QAANAAQ "Escape From The Black Iced Forest" 2016
/Another Side Records/

Tracklist:
1. Body Walks 07:45
2. Eskimo's Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen 07:24
3. Untimely At Funerals 11:47
4. High Hopes 07:21
5. Red Said It Was Green 11:28
Total playing time: 45:55

                                                              QAANAAQ Escape From The Black Iced Forest cover 450

 

 

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issue2 frontpageWhatever metal band that chooses to cover a Pink Floyd song has my unconditional respect. As opposed to other music styles, metal was always a genre that absorbed influences from different areas of the music realm, from rap to classic music or from folk to rock. The debut album from the Italian avant-garde/progressive doom metal quintet is certainly a breeze of fresh air to any trained metal ears even if sometimes the execution leave something to be desired. Mixing 70’s keyboard influences with doom metal, a slice of progressive structures, and even death metal elements can be something difficult to visualize and delineate however they have certainly aimed for an original mix and a debut album that could to some extend create some fuzz around them. ‘Body Walks’ creeps in with a slow death/doom melody and twists completely with a groovy keyboard driven lead (reminding some old game soundtracks) that for a first listen leaves the listener scratching his head and not knowing very well what to think about it... Especially because they have slowly lead it onto a devious compendium of rambling hardrock horror tunes. At the time ‘Eskimo’s Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen’ (haha) I guess the listener is already up for anything... Even for an awkward attempt of clean singing on the second half of that particular song (Enrico Perico’s vocals are mostly guttural and blending both death and doom worlds) building only the crescent desire to slap each one separately for that poor attempt to sound either funny or annoying. Song after song the importance of the keyboard melodies take more and more weight and when it reaches ‘Untimely At Funerals’ it even gains some light jazz driven proportions, blending it with your throughout smile on the face and unexpected progressive rhythmic transitions. The cover song ‘High Hopes’ is certainly one of the highlights on the album displaying a good use of all avant-garde combinations and elements known so far with an interesting vocal approach of Enrico, memorable piano melodies yielding the shortest song on the album with a bit more than 7 minutes. ‘Escape From The Black Iced Forest’ is a journey into a lunatic universe where all rules are shattered into a million pieces by mixing different elements and ambiances on a dry analogue production. Just give a few spins and I’m sure that if you have an open-minded approach to music, the range of both complex and simple structures and rhythms will certainly at least impress you.

8 / 10
RICARDO AZEVEDO (Metalegion #2/2017)

 

Slowly We Rot 10An interesting band altogether, from the band name, to the logo, to the concept behind their music (Regressive Speed Doom Metal - say again?), everything about them seems interesting, and that's perfect for a young band at its debut, although they as artists seem to have some experience underbelt. Well, this debut album is made of only 5 tracks, actually 4 originals as one is a cover of Pink Floyd's High Hopes, and the total playing time is 45 minutes. Their music reminds me at (most) times of Slovakia based Lunatic Gods, it's the same experimental, always pushing boundaries mix of everything Metal; with a Doom Metal backbone Qaanaaq easily adds elements from Thrash, Gothic, Progressive, even Death Metal, and non-Metal elements as well. The problem on this album, even though it is, as said before, a very interesting debut, is the dry production (a more majestic and heavier production would have been way better), the stale keyboard sound (the composition is quite good, but it sounds like a joke at times, not kidding), and the weak clean vocals (the guy has a good, hearse almost growling voice, but when he tries clean vocals he reaches his limits), but nothing that cannot be repaired on a follow-up release, for sure.

6.5/10 (Slowly We Rot #10)

Qaanaaq, named after a small town in northwestern Greenland and one of the northernmost towns on earth, is an Italian quintet. With an album title like Escape From The Black Iced Forest and five songs totaling over 45 minutes long one can take an educated guess that this is a doom and/or progressive and experimental release. Body Walks opens this debut, and indeed starts slow and with thick riffs. Within second the keyboards break in, it almost sounds silly when the keyboard playing attempts to follow the same rhythm as the other instruments. Instead of adding to the music it sometimes sounds like a pointless overlay or addition after the song was recorded. The vocal styles do vary and the cleaner version again is not the most convincing and neither is the 'Body Walks Body Walks' chorus. Eskimo's Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen, surely in the running for best song title ever, starts with a brief church organ section and proceeds to vary between mid-paced doom and something else where the keyboards take the risk of turning the song into an electronic piece. Untimely At Funerals, another great song title, is over 11 minutes long. It starts with a classical sounding piano section, the other instruments slowly fade in and the song settles on a mix of doom and 70s keyboard oriented heavy rock. High Hopes is a Pink Floyd, from 1994's The Division Bell, cover. Red Said It Was Green is a song about Erik the Red, the Viking credited for discovering Greenland. It is a song that talks about contradictions, in lyrics at least, with lines like 'You can't call shit a rose .. you can't say green as lawn' as if the band is mocking the choice of Greenland as the name for that icy northern land. Musically the Pink Floyd influence is apparent or it is perhaps that the listener has just heard Qaanaaq do a Pink Floyd cover and is influenced by that. It is another 11 minutes plus song that is a bit angry, a bit doomy, and a bit aimless. Ultimately the opener sets a negative tone for Escape From The Black Iced Forest, but the other songs have their appeal.

50/100
Anna Tergel (http://metallian.com)

Rockcor 32017“Escape From The Black Iced Forest” – дебютный альбом молодой и оригинальной итальянской команды Qaanaaq. Коллектив, названный в честь поселения в Северной Гренландии, был основан тремя братьями по фамилии Тогни, которые стали баси-стом, барабанщиком и клавишником груп-пы. Команда играет медленную тяжелую музыку, сочетающую в себе вязкость дума и размеренную техничность прогрессива, композиции коллектива наполнены нестан-дартными музыкальными решениями, что делает их музыку своеобразной. Дебютный альбом музыкантов включает в себя пять композиций. Все треки альбома достаточно длинные, их продолжительность 7 — 11 ми-нут. Обращает на себя внимание оригиналь-ная куплетная форма и композиционная структура. Представленные в альбоме вещи сложно назвать песнями в привычном пони-мании. Это разноплановые, сложные по структуре и очень тщательно продуманные музыкальные произведения. Их характерной особенностью является смена настроения и мелодики внутри композиций. Произведе-ния как будто состоят из нескольких частей, каждая из которых могла бы стать отдель-ным треком. Музыканты часто прибегают к переходам между «жестким металличе-ским» и более легким, атмосферным, угне-тающим звучанием. Музыка Qaanaaq – это не мейнстримовый металл, недаром в обо-значении жанра используют слово Avant-garde. Перед нами глубокий по своему со-держанию и замыслу, элитарный металл, показывающий музыкальную «серьёзность» тяжелой музыки. Альбом “Escape From The Black Iced Forest” не является «музыкой на каждый день», которую можно слушать в метро, по дороге на работу, чтобы рассла-биться. Для неё нужно определенное настро-ение. Это депрессивная и обволакивающая музыка с элементами «хоррора», пробужда-ющая образное мышление и рождающая в сознании мрачные картины. Задумка музы-кантов и её воплощение достойны уважения. Нечасто приходится слышать что-то подоб-ное. Этот диск найдет своего ценителя в среде «эстетов из мира металла».

5/5
Анатолий Ягодкин (Rockcor #3/2017)

 

Quintet QAANAAQ was created in Bergamo. This disc is their first and so far only album. This band is wishing to play ambitious music, combining Doom Metal with Progressive influences. However, this plan was not realized comprehensive on the disc. Of course, the songs are long, complex and they contain various ingredients. But not all musicians have sufficiently high skills. The work of keyboard player is interesting, he uses different types of sounds, both the typical digital sounds as well as the generated piano souns. But his melodies are very simple. These are not virtuoso shows. Nevertheless, these tunes attract the ear. The bassist very enriches the band, playing with a specific pulse, sometimes like Jazz style. The drummer is good, but without fireworks. The vocalist sings most often hoarsely, though clearly. There are places of his pure singing and there are the worst, very awkwardly. Additionally the guitarist feels that he does not make a difference to what kind of music he is playing at the moment. He uses the instrument completely impassively.
Notwithstanding the above comments, I must say that the album as a whole is a good. The listening of the disc is pleasant. First of all, the compositions are conglomerates of different styles, which alternately predominate in a particular piece of music. Something is happening all the time. There are moments of heavy Doom Metal as well as climatic darkness, also sharp and Melodic Metal, in addition there is a plenty of space for Progressive Rock.
One track is”High Hopes”, this is the cover-song of PINK FLOYD from the album “The Division Bell”. A lot of bands prepared Its versions of this well-known and reputable song, among others. CALIBAN and NIGHTWISH. The QAANAAQ interpretation compared to the original is heavier and less refined, but it has its own approach to the subject rather. This is not play 1 to 1.
In conclusion: for the lovers of progressive music, QAANAAQ music may seem too simple, and for the fans of Metal it could be too little Metal. But it’s neither Prog Rock nor Metal – this is a Progressive Doom! I wonder what other albums will record this Italian group.

8.0/10
Musashi (metalcentre.com)

IN EXTREMIS fanzine 60 february 2017Attention ovni en vue ! Tout premier album pour ces italiens qui ne font rien comme personne, leur truc c’est d’abord des bases doom/death sur lesquelles ils greffent des influences progressives, voire carrément avant-gardistes. Le résultat me fait penser un peu à ce qu’avaient fait les autrichiens Disharmonic Orchestra sur "Not to Be Undimensional Conscious" il y a fort longtemps, dans un autre genre bien sûr (eux c’était sur une base grind), mais il y a de ça je trouve… ou alors les finlandais Waltari aussi, un peu le même esprit frappadingue que partageaient ces 2 noms mythiques. Alors le problème comme souvent lorsqu’on mélange tout et n’importe quoi, c’est qu’on se retrouve avec des passages bien cools, et puis d’autres qui refoulent du gosier que c’en est une infection. Déjà la voix la plupart du temps gutturale permet de garder un pied dans la tradition, les grattes aussi, bien lourdes et tragiques, on va dire que c’est expérimental mais qu’ils se souviennent d’où ils viennent et qu’ils s’en tiennent. Un bon point ça. C’est d’ailleurs stupéfiant ce style qu’ils se sont trouvé, une part d’eux étant avant-gardiste, et l’autre tout à fait obsolète voire kitsch (rappelant le Crematory allemand). Là où j’ai plus de mal par exemple, c’est avec toutes ces mélodies naïves jouées au synthé, comme par exemple dans "Eskimo’s Wine…". Même si en réécoutant le skeud plusieurs fois, je finirais presque par m’y faire, c’est franchement le genre de mélodies qui crispent à mort, que tu sais pas si tu dois rire ou vomir. Même chose dans le morceau qui ouvre l’album "Body Walks", tout se passe bien jusqu’à ce que survienne cette mélodie pourrave jouée d’un doigt sur un synthé naze, sont vraiment cramés ces mecs ! D’autres compos montrent un visage tout bizarre dès le début, c’est le cas de "Untimely at Funerals" avec cette marche funèbre joué au piano et à la basse (aaargh ce son de basse façon Cynic, une horreur!). Aucun solo à espérer, ça c’était prévisible, une manière de plus pour eux de briser les carcans ancestraux. Alors je ne sais pas à qui peut bien se destiner un tel disque : ceux qui veulent s’en payer une bonne tranche ? En même temps claquer ses thunes juste pour un délire passager je vois pas l’intérêt. Plutôt ceux qui en ont marre de toujours écouter les mêmes groupes qui se pompent et se repompent les uns les autres, clair qu’ici ça n’est pas le cas. En fait c’est le genre de groupe né beaucoup trop tard, qu’aurait sûrement cartonné (ou bénéficié d’un minimum de reconnaissance) il y a 20 ans lorsque le délire était d’innover à tout prix. Aujourd’hui ça pique les oreilles et pas qu’un peu, mais comme il faut de tout pour faire un monde, j’me dis pourquoi pas ? Ça peut plaire aux plus ravagés.

 

QAANAAQ je mladá talianska kapela pochádzajúca z Bergama v Lombardii. Pri jej vzniku vroku 2011 stála bratská dvojica Mattia Togni (basová gitara) a Luca Togni (klávesy). Neskôr sa k nim pridal tretí brat Nicola Togni (bicie) a gitarista Mario Leidi. Zostavu uzavrel spevák Enrico Perico. Po viac ako piatich rokoch fungovania im začiatkom októbra vyšiel debutový album „Escape from the Black Iced Forest“, ktorý obsahuje päť skladieb, s celkovou dĺžkou niečo málo cez ¾ hodiny. Základom tvorby tejto kapely s dosť čudným názvom je starý doom metal, ktorý je však ponímaný veľmi progresívnym až avantgardným spôsobom. Klasické pomalé, ťažké a valivé riff y sú dopĺňané klávesovými alebo elektronickými prvkami, ktoré majú kapelu odlišovať od iných a poukazovať na svojské ponímanie tohto štýlu. Hudobnú časť dopĺňa hlboký growling, ktorý k tomuto pochmúrnemu štýlu neodmysliteľne patrí. Pre zvýšenie predstavivosti by som to skúsil ešte spresniť – doplňte a skombinujte (celkovo vzaté na celý album) starú tvorbu napr. kapiel MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA a OPETH, pridajte o niečo viac klávesov, štipku elektra, pár kvapiek rocku ala PINK FLOYD a vyjde vám QAANAAQ. V podstate veľmi zaujímavý album, avšak poväčšine pre modernejšie vnímajúcich fanúšikov doom metalu, ktorí sa neboja drobného experimentovania. Starí a ortodoxní fans si budú musieť trocha viac zvykať.

3,8/5
KREMATOR (Rock Hard #38)

Scream Magazine 2122017At Qaanaaq er et finurlig originalt band er det ingen tvil om. Og hadde ikke ren- vokalen hart ut som en deddrukken sjemann, sâ hadde denne plata vippetfrem femmeren. Eller faktisk sä er det ikke den merkelige renvokalen som trekker sâ mye ned pâ helheten, men heller levetiden pâ lâtene, noe jeg trygt kan si, for dette er et album jeg har viet mye tid den siste mâneden. Samtidig er dette italienernes debutalbum, og det stâr ganske stor respekt av det de har fâtttil. «Escape From The Black Iced Forest» har nemlig ett av de mest egenartede og originale uttrykkene du har hert pâ lang tid. Med death metal i bunn, og italiensk horror prog som sentral bestanddel, oser det lekenhet og spilleglede av hver lât. Sammensmeltingen av sjangre er sâpass unik at man umiddelbart herer en Signatur, og hvor mange band er det som fâr til noe sânt pâ ferste forsek? Det skal sies at dette er sært, rufsete og pâ grensen til komisk, men sä klarer gutta akkurat â overbe- vise med läter som vokser, kryper under huden, og blir der i hvert fall en liten stund. Produksjonen er smäskitten, litt pâ samme mâte som svensk dedsmetal var det pâ nitti- tallet. Ellers minner musikken om en slags bisarr krysning av Subterranean Masquerade og Anima Morte. Sä klart kommer vi ikke unna Goblin heller, men dette har mer fellestrekk enn â være direkte sammenlignbart. Egentlig er det fâfengt â sammenligne musikken med noe som heist, da Qaanaaq som sagt er ulikt det meste. Dette er nok et band, og album som folk enten elsker eller hater. Har du sans for 
Subterranean Masquerade, Hail Spirit Noir eller Sigh sä bürde du snuse deg frem til denne plata og smake litt pä dette italienske brygget. Se ikke bort fra at du tinner en aldri sä liten favoritt. Og se opp for coverversjonen av Pink Floyds «High Hopes»; den klarer jeg fremdeles ikke avgjere om jeg hater eller digger, men jeg klarer hvert fall ikke slutte ä here pä den, eller denne skiva. Det ma jo vsre et godt tegn ...

4/5
Robin Syversen (Scream Magazine #212/2016)

An interesting band alltogether, from the band name, to the logo, to the concept behind their music (Regressive Speed Doom Metal - say again?), everything about them seems interesting, and that's perfect for a young band at its debut, although they as artists seem to have some experience underbelt. Well, this debut album is made of only 5 tracks, actually 4 originals as one is a cover of Pink Floyd's High Hopes, and the total playing time is 45 minutes. Their music reminds me at (most) times of Slovakia based Lunatic Gods, it's the same experimental, always pushing boundaries mix of everything Metal; with a Doom Metal backbone Qaanaaq easily adds elements from Thrash, Gothic, Progressive, even Death Metal, and non-Metal elements as well. The problem on this album, even though it is, as said before, a very interesting debut, is the dry production (a more majestic and heavier production would have been way better), the stale keyboard sound (the composition is quite good, but it sounds like a joke at times, not kidding), and the weak clean vocals (the guy has a good, hearse almost growling voice, but when he tries clean vocals he reaches his limits), but nothing that cannot be repaired on a followup release, for sure.

6.5/10
Adrian (http://pestwebzine.com/)

Necromance 112016Desde la ciudad italiana de Bérgamo, nos llega el debut de QAANAAQ, “Escape From The Black Iced Forest”. La banda formada por Enrico Perico (voces, Dario Leidi (guitarra), Mattia Togni (bajo), Luca Togni (teclados) y Nicola Togni (percusión), nos trae su original propuesta, aunque a veces arriesgada, basada en un avantgarde/progressive/doom, con grandes melodías y toques de distinción que me gustan bastantes, como el sonido del teclado, muy original, pero con otros que crean incertidumbre (algunas partes vocales) y no acaban de cuadrarme. Editado a través de Another Side Records y con un artwork, que me encanta y tiene ese toque de comic encerrado entre las páginas de su libreto de la mano de Giulio Anesa, nos presentan 5 cortes de los que vamos a hablar a continuación. “Body Walks”, abre el disco y se convierte también en uno de sus mejores temas, donde la percusión inicial y las notas de guitarra densas y oscuras, dan los primeros coletazos junto a unos guturales profundos. Pero si crees que es doom lo que vas a escuchar, tras el silencio, se convierte en un tema progresivo con un teclado y un bajo que sobresalen por encima de la composición, mientras el estribillo repite “body walks” por doquier en un ambiente teatral. Una estructura muy conseguida y cambiante, con un aporte tétrico y melancólico pero repleto de melodías. Solo una cosa no me hace mucha gracia y es la voz rasgada y limpia en la parte progresiva central, que musicalmente llena pero la voz y a veces la pronunciación en ingles no es muy adecuada, quedándose un poco seca y lineal. “Eskimo’s Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen”, tiene un toque eclesiástico inicial, con el sonido de órgano, para convertirse en un pasaje contundente y siniestro. Una vez más el trabajo de los teclados destaca en las estructuras, dotándole de variedad con respecto a otros grupos de la escena, además de recrear una atmosfera muy lóbrega. Un tema pegadizo, con unas estrofas y estribillo muy bien desarrollado, que te sorprenderá en su parte central, la cual me encanta musicalmente, que no vocalmente (personalmente la hubiera dejado limpia de la voz casi narrada), por lo demás es otro corte muy bueno. “Untimely At Funerals”, es un corte largo y progresivo, con un inicio instrumental, donde el repetitivo bajo marca la base a seguir, viéndose envuelto por los teclados y las voces a los que se les va uniendo el resto del conjunto, (en algunos aspectos me recuerda a SONORIS CAUSA). Un tema que queda un poco vacío en su composición más minimalista y simple, destacando la parte central instrumental con un solo de piano, siendo este instrumento el que resalta en todo el álbum y le otorga ese toque diferenciador. “High Hopes”, es un corte con una melodía que te enganchará desde el principio, oscuro y lóbrego, se adapta muy bien en su conjunto, creando ambientes tétricos pero armónicos y manteniendo la incertidumbre con una voz bien estructurada esta vez. Un tema muy embriagador. “Red Said It Was Green”, cierra el álbum y los hace con sus más de 11 minutos, de doom/progresivo, siguiendo la tónica anterior, con una fuerte presencia de bajo (lo hubiera bajado un poco de volumen) y de teclado. Otro corte bien estructurado y con una parte central muy preciosista, pero que le falta algo más, un toque para completarla. La segunda parte del tema se acelera, quizás sea de los más rápidos del álbum, para jugar con los pasajes iniciales mezclados con pasajes de piano, para llevarnos a un fi nal, in crescendo y continuista. QAANAAQ, tiene en mente ideas frescas con temas como “Body Walks” o “Eskimo’s Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen”, sobre todo por el toque de sintetizadores que le introducen muy original en sonido. Aunque otras composiciones se queden un poco vacías, así como algunos pasajes vocales limpios que suenan un poco raros. Pero si eres de mente abierta dentro del doom, puedes echarle una escucha.

7/10
JUAN ANGEL MARTOS (Necromance #11/2016)

Legacy Magazine 106Nintendo Doom? Was QAANAAQ auf ihrem Debütalbum abliefern, tänzelt mit gesundem Irrsinn irgendwo zwischen klassischem Düster-Doom und äh – der Titelmelodie von Zeichentrickserien und „Super Mario“ Gedudel. Während die Gitarren und Vocals erst wenig überraschend wirken, wird plötzlich alles aus den konventionellen Angeln gerissen, als das Keyboard im typischen Midi-Sound loslegt, wirre Tempowechsel dazwischenfunken und man nicht recht weiß, ob man das großartig oder furchtbar finden soll. Doch bereits ‘Body Walks’ geht schnell ins Ohr, und auch auf den restlichen Tracks spinnen diese Neulinge sich etwas zurecht, was zwischen Depression, wildem Gelächter, Piraten-Metal, Achtziger-Pop und einer Prise Ghost schwappt. Dass die Herren sich selbst aber nicht so bitterernst nehmen, zeigen ihre Songtitel: ‘Eskimo’s Wine Is A Dish Best Served Frozen’ oder ‘Untimely At Funerals’. Es zieht sich ein seltsames Augenzwinkern durch die fünf Songs, die alle zwischen sieben und elf Minuten dauern und mehr Fragen aufwerfen als beantworten, doch genau das macht den Reiz dieser neuen Truppe aus, die man zwar nicht immer versteht, aber das ist auch gut so. Vermutlich ist dies ein Album, dessen Wertungen zwischen himmelhochjauchzend und grottenschlecht rangieren wird, denn polarisieren tun die Italiener ohne Frage. Einen Hörversuch sind sie aber allemal wert, allein schon weil sie etwas liefern, das man garantiert noch nie in der Kombination gehört hat.

14/15 Punkte
ACS (Legacy Magazine #106)

QaanaaQ is a place in north western Greenland as well as a brand new avant garde / progressive regressive speed doom metal band (whatever that may be) from Italy that just released their first ever effort ‘Escape From The Black Iced Forest’ through Another Side Records, a sublabel from Metal Scrap Records. The CD contains five songs with a playing time of about 45 minutes. QaanaaQ contains of the Togni family on bass, drums and keyboards, Dario Leidi on guitars and Enrico Perico (vocals).
The first few listens where kind of strange because of the cheap € 49,- keyboard sound. The band mainly plays doom metal interwoven with death / thrash influences into their music in the vein of Paradise Lost, Nightfall, Septic Flesh and The Gathering which is nice of course. Unfortunately the keyboards / piano on this album sound as weedy and clumsily as The Gathering’s 1992 debut effort ‘Always’, which is a let-down for ‘Escape From The Black Iced Forest’. If you think away the keyboard sound, ‘E.F.T.B.I.F’ is a great album. If you adore aforementioned bands, you will dig QaanaaQ as well. And by the way, the Pink Floyd cover ‘High Hopes’ sounds great!

73/100
Koen B (http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/)

Qaanaaq are a band from Italy that plays a very avant garde and progressive form of doom/death metal and this is a review of their 2016 album "Escape From the Black Iced Forest" which was released by Another Side Records.
A very slow doom metal sound starts off the album and a few seconds later death metal growls are added onto the recording and all of the musical instruments bring in a very powerful sound and when keyboards are added into the music they bring in more of an experimental and avant garde style.
A great amount of melody can be heard in the guitar riffing and clean singing can also be heard in certain sections of the recording and the riffs also mix in a lot of prog metal elements and most of the tracks are very long and epic in length and at times the keyboards bring in the atmospheric of a gothic horror film and spoken word parts can also be heard in some of the tracks and there is also a slight black metal influence in some of the screams.
Qaanaaq plays a musical style that is mostly rooted in doom/death metal while also adding in avant garde, experimental and progressive elements to create something very original, the production sounds very professional while the lyrics cover dark themes.
In my opinion Qaanaaq are a very great sounding progressive and avant garde doom/death metal band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Body Walks" and "High Hopes".

8/10
OccultBlackMetal (Doomed to Darkness)

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