, but it works well, so lets go with it).

The albums most technical song would be the longest composition “Secret Face.” Brilliant mixture of technical guitar work and some very complex rhythms throughout.

The album's lead single “Lack Of Comprehension” is a Death classic. The intro showing some obvious Cynic influences, explodes into one of the fastest and most extreme songs on the album. The music video for the song is also worth giving a watch.

The instrumental track “Cosmic Sea” is a very interesting track. The atmospheric keyboards surprised me slightly, and even reminded me of the synths used in Iron Maiden's “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” album.

In conclusion, this wouldn't be my favourite era of Death, but I do love a lot of tracks from this album and respect it highly. Believe me, these guys will get a lot more interesting and in my opinion better. As a fourth album showing a band's sound progressing, this is a perfect example. Definitely a pinnacle of Death Metal history.

RIP Chuck Schulinder
Warthur
Having played a part in defining the standard death metal sound with their previous albums, Human saw Death take a more technical approach to their craft, which seems to pay off well. Whilst I wouldn't say it's quite as revolutionary as it's made out to be - Atheist, in particular, had produced two albums of similar or greater technicality prior to it - it's still important for the higher profile it gave to the technical death metal approach, and for the increased level of maturity in both the band's sound and their lyrical subject matter. Most death metal fans will find a lot to enjoy here.
J-Man
Death's 1991 masterpiece, Human, re-wrote the book of death metal. While still maintaining the relentless brutality that made Chuck Schuldiner and co. famous in the first place, the album took death metal into previously unexplored territories and resulted in the most innovative and impressive album Death had created to date. The addition of top-notch musicians into Death's lineup surely helped Chuck Schuldiner expand upon his innovative ideas for this album. The sheer technicality, brutality, and progressiveness of this release was groundbreaking back when Human came out. Even 20 years after its release, Human still remains a revolutionary and highly influential masterpiece - this timeless gem has lost none of its luster through the sands of time. To celebrate the album's twentieth anniversary, Relapse Records has reissued the album fully remastered and repackaged; surely nothing to miss if you're a Death fan. Human is a mandatory purchase for all fans of progressive death metal, and this reissue is the best way to go if you've been living under a rock and still haven't heard this legendary masterwork. I'd even venture to say that the Relapse reissue may be worth a re-purchase for fans of the original album; it really is that good.

With 1990's Spiritual Healing Death began experimenting with progressive song structures, but Human is when Chuck truly took the band to a new level. This album is filled with relentless technicality, complex time signature shifts, killer solos, and plenty of jazzy sections to top it all off. Although not as progressive as the modern interpretation of 'prog death metal', in the context of time, this truly is a revolutionary piece of music. Just listen to the spacey atmosphere in the instrumental 'Cosmic Sea' or the scale-filled solos in 'Vacant Planets'. Not to mention some of the jazzy rhythm sections in songs like 'Suicide Machine', 'Lack of Comprehension', or 'Secret Face'. But regardless of how original and innovative this album was (and still is), the most important part is that it's absolutely kick-ass throughout its entire original 34 minute duration. Expect some of the most well-composed, technically uncompromising death metal ever recorded here.

Human's greatness may be in part (or even mostly) due to the spectacular cast of musicians that Chuck Schuldiner acquired this time around. The lineup consists (obviously) of Chuck Schuldiner on vocals and guitars, Steve DiGiorgio (of Sadus fame) on bass, Paul Masvidal (from Cynic) on guitar, and Sean Reinert (from Cynic) on drums. If that doesn't sound like a legendary lineup, then I'm not sure what does! Schuldiner and Masvidal deliver some of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded here, Reinert's drumming is frantic and technically precise, and the fretless bass work from DiGiorgio is simply legendary. An all-star cast like this one surely deserves their throne at the top of the extreme metal heap.

The production of the original Human was a bit problematic for many listeners, and that's probably the key factor that will lead people to purchasing the Relapse reissue of the album. Steve DiGiorgio's bass playing is much more audible, the drums sound cleaner, and the overall mix is more powerful. I love the original sound of the album as well (I just love that old school production mixed with such insane technicality), but the remaster is clearly superior from a production standpoint. The Relapse reissue also features tons of instrumental bonus material, as well as previously unreleased demo tracks. I don't have a hard copy of the remaster (yet), but the bonus material alone is worthwhile for any fan of the album.

Human is often hailed as one of the finest extreme metal albums ever, and with good reason. Even 20 years after its release, the album remains one of the best and most important masterpieces in the genre. If you like your death metal to be brutal yet extremely technical, progressive, and even melodic, this is an essential purchase. Every self-respecting metal fan has a copy of Human around somewhere, and if not now's the best time to finally check it out. The Relapse Records reissue is truly the best version of this album ever released. With boatloads of bonus material and a sleek new remaster, longtime fans may want to shell out a few bucks to reinvest into this timeless classic. Of course, 5 stars are deserved here. No matter how you package it, Human is a masterpiece and one of the best albums in extreme metal history. Rest in peace, Evil Chuck - the metal world misses you!
topofsm
After three albums of pioneering albums, you would think that Chuck Schuldiner would be content with creating an entire subgenre branch in metal. Most would, however, such is not the case with Death. Instead of continuing with his straightforward (albeit high-quality and somewhat technical) death metal, Chuck brought together prog metal virtuosos Paul Masdival and Sean Rienert and laid the foundation for technical and progressive death metal for years to come.

Human isn't entirely prog-metal, as some would lead to believe. It is still primarily a death metal record. However, melody and technicality takes the forefront, and shifting song structures become the norm. Inventive drum patterns by Reinert and quick sweeping melodic fills by Schuldiner replace what used to be straightforward pounding and vanilla-death chugs.

This is apparent from the first track, "Flattening of Emotions", which fades in with a tribal double bass pattern, but eventually changes moods, feel, tempo, and eventually leads to an instrumental tradeoff section not unlike so many prog bands of today. The death metal with unusual-structure songs is the prominent style in the first four songs of the album.

The second half is decidedly more progressive, starting with the popular and frantic "Lack of Comprehension", where the phrygian modal solo becomes the prototype for the Middle-Eastern solos that become prominent in Death's later work. "See Through Dreams", another more proggy track, leads into "Cosmic Sea", a proggy instrumental with a technical instrument tradeoff section and space noises surrounding them. The album ends with "Vacant Planets", beginning with a proggy riff and developing further until it ends the album on an abrupt stop, as so many death metal albums do.

Overall, Human was one of the more important albums in the development of progressive and technical death metal. It contains progressive and melodic riffs surrounded by a brutal death metal atmosphere, and contains most of the elements tech bands today use. It is definitely a landmark album and deserves a spot in every death metal collection.
Time Signature
Together two as one...

Genre: progressive/technical death metal

One of the things I like about "Human" is that it is way more complex and innovative than its predecessors, and the level of proficiency and execution much higher - yet it has one of the most brutal sound productions I have ever heard - especially the distortion of the guitars which has a lot of bottom and just enough edge to prevent the sound from becoming messy, is so brutal that, when the guitar riff kicks in on the first track "Flattening of Emotions", it is almost scary. The downside is that the bass is almost inaudible at times.

With Cynic musicians Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert as well as bass wizard Steve DiGiorgio in the line-up, Schuldiner finally cooperated with musicians who were at his own level of proficiency (or perhaps even above his level of proficiency at the time - Masvidal has described the songs on "Human" as easy to play compared to Cynic's material). I certainly do think that its was through working with musicians like these that Chuck Schuldiner finally realized the musical vision that is weakly evident on "Leprosy" and more so on "Spiritual Healing".

In terms of compositional complexity and dynamics, the level is more or less the same as on "Spiritual Healing" (well, probably a bit higher), but the level of musical ability and awareness from the band is so much higher than it would be unfair to "Spiritual Healing" to even start comparing them. It's the fact that the musicians are now able to execute Schuldiner's ideas, I think, which has caused "Human" to be considered the conception of progressive death metal; I tend to agree.

Highlights are "Flattening of Emotions", "Suicide Machine", "Lack of Comprehension" and the fusion-jazzy "Cosmic Sea".

"Human", I think, is the first of four consecutive progressive death metal masterpieces, and I recommend it to any fan of technical death metal and progressive metal.
Stooge
This is the album where Chuck finally got it right. After three albums of a more straight-forward death metal nature, Death find interesting ways of adding jazz fusion and progressive rock to their sound while still remaining true to their metal roots. And they got a much-needed upgrade in musicians (though James Murphy, lead guitarist on Spiritual Healing, is no slouch).

Human teams Chuck Schuldiner with fellow guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert (both of Cynic), as well as Sadus bassist Steve Digiorgio (though bassist Skott Carino plays on "Cosmic Sea"). This lineup gives Death their best lineup to date, and in my opinion, their best lineup ever.

Most of the tracks on this album as brutally heavy tunes that wouldn't be totally out of place on their previous album, Spiritual Healing. The fact that they've finally got a rhythm section that doesn't sound cold and uninspired is what really gives life to these songs. Reinert's drumming on this album is the most noticeable upgrade in the sound of the band. Chuck's soloing has improved from past albums, and Masvidal's playing is a nice addition to the band (though his predecessor James Murphy was no slouch). The bass playing is much more interesting, although it is a bit quiet at times.

My favorite tracks on this album are "Together as One", "Lack of Comprehension" and the instrumental "Cosmic Sea" (easily the proggiest song on the album). I rarely skip a track when listening to this album. As all songs are between 3 and 5 minutes in length, Human shows that the progressiveness of an album is not necessarily proportional to running length (only at approximately 34 minutes).

This is an album that could easily fit in the collection of a death metal fan, and wouldn't look odd sitting on your shelf next to the likes of Yes' "Relayer" or Allan Holdsworth's "Metal Fatigue".

Members reviews

Kazuhiro
Zeal that Chuck Schuldiner spent on this "Death". And, the listener will be able to discover the fact to which he was doing the challenge and the creation to the part of the perfectionism and the music character very by this album. It is not an exaggeration to say that Hajime might be enough exactly establishment of the element of the transition and advancement in the music character that Chuck Schuldiner did for this project and the work of one from this album. Especially, development of music character seen since middle term of this project and technical element. And, Chuck Schuldiner to establish as one unique part might have exactly had the role of the brain for this project. The musician who was related to the recording in the flow that announced the album was not established. And, the member according to the tour might be a point from the production of the album to have to make a special mention of the fact with changing places indeed. Chuck Schuldiner was made remarks, "It was not given so much by the companion who created music together". As for it, he might give the listener a dictatorial impression. James Murphy of the guitar player who participated in the production of "Spiritual Healing" was made remarks that Chuck Schuldiner and some opinions collided. However, might it be assumed the result if the music character that the flow and this project of the overall situation did is considered and understand Chuck Schuldiner was intellectual and very a perfectionism.

And, the ability of choosing a suitable person that saw through the musician corresponding to the music character created as one of the elements of intellectual that Chuck Schuldiner had further was had both. Fact that tries touching to Allen West active with Obituary as successor of guitar player's Rick Rozz. Of course part of perfect ensemble with James Murphy. And, Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert that participates in this album are created complete and the possibility is pursued. How Chuck Schuldiner always aimed at the development of the highest level and the music character can be considered.

After announcing "Spiritual healing", they dare the tour in the United States. Because James Murphy had left the band during this tour, the band was doing live by three person organization for a while. The band succeeds here in acquiring Paul Masvidal. However, because Paul Masvidal was not able to help the band, the tour in the Europe became impossible. Chuck Schuldiner made the request for Albert Gonzales active with Evil Dead. The event not expected to tried Death that it will dare the tour again visits. Musicians who had had Chuck Schuldiner and relations in the past showed up as a band of the imitation in front of people. Chuck Schuldiner was an event not related at all. Chuck Schuldiner is made remarks that time to heal a mental pain and the stress was necessary. However, it became the result of showing a unique part for the music character of the band this fact and a progressive element and it is likely to have appeared in the content of the album. To always maintain the highest level if necessary without established of a specific sound easy person, all the zeals of tried Chuck Schuldiner might be expressed in the production of this album. The creation concerning the music that Chuck Schuldiner did after that is not a translation at all done to the origin of despotism. Part of challenge and perfect intention. And, a progressive element and it is technological that reflects it in music. These flows might be exactly expressed by this album in complete shape.

"Flattening Of Emotions" starts from the part of fade in with the drum by the rhythm of complete Riff and 6. It rushes into the part of the dash feeling with a complex rhythm from harmony with originality. And, it shifts from Riff of three group notes to the part of the rhythm of fast six. The tension and the continuation of the dash feeling are overwhelming. The repetition of Blast Beat and three group notes that continues the dash feeling is splendid again.

"Suicide Machine" shifts from the rhythm of three to the rhythm of fast six. Heavy Riff continues. And, original harmony is drawn out from the rhythm that puts fast and slow. It is likely to succeed in expanding the impression of the tune by multiusing the part of the melody that Death does that characterizes and looks like the melody of the Middle East. The tune continues the dash feeling and advances. Flow of rhythm of flow and 6 that shifts to rhythm of heavy eight. The composition in which the tempo is freely manipulated might be splendid.

"Together As One" Original harmony progresses getting on fast Blast Beat. The flow that shifts to the rhythm of six has the tension at once. The storm of Riff that develops one after another has a splendid composition. A flow advanced as eight rhythms and six rhythms are multiused has a feeling of security splendidly. And, high-speed Riff has completely decided the impression.

Riff and the rhythm that "Secret Face" is considerably calculated from 3-5-3-7 Riff shine. Part of flow that freely manipulates tempo and multiuses six rhythms and original harmony. Or, the guitar that divides the compass is composed good. The repetition of the melody and the theme to decide continues a good tension.

A fast flood of six group notes overcomes "Lack Of Comprehension" from the melody that fuels uneasiness. The idea that mixes the rest with heavy Riff might be perfect. And, Riff divided from Blast Beat. Solo of the guitar might be also beautiful. Flow of six group notes from complete Blast Beat. The composition is splendid.

"See Through Dreams" has a complete dash feeling from the start. It shifts to six group notes at once and it has heavy earliness of Riff and development. Rhythm that puts fast and slow. And, perfect Riff and ensemble might be perfect.

"Cosmic Sea" continues the melody and the tension of the solemnity and starts. Melody of harmony and unison that flows to steady rhythm in space. Ensemble is overwhelming. The tune accompanies the line of heavy Bass as the sound of the decoration twining. Flow that original guitar Solo twines round steady rhythm. Guitar Solo in close relation to especially six group notes has good atmosphere.

The rhythm that "Vacant Planets" is steady to the melody of the guitar that moves freely twines. And, a complete dash feeling and the tension are continued. The adjustment of intermittent Riff and the tempo is perfect. The melody and the composition in which Spiritual Healing is reminiscent have succeeded, too.

Because Bonus Track is collected to the Japanese version that I own, a postscript is added.

"God Of Thunder" is a tune of Kiss. Declaredly that Chuck Schuldiner was a fan of Kiss from young time. It might have the element of the session done by the process of the production of this album. However, the tune is done very faithfully. The individuality of Death might be exactly reflected in the tune. Famous Riff and the melody are performed by heavy atmosphere. The flow with good Solo of the guitar and steady rhythm is produced.

Technology, advancement, and zeal that Chuck Schuldiner exactly thinks about. And, it tries to music and the level is maintained. The masterpiece that advocates one establishment to the history of various Metal is here.
CCVP
In a time when progressive metal was still consolidating itself and death metal was still a baby, Chuck Schuldiner was already breaking barriers and revolutionizing the death metal, which he created.

This is a very interesting and unique album. It is the beginning of the glorious "progressive" era of Death, it is a BIG turning point for progressive metal in general, specially for the heavier side of the force, because it represents the creation of another level of both progressive metal and death metal, completely revolutionizing the musical scene just by itself. To put this very simply and plainly, Human is both a classic and a quintessential album for death and progressive metal alike. So, if you find yourself anywhere near extreme metal / prog metal or even think about listening something about it, begin by listening this album.

This particular album right here was my first contact with extreme metal and extreme progressive metal and I have this to say: from day one until now Human still manages amazes me. It has THAT unique quality of a true masterpieces that is to never get old nor tiresome.

Musically, this album is definitely a step (or maybe even a jump) forward for Chuck. Nothing that he ever done before had reached this level of complexity and what is even more amazing is the fact that Chuck was a self-taught player and composer with zero musical formal knowledge whatsoever. He basically, in his head, invented the music he composed. Of course, he truly invented nothing as far as musical theory goes, but it was never used the way he used.

Each song follow a basic script: guitars consisting of a broken rhythm fast riffing in odd time signatures, usually made by Chuck, a very competent solo guitar, bass playing being quite technical and complex and out-of-this-world drums that blast hard and crazy, complementing the music to make it well rounded. We can clearly see here that, in the short space of time of four years, since Scream Bloody Gore, Chuck immensely improved his playing and compositional abilities.

To this day another thing that incredibly amazes me is how it can be possible for someone go from something like Spiritual Healing to Human, in the matters of musical complexity, technicality, quality and basically everything else there is. The evolution shown here is so drastic that its hard to believe that this is the same creative force.

Grade and final Thoughts:

I don't think that there is anything else more important to mention about this album, so I will be as plain as possible in this final part of my review. Human put together musical brilliancy, quality, amazing playing, revolutionary music in only one album that keeps you interest from begining to end. No matter what others may say, this album rocks and deserves the top grade for all its qualities and that is it. Class dismissed.

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