Posted in audiObelisk on September 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Swedish trio Snailking will release their new album, Storm, Sept. 15 through Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. It is their second offering behind a well-received 2012 demo/LP, Samsara (review here), and greatly widens the scope from that offering, holding onto some of the cosmic doom sensibility showed then but adding an almost Godfleshy timekeeping stomp to the drums of Karl Jonas Wijk on songs like “Premonitions” and burying guitarist Pontus Ottosson‘s vocals deep within his and bassist Frans Levin‘s collective glug of tone so that he seems to be shouting like he’s trapped underneath his own band’s cacophony.
Three of the five tracks on Storm top 10 minutes long, including the opening duo of “To Wonder” (11:03) and “Premonitions” (10:57), so it’s clear Snailking are still going for an expansive sound. As one might expect, they owe a bit of a debt to their namesake Ufomammut, from whose 2004 landmark LP they take their name, but more than on Samsara, Snailking establish themselves on Storm as a progressive unit engaged in their own evolutionary process. The onslaught of “To Wonder” and “Premonitions” isn’t to be understated — it is a doomed psychedelia to which they’re committed, even in the quiet reaches of the second cut — but the shorter “Slithering” (6:32) introduces a post-metallic feel to the well-bearded three-piece’s lumbering groove, less indebted to YOB than was their last time out, but still showcasing a touch of that churning in its riffs.
Primarily, what Snailking do well on Storm is create a sense of the space in which the album unfolds, and in terms of individual pieces, it’s almost inevitable they’d do it best on “Requiem,” the longest song here at 16:57. In the YOB tradition, it begins with minimal, slow-weaving effects-laden guitar and gradually unveils its full push over the first several minutes, a slow rollout of doomed gravity that will encompass the remainder of the runtime. Hypnotic for its repetition, but crushing, its distinction comes through low, atmospherically mixed growls, screams and shouts, as much black metal as Neurosis, that serve to remind the listener that somewhere in this morass of chest-vibrating low end there is in fact a human presence. If you’re not too quickly swallowed by “Requiem” and can keep your consciousness about you, it is a stirring highlight for Storm and a moment where Snailking‘s plod is most their own.
The closer, “Void” (8:00), holds to some of this same mentality, beginning quiet and ambient before moving into a dense sonic pummel, but as Snailking finish out, Ottosson leaves out vocals and substitutes an extended, drawn-out solo instead, lending the finale a dirge-type feel, less thunderous than “Requiem” before it but all the more mournful in a European doom tradition. That lead holds firm as the other elements crash to a finish, and it as a couple seconds of feedback stumble Stormto its end, they serve as a reminder of how early into the band’s development they actually are — with the confidence of their delivery and the wide ranging feel both sides of the album present, it’s easy to forget. If this is just the beginning, then even better, since as much as Stormworks to create its own space, so too do Snailking set themselves up to be that space’s sole inhabitants, working toward an individual approach that one hopes they’ll continue to forge going forward.
I have the pleasure of hosting a stream of “Slithering” today for the record. Please find it on the player below and enjoy:
Snailking‘s Storm will be out Sept. 15 on Consouling Sounds and is available now to preorder in colored vinyl (black, blue and clear; 100 copies), black vinyl (200 copies) and CD. More info at the links.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m always happy to post streams from Roadburn, and I think I’ve made that clear over the last half-decade, but this batch in particular features two of my favorite performances from this year’s fest, namely Brooklyn’s Hull, who played Day One, and Boston’s Gozu, who played Day Three. The two bands are pretty far from each other sonically and aesthetically, but both are fantastic at what they do and for me represent where I come from (the New York area) and where I’m at now (the Boston area). So in addition to having enjoyed watching these guys wreck up Stage01 and the Green Room, respectively, I’m happy now to have the chance to revisit those memories. Heavy riffs and fuzzy feelings.
Also cool to hear Mansion‘s set again, which was something of a sleeper, and Carlton Melton, who were so psyched out I almost broke a vinyl-buying embargo, as well as acts I missed like E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, New Keepers of the Water Towers and ASG. As ever, all the sets were recorded by the venerable Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team, and they’ll be available into perpetuity so that future generations can know just how much they suck in comparison to the rock and roll we beheld.
ASG – Live at Roadburn 2014
Carlton Melton – Live at Roadburn 2014
E-musikgruppe Lux Ohr – Live at Roadburn 2014
Gozu – Live at Roadburn 2014
Hull – Live at Roadburn 2014
Mansion – Live at Roadburn 2014
Nicklas Barker & Reine Fiske – Live at Roadburn 2014
New Keepers Of The Water Towers – Live at Roadburn 2014
Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for permission to host the streams. To check out past streams from Roadburn 2014 click here, here and/or here, and to read the coverage from this year’s fest, click here.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Among the many Main Stage acts on the Roadburn lineup this year, few bands left the kind of impression Richmond, Virginia’s Windhand seemed to leave. After their set, which was on the third day of the fest proper, Saturday, April 12, you could hear their name being talked about for the rest of the evening outside the 013 in Tilburg: “Dude, did you see Windhand?” The five-piece had obviously made an impression with their 2013 Relapse label debut, Soma(review here), and they followed that up with a blistering live set that, come the fall, will be available as an exclusive vinyl release on Burning World Records and Outer Battery Records.
The opener from that set, recorded and mixed by Marcel van de Vondervoort and mastered by James Plotkin, was “Orchard,” but that’s only if you want to be technical about it. Really, the opener for the set was about a solid minute of gut-wrenching feedback from which the initial riff eventually oozed. Soon enough, Windhand are underway with the track’s doomly lurch, but they’re barely there at all before you can hear the audience get into it on the recording. Roadburn may have been a stop for Windhand on a longer tour, one that seems nearly endless with the road-time the band puts in — they’re out again in the States next month (dates below) — but after listening to the captured results, there can be little question it was a landmark both for them and for those who got to see them play.
If you were there, Live at Roadburn 2014is a chance to relive that moment. If you weren’t there, it’s still about as quality a live recording of Windhand as you’re going to get, so I don’t really see how you could lose. The LP is available now to preorder, and you can hear “Orchard” on the player below. Please enjoy:
Windhand will release the vinyl-only Live at Roadburn 2014 late September/October on Burning World Records (EU preorder here) and Outer Battery Records (US preorder here). The pressing is limited to 400 copies in the US. Windhand also head out on tour starting Sept. 4 with All Them Witches. Dates follow:
Windhand tour with All Them Witches: 9/4 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar 9/5 Pittsburgh, PA – 31st St Pub 9/6 Akron, OH – Musica 9/7 Columbus, OH – The Basement 9/9 Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s 9/10 Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge 9/11 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock 9/12 Milwaukee, WI – Metal Grill 9/13 Ferndale, MI – Loving Touch 9/14 Toronto, ON – Coda 9/16 Ottawa, ON – Cafe Dekcuf 9/17 Montreal, QC – Petit Campus 9/18 Cambridge, MA – Middle East (upstairs) 9/19 Providence, RI – AS220 9/20 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar
Posted in audiObelisk on August 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The bell of the ride counts out a measure and soon enough the guitar starts in on “Witch,” the opening track from Wolf Blood‘s self-titled debut. Right away, something just seems bent. It’s like the sound is contorted somehow. It’s an otherworldly sensation and it continues throughout the Duluth, Minnesota, four-piece’s six-track offering, which follows through with a loosely cultish approach but is more geared toward general darkness and tonal space than trying to win you over to Team Lucifer. Driven by the riffs of guitarists Mike Messina and Mindy Johnson (the latter also vocals), “Witch” is the slowest of Wolf Blood‘s tracks until its complementary 12-minute closer “Procession of the Witch,” and it also provides one of the album’s signature hooks, so while it may not represent the High on Fire thrashy sensibility of “Exile,” Messina, Johnson, bassist Brian Wells and drummer/vocalist Jake Paulsrude are definitely putting their best foot forward, and they’re swinging it hard right at their audience.
Grooves and big riffs abound, but that’s nothing new to the converted, and where Wolf Blood really distinguish themselves is in the oddity of their aggression. Blending clean vocals, spoken parts and screams, they play off both metallic and heavy rock styles and craft something fluid and malevolent from them. There’s a sense of theatricality in side A finale “Dancing on Your Grave,” where much of the album’s second half seems to be more about pummel, but there’s an emerging personality at work across the board, and Wolf Blood emerge after “Procession of the Witch” unscathed by their own strangeness, having tread hard on a couple fine lines between subgenres. Ultimately, Wolf Bloodis as satisfying for its brashness as it is for its density of groove.
The band released it earlier this year on two separate, sold-out tape pressings and the whole record is available to stream on the band’s Bandcamp in that original form, but Burning World Records and Outer Battery Records will have a vinyl out in October remixed and remastered by James Plotkin, and you can hear the new version of “Witch” on the player below. Please enjoy:
Wolf Blood‘s Wolf Blood is out in October through Burning World Records (EU preorder here) and Outer Battery Records (US preorder here). The band will tour beginning on Sept. 25 in support of the vinyl.
Wolf Blood Midwest Fall Tour Dates: 9/25- Duluth, MN @ The Red Star 9/26- Eau Claire, WI @ House of Rock 9/27- Dubuque, IA @ Eronel 9/28- TBA 9/29- Iowa City, IA @ TBA 9/30- Madison, WI @ The Wisco 10/1- Madison, WI @ Dragonfly Lounge 10/2- Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters 10/3- Chicago, IL @ TBA 10/4- St. Louis, MO @ TBA 10/5- Colombia, MO @ TBA 10/6- Kansas City, MO @ Vandals 10/7- Lawrence, KS @ TBA 10/8- Des moine, IA @ Vaudville Mews 10/9- Minneapolis, MN @ House show
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This one’s a couple minutes shorter than the last few have been, but lacks nothing for substance, and particularly after YOB‘s “Marrow,” anything I put at the end would’ve just been filler to meet some imaginary obligation on my part. If you feel like you’re lacking the four minutes, give me a call and we’ll chat about records for the rest of that time. It’ll be a hoot. In any case, I think there’s plenty here to sink into — stuff that for a lot of people, myself included, will be on year-end lists and albums for which 2014 will be remembered when all is said and done. Two of my four current contenders for Album of the Year are featured, first and last.
Parts of this podcast are gorgeous, parts are ugly, but I think everything here holds up in terms of quality and listening back, I like the way this one gets immersive with a mix of longer tracks and shorter ones, slower and faster, etc. As always, I hope you enjoy, and I thank you sincerely for taking the time to check it out.
Lo-Pan, “Regulus” from Colossus (2014)
Steak, “Liquid Gold” from Slab City (2014)
The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara (2014)
Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss (2014)
Kvlthammer, “Hesh Trip” from Kvlthammer (2014)
Snailking, “To Wonder” from Storm (2014)
Earth, “From the Zodiacal Light” from Primitive and Deadly (2014)
Pallbearer, “Watcher in the Dark” from Foundations of Burden (2014)
Sorxe, “Her Majesty” from Surrounded by Shadows (2014)
Humo del Cairo, “Tres” from Preludio EP (2014)
Joy, “Miles Away” from Under the Spell Of… (2014)
Megaton Leviathan, “Past 21” from Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell (2014)
Bong, “Blue at Noon” from Haikai No Ku – Ultra High Dimensionality LP (2014)
YOB, “Marrow” from Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
“The Mountain Man,” the rhythmically-centered, viciously lumbering finale of Sorxe‘s self-released debut album, Surrounded by Shadows, is led directly into by the title-track, a five-minute alteration of consciousness via ambience, some touches of brooding Neurosis drone emerging amid the Phoenix-based four-piece’s own exploratory sensibility. The pummel that emerges from the drum intro is all the more devastating for the extended break beforehand. As such, before you click play below, take a deep breath.
Sorxe‘s Surrounded by Shadowsdraws on the best elements left from the largely washed out post-metal movement. They tradeoff atmospherics and churning, crushing riffs, vary their approach widely, and toy with structures and builds to create a full-album sensibility that each individual song feeds into. The lineup of bassists Christopher Coons and Roger Williams (the latter a founding member of Graves at Sea), guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Tanner Crace (also synth) and drummer Shane Ocell made their debut in 2013 with an EP called Realms, and all three of those tracks reappear on Surrounded by Shadows, including the 10-minute “Make it So,” which on the full-length functions as the centerpiece around which the rest of the album swirls, darkly hued and rife with multi-directional aggression.
For having two bassists, the guitar isn’t lost in the mix — one always imagines a consuming wave of low end, as if the extra four strings preclude being able to hear anything else — but when Sorxe lock into a full-brunt weighted stretch, you can feel the impact of that extra heft. Even their quieter reflections seem to have a moody feel, and as Crace layers and alternates his vocals between cleaner singing, growls and screams, the band fluidly transcends the bounds of post-hardcore, doom, sludge and post-metal, while effectively maintaining an identity of their own that never seems content to commit to one or the other. No doubt that’s a big part of what makes Surrounded by Shadowssuch a satisfying front-to-back listen.
But that closer. “The Mountain Man” has its stomp and plod in rounding out the nine-track/55-minute offering, and its initial explosion in chaotic, crushing noise is high among Surrounded by Shadows‘ most satisfying moments, but there’s consciousness at work behind all that bludgeoning. It would be hard for any individual piece to completely sum up everything Sorxe have on offer with their debut, but in providing the album with its apex, “The Mountain Man” also provides a showcase for Sorxe‘s burgeoning dynamic. It is encompassing in its heaviness.
Hope you enjoy:
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Sorxe will release Surrounded by Shadowson Sept. 9 with Bandcamp streams beginning one week before. They’re also slated to appear at this year’s Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18 in Tucson, AZ, where they’ll share the stage with Neurosis and The Body. More info at the links below:
Posted in audiObelisk on August 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
French noisemaking trio Pord made their full-length debut in 2011 with Valparaiso, but they’ve been around for more than a decade, doling out punker punishment on various EPs, splits and singles, continuing to hone a craft that, by now, finds them blending elements of heavy rock thrust and post-metal tonal claustrophobia while still staying true to a raw, aggressive root. Their second album, Wild, will be released via Solar Flare Records on Sept. 8, and it’s a short title that fairly well summarizes the course of the record’s 40-minute span. Not short on atmosphere but sacrificing nothing in terms of efficiency in their pummel, Pord unveil a vicious strain of noise that’s anchored by deep low end and positioned sonically for righteous defiance.
In early tracks like opener “Staring into Space” and “I’m Swimming Home,” that comes through with a linear, building intensity, but for a song like “What are Tuesday For?,” it’s more of a constant bleed. Maddening drum fills underscore the song, while deep-mixed vocals ask the all-pivotal question, “What the fuck are Tuesdays for?” It’s like a conceptual art piece for disillusion, and truth be told, I have no answer. In my experience, Tuesday is the most hopeless day of the week, and where at least with Monday one has fond memories of the weekend to draw on, Tuesday is further removed from that and still too far from the coming weekend to look forward to that. What the fuck are Tuesdays for? Despair? Overpriced turkey sandwich lunches? Beats the hell out of me.
Fortunately, the song feels like it’s doing the same thing. Pord‘s aggro take finds some sway in the snide “My Bloody Galantine” or “Pools ‘n’ Chicks,” but “What are Tuesdays For?” is less about attitude and more about forward directed drive, the album proving richer for being as multifaceted as it is before rounding out with the churning chaos of the 11-minute “On the Couch.” If you need to check out “What are Tuesdays For?” more than once to really get a feel for it, do so. It’s easy to feel outpaced by the song or like Pord — the trio of Mike, Max and Seb — are coming at you from multiple sides at once, but once you get a handle for the tension and release in the track, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea what the rest of your day is for.
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Pord‘s Wild was recorded by Serge Morattel at Rec Studio in Geneva and is available now to preorder through Solar Flare on CD and LP. Album is out Sept. 8 with a European tour to follow. More info at the links:
Posted in Radio on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a pretty wide stylistic swath with this week’s adds to The Obelisk Radio, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you check out the playlists for the last couple days, you’ll see a considerable variety of track picked out — also a lot of Clutch – and that only bolsters the appeal of the stream as far as I’m concerned. Straight-up riffs all the time is cool, I guess, but sometimes a left turn out of nowhere can make your whole day seem richer. Maybe that’s what I’m going for with this week’s picks. Either way, it’s a lot of quality, so your tuning in is appreciated.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 15, 2014:
Ides of Gemini, Old World/New Wave
The Sera Timms-fronted three-piece return with Old World/New Wave, their second album on Neurot Recordings with a suitable foll0w-up collection of otherworldly melodies and ethereal instrumental explorations, setting a balance between doomly undulation and minimalist ambience. Also handling bass, Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman) is of course in command of her form vocally, and guitarist J. Bennett and drummer/backing vocalist Kelly Johnston play more than a complementary role, the trio functioning even tighter than on their 2012 debut, Constantinople, hitting on psychedelic mastery with “White Hart” and rolling out a classic riffly chug on the later “Fememorde.” Mood and ambience are never far from being the central focus, but Ides of Gemini let loose a bit on “The Chalice and the Blade,” with Bennett‘s guitar taking forward position in the mix with an echoing lead tone that seems to be in direct conversation with Timms‘ vocals. It’s a dialog worth hearing, and one that makes Old World/New Wavea markedly rich, immersive listening experience, the spaces the three-piece create in their songs seeming inevitably destined for headphone-on isolation, and in that context, flourishing. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
Michael Rudolph Cummings, “Long Haul”
A single following the earlier-2014 solo release, Get Low, from Pennsylvania-based Backwoods Payback guitarist/vocalist Michael Rudolph Cummings, the new song “Long Haul” finds Cummings partnered with his Backwoods bandmate Jessica Baker (bass), as well as guitarists Dan Metzker and Pat Shannon and drummer/vocalist Mike Bardzik under the adopted moniker mRc and the Souvenirs. The feel of the track is accordingly full-band, casting off most of the punk influence and heavy tonality that distinguishes Backwoods Payback‘s riff-led take in favor of warmer, classic rock vibing. Cummings‘ voice is suited to the change, and especially following Get Low, “Long Haul” feels like an exploration in progress — new ground being felt out — and I’d argue it’s successful in its push toward creating something distinct from Cummings‘ other solo work and the Backwoods itself. He’s reportedly got an EP coming with The Souvenirs, and as a first taste of what that might sound like, “Long Haul” holds promise of good things to come. Michael Rudolph Cummings on Bandcamp, Backwoods Payback on Twitter.
Kikagaku Moyo, Mammatus Clouds
Improvisational five-piece Kikagaku Moyo are obviously comfortable working in longer forms. The Tokyo outfit’s second offering, Mammatus Clouds, was initially released as limited tape through Sky Lantern Records and has been picked up by Cardinal Fuzz for a deluxe 2LP. No real question why — its three tracks, “Pond” (27:50), “Never Know” (16:50) and “There is No Other Place” (3:19), enact a lush wash of hypnotic, sitar-laced psychedelia. “Pond” is especially satisfying in its exploration, drones and melodies playing out over a consistent rhythmic bed, driving further and further out into ambient breaks and louder payoffs until dropping out to spacious waves of noise, but I won’t discount the appeal of realizing that Kikagaku Moyo are playing off The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in their own “Never Know” either, taking a recognizable sitar line and burying it deep within their own impulses, truly making an individualized work of it. Likewise, the closer “There is No Other Place” comes as a surprise, an effects-drenched psych rocker quick in its pulse and building to MammatusClouds‘ noisy conclusion. The sound here is richer than the average heavy jam, and the effectiveness of the ambience is not to be understated. I haven’t heard the vinyl or the tape, but I have a hard time imagining a format on which this music isn’t absolutely beautiful. Kikagaku Moyo on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz webstore, Sky Lantern Records on Bandcamp.
Witch Charmer, The Great Depression
Multi-vocalist UK bruiser doomers Witch Charmer debut on Argonauta Records with The Great Depression, the follow-up first full-length to their 2013 Euphoric CurseEP. Mixed and mastered as that release was by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, The Great Depressionworks well to establish a varied if not necessarily stylistically diverse sound, frontwoman Kate McKeown, guitarists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke and drummer Dave McQuillan all contributing vocals — the band is completed by bassist Richard Maher — over dense and accordingly depressive riffing. I’m not sure which of them does the Kirk Windstein-style growls, but they’re pretty dead on, as “A Watching of Wolves” will attest, and the tradeoffs both keep the record moving and keep a sense of spontaneity to coincide with the rolling riffs and longer arrangements, leading to the extended closer “Stare into the Sun,” which hides a sample-topped acoustic outro. Not sure why they’d feel the need to bury those impulses, but their first outing may be setting the stage for an unfolding creative progression, and cohesive as it is, I’m not going to knock it for solid riffs front to back and a doomed-out feel. Witch Charmer on Thee Facebooks, Argonauta Records.
Spindrift, Exotic Detonation EP
Underrated cowboy psych outfit Spindrift — now featuring guitarist Thomas Bellier of Blaak Heat Shujaa — apparently had some material leftover from last year’s Spindrift: Ghost of the West, and three new songs surface as the Exotic Detonation EP via Tee Pee Records, bringing The Twilight Zone to mind immediately on the opening title-track before launching into the snare-march Morricone-isms in which they so readily trade. That Spindrift would wind up doing soundtrack work — to their own movie, no less — isn’t surprising, since their style is so cinematic, but I guess “Exotic Detonation,” the desert-jammy “Ghosts Go West” and the minimalist finale “High Plains Spindrifter” didn’t fit on the initial release. Issuing them on a complementary EP makes sense, and from the standpoint of the radio stream, it’s three more Spindrift songs that weren’t there before, so fair enough. They continue to reside in a very particular niche that’s very much theirs, and for fans of those who might happen into them live, Exotic Detonationwill seem right at home among their other Western thrills. Spindrift on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
I could tell you how long this took me to put together, but frankly it’s embarrassing. Still, this is but a portion of the albums added to The Obelisk Radio this afternoon. To see the full list (it includes Pallbearer), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Houston trio Funeral Horse occupy some pretty nebulous sonic space. At root in their style is a classic punk sensibility — their riffs are for the most part simple and there’s little on their second outing, Sinister Rites of the Master(review here), that one would consider “frilled” — but to call them “punk” or even “stoner punk” conveys only a fraction of the influences through which their album establishes itself. They debuted last summer with the Savage Audio Demontape (review here), and that showed the potential for what the three-piece do on the follow-up, but in the layered solos of “Until the Last Nation Falls” and the harmonica-laden drawl and spaciousness of “I Hear the Devil Calling Me,” guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer, bassist Jason Argonaut and drummer Chris Larmour tell a tale of adventurous sonic diversity that serves them incredibly well throughout their sophomore effort’s course.
The album is out now on Artificial Head Records, and in no small way, I’m thrilled to be able to stream it because I feel like thus far, none of the descriptions I’ve yet given have really done justice to the kind of creativity Funeral Horse have at their core. I’m not saying they’re revolutionaries, just that for a band to work within a genre while also feeling so free to toy with various aspects in and out of it while also keeping their songs cohesive and fluid is rare, and Sinister Rites of the Master does stand up on a front to back listen. As you make your way through the seven tracks, keep in mind the side break after “Communist’s Blues,” since the two parts of the LP go far in defining its structure, but even taken in one sitting, the songs stand up all the way down to the loose-knit garage style of “Stoned and Furious” and the Rush cover “Working Man” that closes out.
However you choose to take it on — 333 copies of the vinyl are pressed, so if you want to go that route, time may be a factor – Sinister Rites of the Masteroffers a listen worthy of the effort, and like its predecessor, speaks volumes to the potential of the band. Since you can hear it for yourself and since I keep coming up short with it anyway, I’ll leave it there.
Hope you enjoy:
Funeral Horse‘s Sinister Rites of the Master was produced by Stephen Finley and Paul Bearer at Digital Warehaus Studio in Houston and is available now on Artificial Head in a pressing of 333 hand-numbered, multi-color vinyl copies. More info at the links:
Posted in audiObelisk on August 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Onward rolls Cardinals Folly‘s cult. The Finnish trad doom trio’s exclamatory sophomore full-length, Our Cult Continues!, is out Aug. 19 via Shadow Kingdom Records, and it’s a beast of morose theatrics and rolling riffage. Hailing from Helsinki and — just to get it out of the way — yes, owing a bit of a debt to Finland’s Sabbath-worship forebears in Reverend Bizarre, Cardinals Folly made their debut through the label in 2011 with Such Power is Dangerous!after kicking around since the mid-aughts under both their current moniker and the earlier The Coven. The metal of doom is the order of the day, and through fat bass tone, hard-hit drums and classic-minded guitar work, Cardinals Folly showcase a delight for reveling in the darker side of their genre.
Hard to blame them for that, since they’re so clearly enjoying themselves. The band is comprised of bassist/vocalist Mikko Kääriäinen, guitarist Juho Kilpelä and drummer Joni Takkunen, and from the opening invocations of “Eko Eko Azarak” in the intro “Chant of Shadows,” Cardinals Folly dive into a melancholy otherworldliness, not psychedelic or blissful, but full of bleak churning and smoke trails, Kääriäinen‘s voice cutting through songs like “Morbid Glory” and “Sighisoaran” to recount tales of who knows what swirling terrors. On the seven-minute “The Lover’s Crypt,” his bass and Takkunen‘s drums pave the way for an especially fuzzed-out, winding intro lead that unfolds to one of the record’s most memorable progressions, peppered by a build-up of despair that only becomes more prevalent as the song itself seems to disintegrate.
It is the penultimate of Our Cult Continues!‘s eight tracks, and with the 10-minute closer “Fallout Ritualist” backing it up, isn’t quite the apex of the album, but “The Lover’s Crypt” serves as a fitting summary of what Cardinals Folly have working for them on their second long-player, a prevalent attention to atmosphere taking hold not necessarily at the expense of the songwriting. I’m fortunate to be able to premiere the stream for “The Lover’s Crypt” ahead of the album release next week, and you’ll find it on the player below.
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It’s been about 3 years since Cardinals Folly put their debut album out through Shadow Kingdom Records. Their sophomore effort is a definite step up in the songwriting department and much more memorable than their debut. This one has the traditional Cardinals Folly sound, but we’re hearing the Warning – Watching from a Distance / 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room influence creep into their sound this time around. If you’re into collecting underground Doom Metal, check this band out. Fans of Cathedral, Reverend Bizarre, Witchfinder General will be interested to hear this album. This certainly gets my vote for best album artwork of 2014. If you’d like a t-shirt of this cover, we have those available at the Shadow Kingdom Records online heavy metal store.
1. Chant of Shadows 2. Morbid Glory 3. The Black Baroness 4. Our Cult Continues! 5. Sighisoaran 6. Walvater Unveiled 7. The Lover’s Crypt 8. Fallout Ritualist
Posted in Radio on August 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to check out the daily playlist feature that Slevin recently added to the Obelisk Radio updates page, but god damn, it’s frickin’ awesome. I get so stoked out on the stuff that’s played. Even when I don’t hear it — because I listen often but not 24 hours a day — it’s cool just to go through the day and see what’s played. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh yeah, I haven’t heard that in a long time!” and I’ll put a record on, and sometimes it’s a reminder of how badass a band was who aren’t doing much anymore. Earlier this afternoon I heard Swarm of the Lotus for the first time in a couple years and my head damn near exploded. Really wish that band had done a third album.
Anyhoo, if you get to check it out, I think it’s been a great addition to what The Obelisk Radio is, and of course huge thanks as always to Slevin for putting in the time and effort on this site’s behalf. It wouldn’t be here without him, so if you’re in North Jersey and you see him at the bar, please say thanks. A killer batch of stuff joined the playlist today, so let’s get to it.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 8, 2014:
Naam, Live in Berlin
As Brooklyn heavy psych forerunners Naam get ready to head out on another European tour in September (dates here), they present Live in Berlin, a free-download three-track EP recorded earlier this year (or late last year) at White Trash Fast Food. It’s a brief glimpse at what they can do on stage, but gorgeously assembled all the same, with the wash of fuzzy guitar and organ/synth crafting one the East Coast’s most potent space rock sounds on the near-11-minute “Starchild,” the semi-title-track from 2012′s The Ballad of the StarchildEP (track stream here) and the two cuts from 2013′s Vow(review here) that follow, “On the Hour” and “Beyond.” Their style refined with years of road work and their performances no less dynamic on stage than in the studio, Live in Berlinis a no-brainer to grab while the grabbing’s good, particularly at the asking price, and Naam continue to deliver quality, vital psychedelia the influence others are only beginning to feel. Even in the shorter “On the Hour,” with its quicker rush and catchy vocal interplay, there’s room enough to prove immersive, which only shows how on fire this band is at the moment. Vowwas their best work to date, Live in Berlin, if short,is a fair complement and a suitable holdover to whatever they might have coming next. Naam on Thee Facebooks, Live in Berlin on Bandcamp.
T.G. Olson, The Rough Embrace
Though the forms he’s working with for his solo material are familiar — Americana, folk and rambling acoustic country blues – Tanner Olson is so unrelentingly forward-moving as a songwriter that his output almost can’t help but be original. As the frontman for Across Tundras, he adds sonic weight to the equation, but performing under the moniker T.G. Olson, he captures a more intimate spirit. Nonetheless, The Rough Embrace, his latest outing, has plenty of lush moments, and even the wide open spaces of “Providence Gone Again” seem to be full of melody and subtly rich arrangements, a layer of slide guitar doing a lot of work in fleshing out the central guitar line. As Olson performed, recorded, mixed and released the album himself – Across Tundras bandmate Mikey Allred mastered; vinyl is reportedly forthcoming on their Electric Relics Records imprint — it’s fair to give him credit for these embellishments as well, and The Rough Embraceultimately lives up much more to the latter part of its title than the former. Like everything else he puts out on the Across Tundras Bandcamp, Olson has made The Rough Embraceavailable as a name-your-price download, making it that much easier to get lost in the album’s wistful jangle and melancholy croon. Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Unconscious Collective, Pleistocene Moon
Noise rock and jazz have made strange enough bedfellows over the years, usually resulting in spastic, somewhat indulgent progressive stew, rawly presented. On their sophomore outing, the Tofu Carnage Records 2LP PleistoceneMoon, Dallas trio Unconscious Collective don’t so much try to impress with how many time signatures they can work into any given three-minute stretch as they do stretch out over long-form works — turning on a dime and plenty jagged, to be sure — but that put as much focus on atmosphere as on their bursts and fits. Pleistocene Moonis a whopping 78 minutes long, and in it the oft-costumed three-piece cast a wide stylistic net, but there’s also a natural sensibility in the room that comes through via spacious-sounding drums, and a live feel that permeates pieces like “Tribe Apini,” which feels if not made up on the spot then certainly performed that way, and the later “Methane Rising,” which brings in horns for an avant freakout of grand proportion that transitions into minimal droning in a fluid roll that continues onto side D with “The Transformation of Matter,” whose propulsive grooving and overarching foreboding feel reminds of a sans-vocal Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, which, if you have any idea who that is, should be enough of an endorsement to pique your interest. Unconscious Collective on Thee Facebooks, Tofu Carnage Records.
The Glorious Rebellion, I 7″
Taking elements from ’90s noise rock — most particularly Helmet‘s dissonant riffing — and merging with the burl of modern American heavy rock, Orlando, Florida’s The Glorious Rebellion debut with a two-song single on Magnetic Eye Records featuring the tracks “My Resume is a Suicide Note” and “Thanks to AA, I’m the DD.” Both songs offer lumbering riffs of considerable weight, and the latter proves even more aggro than the former, starting off with a spitting recitation of a verse over the bassline while the guitar and drums wait to kick in with the initial chorus. Glorious though the rebellion may be, it’s even more pissed off. The band keep to straightforward structures, prove capable of writing solid hooks and have a professional production, though there seems to be some play at a commercial appeal on the single, and I’m not sure how well that will serve them in these radio-less days of genre specialization. Still, it’s a significant push they showcase in about seven minutes’ time, and they’ve obviously got a handle on what they want to do as a band. For their first outing, there’s a lot that can be read into just two cuts. The Glorious Rebellion on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Toke, High Friends in Low Places
Toke hail from Wilmington, North Carolina, and specialize in riffy bruiser sludge, heavy on swing and heavy on riffs, topped with vicious screams in the vein of Bongzilla or, more closely, earlier Sourvein. This is the kind of band that gets compared to Eyehategod all the time, though there’s actually not that much in common. Their two-track outing, High Friends in Low Places, is their second demo following another earlier this year, and both “Into the Light” and “Great Awakening” tap straightforward riff-led pummel and throat-searing, weedian aggression. It isn’t exactly unique, but sometimes nothing will do but a good kick in the ass, and Toke seem glad to provide. With clean but not polished production and enough nod for a release twice as long, High Friends in Low Placesmeets the standard it sets for itself, and if Toke grow into an outfit more individualized or keep their approach strict to the tenets of Southern sludge, they seem to have gotten that part of the equation down early. Toke on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
You know how this goes by now. Of course this isn’t everything that joined the playlist this week, and unlike last time, I even managed to update the list before I put the post together saying I had updated the list. Progress! To see all of today’s adds, check out the playlist and updates page.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The gnarly flows like wine all through Joy‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Under the Spell Of…, and the trio rip into an assortment of classic heavy rock jams comprised of tripped out explorations, psychedelic and organic in kind. A trio based out of San Diego, the bluesy circles they run offer a touch of earlier Radio Moscow, but with longer songs — all but two over six minutes and one of those is the album’s intro – Joy distinguish themselves with a raw sense of killing it for the sake of killing it, and the only real question is whether they named themselves after the joy they get in creating this sonic thrust or the joy they give crowds lucky enough to watch them do it. Maybe both.
Guest spots show up throughout Under the Spell Of…‘s eight tracks/46 minutes including Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, Parker Griggs of the aforementioned Radio Moscow and Astra‘s Brian Ellis, who also produced, and each of them mesh smoothly with the classic power trio dynamic of guitarist/vocalist Zach Oakley, bassist Justin Holson and drummer Paul Morrone, honed over the two years since they made their self-titled, self-released debut in shows alongside the likes of Earthless, Harsh Toke and Mystery Ship. To wit, an early groover like “Evil” subtly draws back the initial charge of “Miles Away” and “Confusion,” setting up the later boogie of “Driving Me Insane,” which smooths progressive shifts in tempo and rhythm with tossoff-style ease. Supreme shuffle ensues, and after the quieter, semi-acoustic sojourn “Death Hymn Blues,” closer “Back to the Sun” feels like a victory lap touting the parsecs traveled since the record’s psyched-out launch in the intro “Under the Spell” and “Miles Away.”
Under the Spell Of…doesn’t make a show of nuance, but it’s there for those who want to hear it, nestled into the airtight, live-sounding performances, particularly West Coast take on heavy psych and blown out echoes of “Miles Away,” which you can hear on the player below. Its seven minutes only comprise a small piece of what Joy have to offer, but I think you’ll find it’s almost impossible not to get lost in it once you start out, and in that, it definitely represents the spell that trio are looking to cast.
Good vibes and busted amps:
Joy will release Under the Spell Of… on Aug. 19 through Tee Pee Records. More info at the links.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It won’t be too long into opener “Night of the Blackwitch” from Portland gurgle-doomers Blackwitch Pudding‘s new EP, Covered in Pudding Vol. 1, before something starts to ring awfully familiar. The be-robbed trio present four tracks on their latest self-released outing, each derived from a classic rock staple. In the case of “Night of the Blackwitch,” it’s Roky Erickson‘s “Night of the Vampire,” and Blackwitch Pudding tear into it and make it dank nasty: a stoned-out, tonal-overload gruel, grandiose only in its burn and lurch. The method soon becomes a running theme.
Their 2013 full-length debut, Taste the Pudding(review here), proffered similar extremity and weedian charm, but Covered in Pudding Vol. 1wins out easily in terms of cleverness. To take Rush‘s “Working Man” and turn it into “Toke’n Man,” adjusting the lyrics accordingly, gleefully knuckledrags on sacred ground, and as KISS‘ “God of Thunder” becomes “Gods of Grungus,” I’m ready to declare the idiocy brilliant. Space Wizard (guitar), Lizard Wizard (bass) and Wizard Wizard (drums) channel a doomed-out, pot-addled Weird Al across these four tracks, and while each song obviously owes its debt to the original, there’s no question that the lunacy ensuing is their own.
When it comes to 10-minute closer “Bong Hits and Lust,” I’m almost hesitant to give away what classic song it uses for a foundation. If you can get it from the title, more power to you, but I had to hear it before recognizing, and I think that only made it more enjoyable, so I won’t spoil it. The band, speaking as a unified whole, were kind enough to take time away from their potions and spells and whatever it is a wizard does these days — hedge funds? — to give a track-by-track account that subtly hints at the origins of Covered in Pudding Vol. 1‘s four components, and if nothing else, it’s a great read.
The EP officially releases Aug. 12. I hope this isn’t the last time they do this, and that Vol. 2isn’t far off. Enjoy:
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Blackwitch Pudding, Covered in Pudding Vol. 1 track-by-track
“Night of the Blackwitch”
We wrote this song about our cosmic witch-mother, the Blackwitch. She has a wicked way with pudding. She birthed us from pudding, raised us in the pudding and taught us how to spread the pudding. We figured she could use a theme song for when she’s having a good old broom-grinding get down. With a, ahem, Roky set of vocals this song spreads itself over your audio palate with long, smooth strokes of heavy psychedelia.
This song is about your everyday, blue-collared herbalist. Just as every man must be the king of his own castle, he must also strive to be the man who tokes the most. We wizards live this to the core; there truly is a toke’n man in all of us. There is no need to rush into this one — it is slow, heavy and triumphant. This rocket ship of a stoner anthem will blast you into outer space.
“Gods of Grungus”
Back in ’63 — 1663, that is — we used to party pretty hard. The age of witchcraft was upon us and we had just been busted stealing weed from our pops (the devil). He’s a pretty cool guy so he let us keep it and told us to “thunder on like gods of the night.” This song is a documented recording of a real wizard party. When you listen to this song we command you to party along because you know somewhere we are partying with you.
“Bong Hits and Lust”
It must have been around 1581, and we were somewhere near Trier in West Germany, having a good time getting down with some frisky witches doing some excellent black sorcery. Sooner or later this douchebag Archbishop Johann von Schöneburg and his army of priests showed up and ordered all the witches dead. We were pretty hammered, and by the time we woke up a few years later, over 300 perfectly radical witch-babes had been slayed. Needless to say, we took it pretty hard, and over the course of the next couple hundred years created this epic tribute to the bongs and broads and Bob Dylan of the middle ages.
Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess this is the part where I complain about lack of time, blah blah blah. Last week was a mess, it’s true, as were the last couple days, but what it comes down to is I do what I can when I can. That’s been my policy all along. A couple of these discs – Cruthu, Deamon’s Child — are my own rips as well from discs that were sent in, and as ever, there’s more that went up than just what is listed here. So one way or another, activity abounds. I need to find out how close I am to filling the three terabytes of the hard drive used for the server, but until then, the additions will continue unabated. It’s good to keep busy.
The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2014:
Sleep, “The Clarity”
To call the first new Sleep track since Dopesmokeran “event” would be underselling it. “The Clarity” arrives via the Adult Swim Singles Series not only as the Iommian legends’ first outing since that landmark release, but also their debut recording with drummer Jason Roeder and their first studio work since guitarist Matt Pike and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros went on to destroy/expand minds in High on Fire and Om, respectively, for the last decade-plus. A near-10-minute stonerly sprawl finds Sleep‘s central methodology intact. Grown up some from what it was 20 years ago, expectedly, but loyal to what they were without trying to recapture a magic that’s gone with that time. Cisneros has taken some flack for not roughing up his vocals à la Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but from where I sit, his cadence and cleaner style only makes “The Clarity” more honest, and if lyrics like “Iommic life complete” and “The dealer is my refuge” are easier to understand, you won’t find me complaining. They jam out most of the song’s second half, and ultimately “The Clarity” collapses in a sudden cut, leaving you to wonder if it ever happened at all — until of course you go back to the start for another glorious hit. If this portends more to come, I’m even more excited about the prospect of new Sleep than I was before the single arrived. Sleep on Thee Facebooks, Adult Swim Singles.
Deamon’s Child, Deamon’s Child
Even before you get to the dolphin sample in “Delfine,” and the garage thrashiness of the subsequent “Alles Bio, Immer Bio,” German trio Deamon’s Child give some hints that there’s more to what they do than the standard heavy noise rock. Comprised of guitarist Sven “Missu” Missulis (aka John Reebo of Reebosound, also ex-Psychedelic Avengers), bassist/vocalist Ana Maija Muhi (who also contributed to Reebosound‘s 2010 outing, This is Reebosound) and drummer Tim Mohr (also WhiteBuzz), Deamon’s Child debuted last year with an engaging demo and follow it with a self-titled debut of increased complexity and a sound that’s varied without the pretense, culling together punk, grunge, heavy rock and noise to create songs that feel like they could turn in any direction at once. The production plays up the frayed edges, and Muhi‘s layered vocals on a chugger like “Lutscher!” sound all the more Melvins-esque. Deamon’s Childis loaded with surprises, but doesn’t feel any more haphazard than it’s meant to, and while it may take a couple listens to catch up to it, the songs are consistent in their invitation for repeat visits. Deamon’s Child on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Red Fang, TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang
A free Red Fang acoustic EP — who’s going to argue with that? Not me, though the cumbersome and corporate-style title leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, once you get through all the namebrandery, what you come out with are acoustic renditions from Red Fang of “Failure” from late 2013′s Whales and Leechesand “Malverde” and “Human Herd” from the preceding 2011 outing, Murder the Mountains(review here). Hearing guitarist Bryan Giles soften up his usually-rough vocal approach on “Malverde” is interesting, given how much of the album version of that track is about the impact of the thing, but “Failure” becomes a brooding plea rather than the threat it is at full thrust, and “Human Herd” a kind of meditation that makes for the highlight of the whole release. One tries not to read too much into what was clearly a one-off thing, but it would be cool to hear what an acoustic album track from Red Fang might sound like. Their songwriting clearly translates, and between Giles and bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam – let’s not forget guitarist David Sullivan or drummer John Sherman – they prove here they can pull it off sounding confident and comfortable. Kind of an unexpected turn from the chicanery-fueled rock we’re used to from Red Fang, but they’re as easy to dig as ever on (deep breath) TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang. Red Fang on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
The Jackpine Snag, The Fire Tower EP
Tonally, Michigan’s The Jackpine Snag seem rooted in punk, but a strong undercurrent of the weirdo runs throughout the songs on their new EP, The Fire Tower, and whether it’s the shouting on “With Wings” or “The Missaukee Strut” or the motoring noise of closer “Gonna Wreck My Life,” the trio present an individualized approach to bruiser expression. The Fire Toweris their longest outing yet at seven songs following a four-track 2013 debut 7″, but they have no trouble changing up their take enough to hold interest, while also keeping the tracks themselves relatively lean and concise. Maybe what the EP does best is balance that efficiency with a loose, tossoff-punker vibe, but The Jackpine Snag – guitarist/vocalist Joe Hart, bassist Jason Roedel and drummer Todd Karinen – show a keen awareness of how far out they want to go and how oddball they want to get in their ragged, grungy craftsmanship. No doubt that will serve them well should they decide next to tackle a debut full-length. The Jackpine Snag on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Cruthu, Creation Demo
The debut release from Lansing, Michigan’s Cruthu, the Creation Democulls together an initial three tracks that sound somewhat raw but hold significant stylistic promise, blending a heavy ’70s psych-blues mentality with drearier rock tendencies and analog worship. Frontwoman Teri Brown provides a soulful lift to “S.O.S.,” as guitarist Dan McCormick leads bassist Scott Lehman and drummer Matt Fry through a subtly doomed murk, but pushes into rawer, strained-throat vocalizing on “Walk with Me” that immediately stands the Creation Demoapart from much of what claims to have been recorded live in terms of sheer honesty. And to Cruthu‘s further credit, I don’t think the tracks were recorded live. Particularly in “Separated from the Herd” and “Walk with Me,” which closes, Cruthu find some room for instrumental exploration along with Brown‘s vocals, and the path they’re on suits them well as the demo plays out. I’d be interested to hear them branch out further instrumentally, get weird with some percussion or strings or psychedelics, but there’s time for such things, and they’re off to an evocative start. Cruthu on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
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As I’ve tried not to do since I started making podcasts again, I kept away from a consistent theme this time around, but I wanted to at least get a blend of bands you’ve probably heard and bands maybe you haven’t. Of course the new Sleep was a given, and new cuts from Electric Wizard and Karma to Burn felt like they needed to be there as well, so they are. But there are a few corresponding inclusions of stuff I’ve been digging that I haven’t had the chance to write about yet — looking at you, USA out of Vietnam, Lewis and the Strange Magics and Deamon’s Child — and while I’ve no doubt you’re already down with those and the rest of what’s included here because you’re on it like that, putting them in here seemed a good way to feature them for anyone not yet exposed who might be interested in checking them out.
If that’s you, please enjoy. The second hour, as usual, is consumed by longer songs, but there are a few in the first hour as well (that Electric Wizard track is over 10 minutes, and the Sleep is close to it), but of the podcasts I’ve put together in the last few months, this one easily flows the best. It was pretty late as I was putting it together last night, so I had the headphones on and was working totally without distraction. I know it’s an unrealistic expectation to think anyone will be able to listen in that manner, but if you get the chance or if you don’t, I hope you have a good time.
Sleep, “The Clarity” from Adult Swim Singles Series (2014)
Electric Wizard, “I am Nothing” from Time to Die (2014)
Lewis and the Strange Magics, “Cloudy Grey Cube” from Demo (2014)
USA Out of Vietnam, “You are a Comet, You are on Fire” from Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes (2014)
Serpent Venom, “Lord of Life” from Of Things Seen and Unseen (2014)
Deamon’s Child, “Lutscher!” from Deamon’s Child (2014)
Rabbits, “Reek and Ye Shall Find” from Untoward (2014)
Karma to Burn, “Fifty Seven” from Arch Stanton (2014)
The Heavy Co., “One Big Drag” from Uno Dose (2014)
Wolf Blood, “Dancing on Your Grave” from Wolf Blood (2014)
Frown, “Harpocrates Unborn” from The Greatest Gift to Give (2014)
Merlin, “Lucifer’s Revenge” from Christ Killer (2014)
Causa Sui, “Incipiency Suite” from Pewt’r Sessions 3 (2014)