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Ravenheart Music: Album Reviews


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(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd March 2015

When one reviews an album by a band whose singer I know fairly well, then the task of reviewing the record in question can become a little more difficult. I have known Mona, lead singer with German Stoner/Sludge heavyweights High Fighter for a wee while now, certainly since she was singer with the German band A MILLION MILES. And I am sure she will not mind me saying that she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Anyway, 2015 offers us the debut record from the aforementioned band, the record's opener '2Steps Blueskill' seeing the band kicking ass, while Mona (who proves she has a great set of vocal chords as she did with A Million Miles), lets out a devilish roar. The demonic quality of her vocal delivery continues on the next rather addictive number 'Breaking Goat Mountains'. 'Black Waters' is a pounding track that hammers your ear drums, but ends in a quiet soothing fashion, with 'Fire In The Sun' continuing the fiery vocal assault, as does closer 'In Veins'. To summarise, this EP of five tracks is a cocktail of heavy riffs and intense infernal vocals, that would send the most hardened of people running for cover. Take a sneaky peek here... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(STF Records) Reviewed 30th January 2015

Hydra from Regensburg, Germany was formed by guitarist Chris Diefenbach and vocalist Lisa Rieger, in October 2013. The first ten songs, which primarily fall into the category of melodic metal, took shape within a matter of months. One thing was clear to both Lisa and Chris - this was song material with potential that simply had to be released. The songs on this debut are enchanting to the full being characterised by deliberate contrast, these contrasts being raw metal meeting soft, orchestral arrangements evocative of fairy tales and enchanting melodies. And this is fully recognisable on the awesome atmospheric opener 'A Quarter To Reality', which is then followed by the up tempo 'Towards Copper Shores', which reminds me a little of Nightwish, rather good I hasten to add. 'Sandflower' is equally as bombastic and symphonic, a pounding number to hammer your senses, if you like female fronted Symphonic Metal, you sure are going to like this album. Everything here comes from the top drawer driving this band towards the premier league of female fronted metal. 'Swathe Of Destruction' features Liv Kristine, being another awesome track from this album of pure gold, while the ballad 'Lone Wolf' features a certain lass by the name of Maria Raum - beautiful! Further numbers that will blow your mind are 'Ad Infinitum' (reminding me vocally of Leaves' Eyes), the brooding but heavy 'Reign In Tears' and the closer, the epic 8 minute plus 'Harvest Neptune'. To be honest, there is nothing much if anything to fault here on this record, so check the band out for yourselves. Their pot of gold is at 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Crysella Records) Reviewed 6th Jan 2015

High In Mist from Cavite (Philippines) is releasing 'Unframed' upon the unsuspecting music buying public, this EP being the result of combined individual differences. The songs here offer everything from an angelic clean tone to a demonic scream courtesy of singer Annette. The melody of each track sounding sweet, dull and intense at the same time, the songs themselves being a collection of random thoughts, written in words and sweetened by your own emotions. This record is another good effort from a band that we here at Ravenheart have not heard of, giving the listener 6 tracks of Gothic Metal. All rather good stuff with 'Deceit' being one of my fave tracks - clean vocals, with crunching guitars and accompanied by strings. Also a mention must be made regards closing number 'Flowing Tears', a rather spiritual and religious sound to this short track. This album is produced by Joelen Mingi of the legendary German Goth-Rock/Metal band “The Angina Pectoris”. More info on High In Mist can be found at Overall, a good album, although I do think there is room for improvement, and given time, the band could well be knocking on the door of the Premier League. Worth checking out!..8/10 (Natalie Gold)


(Self Release) Reviewed 23rd December 2014

Hollywood Groupies were founded in 2006 by Foxy (vocals) and Kelly (Lead guitar), the female section of the band. This ep follows their debut album 'Punched By Millions Hit By None' which was released in 2010. This release is indeed a punchy hard hitting rock album which will put you in a hard rockin' party mood for Christmas. All four tracks motor along quite nicely, but with copious amounts of melody. Just check out the catchy 'Get It On' and 'The Empress' as examples. The band has shared the stage with such acts as Twisted Sister and Motörhead and this ep is well worth checking out. Their Facebook is here..8/10 (Dave)


(Street Symphonies Records) Reviewed 25th September 2014

Any band that lists Kiss, Scorpions, White Lion, Firehouse, Mr. Big and The Darkness as their influences will sure catch my attention. And Italian Melodic Hard Rockers Highway Dream fronted by Isabella Gorni is no exception to that rule. If you love the 80's hard rock sound, then check this band and their 10 track album out. There are some massive tracks here including the melodic and rockin' 'Wonderful Race', the catchy power ballad 'Let Me Be Your Breath', the pounding title track and the rather nice 'Some Stars'. Let us not forget also, the barnstorming closer 'Born To Be A Rockstar'. Highway Dream are on their way! The amazing voice of Isabella, the sleaze guitar of Roby, the strong bass of Gheghe and the explosive drum of Max are the perfect mix for a great band, and I would imagine the Americans amongst many others would love this record. The band's website is here: - well worth checking out... 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Ravenheart Music/Code7) Reviewed 12th September 2014

Gabriel is the angelic sounding name of an international, 100% virtual and internet-based collaboration between singer/songwriter Sally Elsey from England, and guitarist/producer Albert Vinasco, an American musician now living in Argentina. Formed in April of 2009, Sally and Albert met via their online participation in the musician community site, Broadjam. Although separated by thousands of miles and the vast Atlantic Ocean, both musicians had common musical roots and influences. To me Gabriel has a totally unique sound, this mainly due I feel to vocalist Sally, while I also do hear subtle Queen influences in the vocal harmonies and guitar dept at times during the cd. To be honest this, their 5th record is rather good and the title track opener cements that opinion of mine. A heavy but rather catchy opener, that is followed by the beautiful and at times progressive sounding 'Within The Circle', and when the song kicks into top gear, I do love that guitar sound. The opening salvo is followed by the heavy and up tempo 'Two Worlds Collide' and to be honest, I am blown away. The album continues with further such goodies as the pleasing to the ear 'Shelter From The Rain', the epic 11 minute plus 'Time Train', the very cool 'House of Shadows' and the closing track 'Meant To Be'. I must confess that I do like this record very much, and onwards and upwards for Gabriel is what I will say. More information can be taken from their Facebook site which is here. In summary of that little lot, Gabriel combines hard and soft approaches to melody and rhythm to create sonic images that are both moving and full of energy, so check them out and support good independent music.... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)


(Noizgate) Reviewed 5th August 2014

Check the weather forecasts to make sure there is no rain forecast, go out and light up those camp fires, and let your hair down to Grai from the Republic of Tartary in the east of Russia. This is their third studio production that contains 11 songs, being characterized by the vivid mixture of delicate folklore sounds and powerful metal typical of the band. Ruzel 'Ruzveld', guitarist and mastermind of GRAI, reveals a little about the album: "Mlada is multifarious and lively, with songs full of mirth, dance, action and rhythm, as well as some slower, more contemplative tunes" he tells us. And that has hit the nail right on the head. We have clean female vocals and the complimentary growls, but it is all good stuff and so hideously catchy! The 11 tunes on the album follow a similar Folk/Metal formula, although I must say that the number 'I Will Sow My Sorrow' is a more conventional rock ballad with a rather more western European feel, great guitar solo too. I do rather like this tune and the album as a whole too, the band's Facebook is here, so rain or no rain, enjoy - released Oct 3rd! 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 30th July 2014

Heel fronted by Margarita was formed in the winter of 2011. They come from London which means that this is the 3rd British band I have had the pleasure of reviewing today. Seems the female fronted music scene here is gaining momentum at long last. On the downside, this is just 4 tracks long but it is bloomin' good! Opening with the high octane 'Stranger', I suppose they draw comparisons with Pennsylvania's very own Halestorm. Second up 'Gone' tones it down a wee bit, but is still an energetic number to sink your teeth into. 'We'll Fall Back In Love' as the title suggests is a rather good power ballad with an up tempo chorus, while closer 'Not You' ups the ante and is a great way to end this little epic. Their Facebook site can be found here, so go and support some rather good unsigned music..8.25/10 (Dave)

HOLY SHIRE...'Midgard'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 19th April 2014

Another Italian Band to sink your teeth into and rather good they are too. The band was founded by Max (drummer) in October 2009 with the aim of writing and performing original metal music with a symphonic and epic inspiration. Fronted by Argentinian lass Erika "Aeon" Ferraris, with added 'gruff' almost male like vocals from Eliana "La Sisiki" Sanna, the band perform Symphonic/Epic Metal inspired by the greatest fantasy literature, including ‘A Game Of Thrones’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’. Opener 'Bewitched (My Words Are The Power)' is a corker in a Symphonic Metal style, with the added benefit of a flute player to add to the tapestry of sound thrown at us by the band. Next up 'Winter Is Coming' has a video to accompany the song, and is inspired by the aforementioned American fantasy drama GAME OF THRONES. The album continues with some awesome tracks like the catchy and bouncy 'Holy Shire', the epic 'The Revenge Of The Shadow', the atmospheric but heavy 'Beyond', the 8 minute plus title track and the quirky closing bonus track (digipak version) 'Greensleeves'. This is another good album to check out and I do like the use of the flute that weaves it's way in and out of many of the songs. The record will appear on May 13th, but meanwhile, check out the video to 'Winter Is Coming' at - a promising debut indeed! 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Self Release/MetalPunxRex) Reviewed 4th March 2014

Ghost Tower is a now defunct underground horror-themed traditional heavy metal band with thrash and doom metal influences from Bellevue, Nebraska, US. The band started in 2007 with founding members Ameven (Amy Hunley) on vocals and Matt Preston on guitar. After a couple of demos and some line-up changes, after adding drummer Mike Biggs to the line-up and Matt also taking on bass and keyboard roles, in February 2012 the 'Head of Night' album was self-released. In summer 2013, when the original CD pressing was no longer available, the album was released on cassette (yep, cassette) by Germany's MetalPunxRex label. What we have here is 9 heavy metal tracks with a raw 70s type production, harking back to the days of Ozzy, Black Sabbath, early Iron Maiden and the like. If you like the aforementioned acts and similar and have a liking for 70/80s sounding old school metal, check this lot out, including the atmospheric closer 'Elegy Of Dreamtime'. The album can be heard here: (Dave)


(Self Release) Reviewed 17th Jan 2014

The Hourglass fronted by the lovely Alma Vomastek is a Metal Band from Romania formed in 2010. The band's music consists of a combination of Symphonic Metal elements, electro/industrial sounds and the dramatic soprano voice of Alma, all based on a strong melodic metal structure. And boy this, their debut album is good, and the opener 'Dying Star' is testament to this, a melodic thumping number. 'Rise' exhibits subtle industrial elements with great use of synths and keys from another lass in the band, Ioana Dîrvă, this song maintaining a strong sense of melody coupled with Alma's dynamic vocals. And the momentum and melody doesn't let up, we have the catchy 'Away', the rather good 'Dare' which is a fave of mine from the record and then there is 'Requiem', another awesome number with a slight progressive undercurrent. 'Dies Irae' is a great metal song with anthemic qualities and even a religious feel about it - indeed the "Dies Irae" was used in the Roman liturgy as the sequence for the Requiem Mass for centuries, as evidenced by the important place it holds in musical settings such as those by Mozart and Verdi. 'The Fall' is a song about suicide -"Should I jump? Or should I wait to see if I could Find another way? The wounds are deep, The game is lost...My role was played" Alma sings. 'Magdalene', is an uptempo number reminiscent of Nightwish, Magdalene losing someone dear to her - "Magdalene, your tears won't bring him back, He's gone, and you are trapped, Living in the shade of your past, Magdalene, he walked off with your heart". The following tune 'Abandoned' is another upbeat tune but with dark lyrics. 'In Remembrance' I understand is about Alma's late Grandfather and is a great rockin' number, while closer 'Way Home' is about the journey we take in our lives until we find our way home. This is an awesome album with very hard hitting and poetic lyrics throughout and I must recommend this cd whole heartedly when it gets released in February. The band's website is at (Dave)


(Indie Release) Reviewed 15th October 2013

German band GLASS (Facebook) founded in 2009, is fronted by the awesome Katy aus dem Spring and offer up a mix of Symphonic Gothic Rock/Metal with a Progressive undercurrent. And GLASS is another band that is new to me, but sound very established and I do believe that this album was in-fact released a while back. There are ten tracks here that to my ears are not overly heavy. The progressive feel to the music is certainly apparent in openers 'Ancient Ring' and 'Wounded Heart', great commercial tunes aswell, to which I myself found an extremely pleasant listening experience - great guitar aswell compliments Manus Magi. Third track in, the more operatic 'Der Erlkonig' sung in the band's native toungue is a quirky number, while I do very much like 'Oceandeep' - Katy's vocals sensational! 'That's Why I Can Smile' starts with atmospheric synths and becomes more of a piano led ballad with further liberal use of haunting synths. The second half of the records kicks off with the very good and rather catchy 'Black Comedy', and it is a refreshing change to hear an operatic voice with out the bombastic symphonics that we get on many recordings. 'Galgenlied' is another rather quirky and catchy tune, with 'Who You Are' being another mainly piano led ballad, some great violin and with Katy's voice showing so much emotion! The closing duo of the folky 'Dance' with it's pipes and 'Soul In Pain' end what to me is a very good and at times beautiful record. This is very much a band effort it has to be said, but I will add that Katy has in the past been described as one of the most interesting new voices in Germany’s Metal Scene, and was awarded with ’Germany's Rock and Pop Award’ as "best female Hard´n´Heavy vocalist“ in 2009. And to be honest, on this showing I can see why and you know what, this release is a little special..8.75/10 (Dave)


(BOB Media) Reviewed 15th October 2013

Hot Mama I guarantee will rock your socks off. Hailing from Germany this band fronted by the good looking Sonya serve up on this record 10 tracks of Hard Rockin' mayhem. They list their influences amongst many others as Guano Apes, Ozzy, Stone Sour, Korn, Disturbed and Velvet Revolver and this is the style of music that you can expect. Some great turbo charged rockers here including 'Higher', 'Voodoo', 'Alcohol' the thumping 'Waiting For The Beast' and the closer, the melodic 'Your Way'. The band can also slow it down with tracks like 'Living Today'. The band's website is here and this is a rather good effort from a band that is a new one to me... 8/10 (Dave)


(Costa Verde Records) Reviewed 10th September 2013

Gabriel is a messenger, the spirit of truth and the archangel of death. In-fact the band Gabriel is Sally Elsey who lives in the UK (not too far from where I used to live in Essex) and Albert Vinasco from the USA who now lives in Argentina. They decided to collaborate on a couple of songs four years or so ago after meeting on a musician's website called 'Broadjam', and here they are four albums later still doing what they so love - making rather cool music. And there will soon be a fifth one too. This current cd however, is an awesome collection of melodic songs, that to an extent musically remind me at times of Portuguese maestros Factory of Dreams. I also hear subtle resemblances to Queen or Boston at times in the guitar dept, but that may just be me! Albert provides all of the guitars, bass guitars and programming of the drums, and Sally provides all the piano, and most of the synths, strings, organ etc. Albert also providing occasional synth parts too. They also share the writing, which is about 50/50. Sally' vocals offers a softer approach to the music which in turn offers up an often heavy and mid to uptempo sound from Albert coupled with those lush and angelic vocals from Sally. One of my fave songs is the piano led and hideously catchy 'Delusions Of Conspiracy', being a rather enjoyable listen. But having said that, all ten tracks are consistently good with some epic numbers too - 'Into The Flame' being one such monumental tune and at times a haunting track weighing in at over 8 minutes. And let us not forget 'Soldier's Heart' that has been released as a single, all proceeds going to the 'Help For Heroes' charity. Ravenheart Music will always support hard working musicians and it is obvious that the duo involved in Gabriel are just that. And it also proves what can now be done musically via the internet. Take a trip to, while the album is well worth checking out for you lovers of female fronted music! 8.5/10 (Dave)


(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 29th July 2013

Highlight Kenosis's first album 'Glowing' was an eclectic but brilliant collection, mixing rock, prog, metal and pop, their second, the suitably named 'Change', was perhaps a transitional album, as they sought to define and refine their sound. Now this new album from the band which was originally formed in Bucharest by guitarist Matei Damian-Ulmu in 2007 and now based in Cologne, sees the fulfilment of their ambitions, and takes them to a whole new level. To help them realise their vision they have enlisted some premier league help, After Forever's former mainman Sander Gommans producing the music, with Amanda Sommerville, solo artist, Trillium, Simone Simons's vocal coach, and a member of the team behind Epica, producing the vocals. The result is an exemplary top quality sound, truly outstanding vocals by beautiful new singer Marina La Torraca who also did the super artwork, and eight terrific tracks honed to perfection. What really brings this new collection to life are Matei's orchestrations and the keyboards of another new member Roje which add another dimension to their sound. When these elements are put together with Sander and Amanda behind the control desk it's not surprising that they head towards symphonic prog rock. The highly melodic and catchy songs remind me of a more rock orientated Edenbridge, mixed with some Ayreon including some short sharp bursts of prog metal demonstrating their technical chops, but with the bands signature swaggering strut. The result is most certainly accessible enough for the average rock fan, but with more than enough skill and flair for prog fans, who will also enjoy Matei's extraordinary fluid flying fretwork. The title track perfectly illustrates their style, a tinkling electric piano leads into a bout of furious riffage fools you into thinking that it's going to be a heavy workout, but then they go into a glorious symphonic verse and a lovely lilting refrain. The other songs are the rocking rousing 'Feel Me' and 'Through Somebody's Eyes', the menacing 'If The World Is Going Down', the anthemic 'Marching to Hell', the supreme ballad 'In the Shadow' featuring some wonderful piano, and the closing dramatic epic 'To Dare Is To Do', with lads given their showcase in the instrumental 'Fight the Evil'. Highlight Kenosis have really raised their game and produced an album with massive cross genre appeal, a rock/prog/symphonic fusion with a stamp of real quality that should go down a storm across the globe. You will find them here, a swaggering 9.25/10 (Phil)


(Napalm Records) Reviewed 25th June 2013

HUNTRESS released their buzzworthy debut album 'Spell Eater' on April 27, 2012. The album, which Metal Hammer called "a magical debut from the hottest new act of 2012", was just the beginning for the Southern California heavy metal act. This, their somophore effort offers up 10 tracks of pounding metal that will blow your sox off, and leave you demanding more when the album has finished. And although the band revolves around front woman Jill Janus, we must not forget the other musicians involved in making this metal opus. I only have one reservation, and that is the song 'I Want To Fuck You To Death', co written by Lemmy Kilmeister. This could and should have been left off the album. Despite it's catchy chorus, musically and lyically this track is poor I am afraid, and I do not care who co wrote it! Otherwise, with it's 80s inspired metal riffs, this album is good. HUNTRESS remain true to the roots of melodic heavy metal, but has advanced musically and will indeed surprise many metal fanatics with this stunning new material, just listen to the title track, 'Receiver' and closer 'Alpha Tauri' as examples. The band's thundering drums, heavy riffs, spectral solos and catchy choruses are there for all to hear. So if the band steer clear of dodgy co writes with musicians that despite their awesome past, have nearly as good as passed their sell by date, then the future is bright most certainly. Currently, 'Starbound Beast' is your ship to other realms and beyond, so buy it! 8.75/10 (Dave)


(Sleaszy Rider) Reviewed 14th June 2013

Hand Of God featuring Marissia on vocals and Greek guitar hero Theodore Ziras, play an inoffensive commercial style of Melodic Metal that although sounds nice and modern, does at times remind me of the Melodic bands of the 80s, and that is a good thing. This album offers the listener 11 tracks of Melodic Hard Rock/Metal that as I have previously said, is very inoffensive and has some kinda commercial appeal to my ears anyway. The opening salvo of 'Falling' and 'Signs' shows the listener immediately the musical route this band is taking, and is a highly impressive way to kick off the cd. 'Start Again' is another very melodic song while 'No Holding Back' takes a slightly harder rockier approach, as do other numbers like 'No Regrets' and 'Reach The Light'. 'While I'm Here' maintains the momentum with further winners like 'Collapse', 'All About You' and the ballad 'Endless Circle'. This is a good cd, no song runs in over 4 minutes, but you do nonetheless get your monies worth! The band's website is and is a worthy purchase..8.25/10 (Dave)


(Paper Plane Music Inc) Reviewed 17th April 2013

Half Past Four, the Toronto based Art-Rock band play original progressive rock. The band offers something innovative to new music listeners and something familiar to those who have grown up loving the intricacies, driven melodies and exceptional musicianship of their influences: early Genesis, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Mr.Bungle and many many others. 'Good Things' throws at the discerning listener, 12 tracks of Progressive Rock, that at times becomes rather quirky and catchy. The mature voice of Kyree Vibrant is well showcased in opener 'It Strikes you', and yes the musicianship and vocals do strike you in this opener. 'Good Things' the title track is next up and that does offer good things too! Great piano intro before the guitars kick in, and this is another Progressive Rocker's delight. All this is mature stuff from a very good Canadian Band, with one track that did catch my attention being the wacky Cossack sounding 'Spin The Girl', although other good numbers are the more commercial 'All Day and All Night', the six minute plus masterpiece 'I Am Lion' and the quirky and comic 'Wolf'. Building on rich traditions of classic progressive rock, this quintet beautifully marries the intricate complexity of neo-progressive time signatures with deep meaningful lyrical poetry and stories, adding a healthy dose of head-banging riffs and blistering solos to boot! Their website is here, so whether you are new to progressive rock and you have never heard stuff like this before, or you are a seasoned, savvy listener, you may well be very pleasantly surprised... 8/10 (Dave)


(Southern Brigade Records/Scarlet Records) Reviewed 14th March 2013

Godyva is a band I have been into since their conception. Indeed their debut 'In Good and Evil' was released in 2006 (doesn't time fly), and together with their next album 'Planetarium' were to my ears very good releases. Now in 2013 we have 'Alien Heart', and it is very pleasing to see how this band has moved on over the years. They still stick to the Gothic Metal formula that they are known for but why not, if it ain't broken, why fix it?! The band has moved into the Premier League with this release, with the vocals of Lady Godyva still having that sensual, seductive but rockin' feel. The band offer the listener 11 tracks of prime time Melodic Gothic Metal with a wide listening appeal, with the band occasionally flirting with Power Metal territory. Many if not all of the numbers have hit the spot with me, but I do particularly like the rockin' opener 'Apocalypse Fire', 'I Feel You (Ti Sento)', the striking 5 minute power ballad 'In Your Eyes' and the bombastic 'Brainstorm'. This is damn good, it ticks all the right boxes and sees a band come of age. I whole heartedly recommend this record to all and sundry, and punters that may even be a little wary of Godyva, buy it, as there are songs on the cd to suit all moods.. 9.25/10 (Dave)


(Self Released) Reviewed 31st January 2013

This album that was released last year has come my way thanks to Peter 'Foggy' Ongley, who put Francesca from Heretic's Dream in touch with me. 'The Unexpected Move' is this all Italian but London based band's debut album, and a rather good effort it is too. Front woman Francesca Di Ventura has a nice Pop/Rock vocal style, although I must be honest and say that on a couple of tracks she perhaps ventures out of her comfort zone a little, but by and large, this girl's voice compliments the music really well. 'Forgiveness' is a corking way to start the album, a melodic number that will leave you gasping for more - great chorus. 'She Said' almost edges into mainstream territory, while 'A Kiss From The Sun' is a stomping heavier number. 'Golden Cage' sees Francesca's golden voice aided by some male shouty growls, and the great music continues on the rather catchy and bouncy 'Shades of Grey'. 'Thru The Unlocked Door' is a riff tastic number with great guitar solo, while 'Honey I'm Home' lowers the tempo, with Francesca's vocals showing more of a nice sexy Italian accent. 'I Need Your Love' and 'A Question of Coincidences' both take on a slightly more progressive but still melodic slant, while the awesome instrumental 'Hollow', including some great flute playing from drummer Maurilio Di Stefano closes the show, almost reminding me of Jethro Tull at times. This is a reasonable debut from this young group of musicians, and I am further delighted by the fact that Francesca has also sent me a two track demo of their newer material, and that is equally as good by the way. Their face book is here.... 8.75/10 (Dave)

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