Alan Moore, Rorschach, and the body

the body

the body


“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.

From Wallpaperup.com

From Wallpaperup.com

Does that answer your Questions, Doctor?”

— Alan MooreWatchmen

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Released from Hell in Ecstatic Frenetic Suffering: An Evening with the body and Full of Hell

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


The dreary, morose mood hanging in dense, foreboding clouds over Cheyenne yesterday was ideal to set the day’s tone and prepare this sleepy town for the deceptively inconspicuous arrival of two of heavy music’s most devastating forces.  For a few frenetic hours, downtown Cheyenne’s Ernie November store was home to the cataclysmic DOOM of Portland’s the body and the schizophrenic grind of Maryland’s Full of Hell, a rare and intimate record store appearance on the two bands’ current swath of decimation across the States.  While the style and tempo of extremity offered by the two groups paints a jagged brush stroke across several of heavy music’s varying subgenres, both groups are equally mired in themes of misery, rage, internal conflict, cathartic suffering, and exploration of the darkest recesses of human consciousness.  As such, their disparate sets provide a glimpse of both sides of the same desolate, leaden coin, and hint at what we might expect from their planned upcoming split album, anticipated for release later this year.

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Watching the body set up their deceptively simple-looking gear, those not prerequisitely attuned to the sonic terror and devastation offered by the duo of Chip King and Lee Buford might be tempted to underestimate the suffocating aural intensity that is about to be unleashed.  All assumptions are quickly compressed and obliterated by the first impossibly heavy notes to fill Ernie November’s space, as King’s thundering guitar rig and Buford’s gargantuan drum kit unleash psychosis-inflected hell upon the unsuspecting hordes.  King and Buford are merely tuning in their instruments, tweaking sound levels, but this is enough to draw the loitering masses in from the street.  As corpses begin to crowd into the record store’s tight back room, there remains a conspicuous barrier of space between the masses and the body, as though some shared unspoken dread is coursing through the crowd, urging us to keep a safe distance from this feral beast.  By the time the duo have waded midway through the sludgy, panicked insanity of their first song, however — with King’s trademark shrill wail cutting through the murky depths of sonic hell like obsidian — the sheer weight emanating from their very cores has consumed us and drawn us all close, mutually aggrieved lost souls marinating wearily in the aural intensity of our suffering made corporeal.

the body

Throughout their roughly half hour set, the pained severity and combative, introspective vehemence of the body never lets up.  Individual songs bleed into one another in walls of chaos and noise.  Split seconds of apparent reprieve are quickly subversed and subjugated, the air at once purged from the room just as one gasps for a desperate breath.  While the brand of extremity offered by the body is not designed nor intended to get the psychopaths in the pit churning, the sheer gargantuan and suppressive ambiance and tone of internalized fury created is enough to leave the languidly headbanging crowd prostrate once that last piercing bit of feedback and grinding distortion fades out.

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In ironic comparison to the initially timid gathering before the body’s set, the throng congregates dangerously close as Full of Hell complete the set-up on their equipment of destruction — ironic because the experience offered by Full of Hell is the one more likely to result in potentially inimical confrontation.  Indeed, the entire place erupts into a teeming mass of flailing limbs and furious headbanging at the first lunatic sound emitted from the instruments of this demonic four-piece.

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Full of Hell ringleader Dylan Walker meticulously builds a monolithic wall of chaos and noise before his cohorts rip brazenly into their opening track, a method he will repeat at points throughout the set, providing the band and the crowd both with fleeting moments of schizoid sublimity in which to catch their breath before charging headlong into the next phase of exorcistic fury.  Walker flings himself around the room in erratic frenetic purgation, blurring the line between performer and participant as his feral shrieks and grating, raspy explications blend with the manic insanity of sound created by his bandmates.  Dragging around a broken leg in a cast, bassist and co-vocalist Brandon Brown weaves the low end of his instrument through the jagged, chugging riffage and feedback-laden madness emanating from guitarist Spencer Hazard’s wall of Orange, alternately bent over in rhythmic deliberation between bouts of guttural vocal scorn.

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


The true psychopath of the bunch, however, proves to be drummer Dave Bland, whose enraged, loathsome punishment of his kit leaves one keen to avoid becoming the object of his wrath.  I’m not sure how much money that drum kit owes him, but Bland is intent on collecting the balance in blood and suffering — whether plodding headlong in thunderous, leaden exultation, or charging furiously with frenetic, manic rapidity, there is no question of where the tortured, pulsating heartbeat of this group lives.  Dude is a goddamn madman, and yet by the time the final caustic note fades on Full of Hell’s set, he is likely the least exhausted carcass in the room.

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


Having moved to Cheyenne only a month ago, this show served as my personal welcoming party to the great Wyoming outback, and I couldn’t ask for a more potent, affecting, or purgative greeting.  Perhaps single-handedly injecting life into what might otherwise be a non-existent live music scene in this area is local Ernie November proprietor and savage beard tamer extraordinaire — not to mention recently annointed “Janky Promoter” — Keith Coombes.  As is the case with most other acts hosted at Cheyenne’s musical mecca, the show tonight was funded through donations from those in attendance, a refreshingly DIY approach in today’s live music world, where music fans are more accustomed to dealing with price-gouging promoters and ticketing agencies.  It seemed everyone was only too happy to kick in whatever they could, be it a few loose bills or the product of several hours skilled labor.  After all, touring ain’t free, yeh fuckers!

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To further fund their trek across the Mother Land, the body and Full of Hell brought plenty of choice merch to the party, as well.  Particularly impressive was the vinyl selection offered by the body, which nearly covered their entire prodigious discography (saved for a wealth of rare 7″ and EPs that one must in turn scour the earth for).  Full of Hell also had their studio discography on display for purchase in vinyl or compact disc format, along with a band logo patch, ball cap, and several fashionably filthy t-shirts.  Before the show, I was able to snag a copy of Full of Hell’s recent collaborative LP with Japanese noise god Merzbow (aka Masami Akita) from Dylan himself, along with a much coveted copy of the body’s 2014 collaborative EP with Louisiana’s Thou, entitled Released from Love.  (Read my review of their 2015 collaborative full length, You, Whom I Have Always Hated, by clicking here.)  

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I nearly nut in my pants upon seeing that this album was available for purchase, as I had thought the initial limited pressing was out of print and now unavailable for purchase outside of collector trade circles — needless to say, I snatched that burdensome bitch up quick!  Not content with my haul, however, that good post-show glow found me sacrificing the rest of this week’s sustenance fund to also snag a pressing of the body’s Master, We Perish, one of the remaining few outliers to their discography I lacked in possession, along with a patch from each group.  My only regret is that I didn’t try to trade a kidney, or bring more money, though a parting fist-bump and bit of fan-boy adulation with Chip King helped dull my suffering.

However, seeing as how Keith is still holding the latest release from psychedelic voyagers White Hills for me, which he was kind enough to special order, perhaps this extra kidney will still come in handy…

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The best experiences in life are often those which find one left wanting, and such was certainly the case by the end of this night’s celebratory rage party.  For the ride home, always a somber affair post-concert, I plugged in the body’s recent self-released CD-R rarity, an EP entitled The Tears of Job, which was issued to backers of the group’s recent “Help the body get a van” Indiegogo campaign.  A striking shift in style from their customarily overpowering compositions, the tracks that make up this EP are much more sparse and spacious, a fitting denouement to the evening as I drove through the ethereal fog and gloomy, rain-drenched streets of languid Cheyenne, a lonesome drifter reluctantly returning to the “real world.”

streets blue

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Ideation on Oblivion

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Image by Kurore García

This could be the brain cloud talking, but oblivion sounds so goddamn appealing in this moment…

Suicidal ideation is often a symptom of mental illness. In a small portion of the population, suicidal ideation is a side-effect of psychiatric medications used to treat mental illness. When stopping the use of psychiatric medications, often drastically increased suicidal ideation is a symptom of medication withdrawal, even when quitting medication under physician supervision.

Makes a whole lot of fucking sense, doesn’t it?

“Oblivion” by Mastodon

“I flew beyond the sun before it was time
Burning all the gold that held me inside my shell
Waiting for you to pull me back in
I almost had the world in my sight

Lost love
Bright eyes fading
Faster than stars falling
How can I tell you that I’ve failed?
Tell you I failed…

Falling from grace cause I’ve been away too long
Leaving you behind with me lonesome song
Now I’m lost in oblivion

I tried to burrow a hole into the ground
Breaking all the fingers and the nails from my hands
The eyes of a child see no wrong
Ignorant bliss, impending doom

Lost love
Bright eyes fading
Faster than stars falling
How can I tell you that I’ve failed?
Tell you I failed…

Falling from grace cause I’ve been away too long
Leaving you behind with me lonesome song
Now I’m lost in oblivion

Falling from grace cause I’ve been away too long
Leaving you behind with me lonesome song
Now I’m lost in oblivion

Falling from grace cause I’ve been away too long
Leaving you behind with me lonesome song
Now I’m lost in oblivion

Falling from grace cause I’ve been away too long
Leaving you behind with me lonesome song
Now I’m lost in oblivion, in oblivion, in oblivion……”

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Image by mumudeckerr

Channeling Pessoa’s Detest In This, A Life Once Lost

This blistering track from deceased metalcore savages A Life Once Lost is, quite literally, what Fernando Pessoa‘s solipsistic musings would sound like if all of his heteronyms grew up listening to Slayer and started a band together. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s how ALOL formed in the first place…

Indeed, much of the band’s lyrical and thematic content, most strikingly on the album Iron Gag, is influenced and informed by Pessoa’s writings.

I have to choose what I detest
Either dreaming, which my mind hates
Or action, which my awareness loathes
I am confused
I sit alone in silence
To focus more on the way that I am living

I am losing you
And this place isn’t comfortable
I retaliate by not speaking
So I guess I will lose

Detesting both, I choose neither
But since I must on occasion
Either dream or act
I mix the two things together

Detest

Manic Conversations By The Ryan, With The Ryan

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– I have that Thou song stuck in my head again.
– It’s a Nirvana song.
– Sure, but it’s the version Thou recorded that’s stuck in my head.
– Our head.
– Right. OUR head.
– Always is. Nirvana is catchy shit, even when DOOMED the fuck out.
– Hell, especially when DOOMED the fuck out!

– Blackened DOOM, they call it. DOOM sludge. Muck metal. Motherfucking swamp grind!
– Yeah…you ever wonder what would have happened had we gone to Tulane?
– We’d be dead. Just like every other scenario that isn’t this one. You always think this is the darkest timeline, but really it’s the best one.
– What if we’re dead now? Maybe we didn’t beat the train.
– Now don’t start that again!
– Hahahaha! Jungle Book is awesome…

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Schizophrenic Listening Habits

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I’ve just gone from spinning an album called Rudiments of Mutilation by underground power violence psychonaughts Full of Hell to listening to Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. with absolutely no segue or transition of any kind. That’s weird, right?

But, actually, having experienced this dichotomy of aural tone and theme first — before recognizing and then analyzing the apparent strangeness of the situation — I have to say, the two albums compliment and play off of one another more than you might think. Give it a try!

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tripping With Dubya and Mother, Broken Bones and Metal Tones

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We once met the frontman from Bad Acid Trip, hanging out on the lawn at Ozzfest the year System of a Down headlined for their “hiatus” tour. This was not long after we had road-tripped to Dallas to see both of those bands perform along with The Mars Volta. On the way back, I was too focused on my sweet, sexy cajun chicken from Popeye’s while trying to drive, and damn near sped us into the ass-end of a stand-still line of traffic on the freeway, itself gridlocked due to an accident involving a tractor. This is one of those “near-miss” moments I’ve talked about that I sometimes think actually killed me (us), making everything that has happened since a product of run-out electrical activity in a dying central nervous system. But that is another story…

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The BAT vocalist was wearing a shirt depicting George Dubya Bush in an Islamic shemagh. Pumpkin, clearly overcome with veneration, complimented the guy on wearing a Mother Theresa shirt at a metal gig. Because, hey, they are basically the same person, right?! ;D

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Later in the day, we also met the vocalist from Dragonforce and his magnificently curly locks of mighty gloriousness. I think that may have been the last year that Ozzfest was any good, right? A few years later, after the demise of the Ozz-Man’s tour and once Mayhem had moved in to claim the throne of Shitty Mainstream American Metal Festival, I would break my ankle in the moshpit during a fucking brutal set from Slayer. Yeah, I kept moshing…like you had to ask!

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Why am I thinking about all this now, at 8:00 a.m. on a random Friday, and sharing the memory with all of you? Who the fuck knows. Have a nice day, yeh bastards! 😀

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

LOATHE

Yes…YESSS… Let the seething, broiling hatred wash over and consume you…consume you like maggots on bath salts eating the face of all existence. #BrutalPoetry

PRIMITIVE MAN are about to embark on an epic tour of the United Kingdom and Europe with Sea Bastard and Fister that will no doubt leave the whole of the continent in crumbling, desecrated shambles. I feel like I should have hitched a ride over as some kind of doomy fanboy stowaway, all part of my clever plan to become a bitter American expatriot gypsy madman, touring the European underground in my wanderlust caravan and spreading the word that not quite all Americans are inbred narcissistic fucktard right-wing religious extremist women-haters. Just the best of us. #Sarcasm

The Lash of Gloom

I got a lash stuck in my eye today. It wedged impossibly between the lowest part of my eyeball, just where it meets the lid. To reach was insurmountable. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

New Wax and Hipster Plastics

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Through the glorious, magical power of gift-carding and the love of a great woman, I was able to pick up the newest offering of leaden sludgery and pop-DOOM from Miami’s own Torche, a riff-laden epic of weighty melody and grind entitled Restarter.

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I’ve mentioned before that my loving bundle of sarcastic joy, Lady Jenn, likes to give me a hard time over my, ehrm, “hipster proclivities.” She is certainly going to shake her head in abominable shame once she realizes what accompanied this most glorious of LPs…these fuckin’ bitchin’ hipster shades! Let’s get weird together, bros! ;D

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Post-Script: This continues to beg the following unanswered query, though; if I fail to post my vinyl on social media, does it then cease to exist??

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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