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.

wpid-img_20150508_163220.jpg

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.

the body vignette

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.

FoH sepia

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!

dylan close

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.)  

wpid-img_20150508_163409.jpg

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…

wpid-img_20150508_163258.jpg

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.

streets grey

Advertisements

The Courage of Hermits and Eagles

“Do you have courage, O my brothers? Are you brave? Not courage before witnesses but the courage of hermits and eagles, which is no longer watched even by a god.

Cold souls, mules, the blind, and the drunken I do not call brave. Brave is he who knows fear but conquers fear, who sees the abyss, but with pride.

Who sees the abyss but with the eyes of an eagle; who grasps the abyss with the talons of an eagle — that man has courage.”

Friedrich Nietzsche,

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Disquiet, In Scorn and Solipsism

image

Image by Jelena Mrkich

Jelena Mrkich, Art Therapist

“…and a deep and weary disdain for all those who work for mankind, for all those who fight for their realm and give their lives so that civilization may continue…

…a disdain full of disgust for those who don’t realize that the only reality is each man’s soul, and that everything else – the exterior world and other people – is but an unaesthetic nightmare, like the result, in dreams, of a mental indigestion.

My aversion to effort becomes an almost writhing horror before all forms of violent effort.  War, energetic and productive labour, helping others – all this strikes me as the product of an impertinence…..

Everything useful and external tastes frivolous and trivial in the light of my soul’s supreme reality and next to the pure sovereign splendour of my more original and frequent dreams.  These, for me, are more real.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

image

Image by Gonzalo Bénard

The Awakening of the Self

farewell to self

Image ripped from poojycat at WordPress

Image ripped from poojycat at WordPress


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  This poor excuse for poetry was written circa 2002 while I was living in Albuquerque, eating all the hallucinogens I could find while obsessively listening to TOOL and reading way too much existential philosophy.


fevered eye inside
the storm, and slowly i
turn away, shoulders
quaking at losses incurred,
missed opportunities passed
in a series of moments,
forever within the blink
of an eye, a point, a
meeting of eternal pathways
in this dream called life.
i turned my back on you,
the only way known to me,
to let go, to step off,
to reach our peak and
continue to climb, to
ascend, to reach for
the evermore, grasp
this abyss with eagle’s
talons and soar over
these path’s contradictions,
molting to shed my
pity for you,
the deepest of suffering.
at one time the same
— if only for a wink —
no more past this moment
will we meet again,
for already you fade into
nonbeing, soon a
distant memory,
a bittersweet reminder of
the sun that has set for me.
no more will i be
downed by the spirit
of gravity, for your
sacrifice has allowed me
to break free
from the being that
can no longer contain
me.  i have learned to
look away,
to look past myself,
to see much beyond our
subjectivity of experience,
to feel the rains of all
things fall down over me,
washing blood and tears of
our innocent battle away and
in this churning whirlwind
of storm can i now let go,
free now to spiral out.

Sacred Spiral by Helen R. Klebesadel

Sacred Spiral by Helen R. Klebesadel


© 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.

A musing on disquiet and simple acts of psychic upheaval

image

It occurs to me — over and over again, because I never learn, and usually at the least opportune moments, but I digress — that the primary reason I procrastinate and stall and make excuses and put off trying or fucking doing anything (besides being rooted, as all things are, in Fear) is that I get caught up in the percieved or apparent enormity/entirety of a thing, I overwhelm myself with obsessive monolithic dissection, I let loose the mental patients in my head, and we fucking bathe in the feces encrusted misery of our own paranoid compulsive immersion. The thing becomes an uncontrollable beast in the china shop of my perception before I even have a chance to move.

image

Take the act of meditation, for example. On a logical level, I understand and have even experientially witnessed the spiritually, emotionally, and physically healing properties of meditation. I know that practicing zazen would be the first best thing for me to be doing in this time of psychological disquiet and uncertainty. But, I am automatically consumed by the entire Universal scope of the idea of Enlightenment and peace and unity and understanding and nirvana and sublimely perfect cosmic alignment. And so I can’t see the forest for the trees. I am too caught up in obsessiving anxiously over the details of neurotic insignificance and distractifying minutia, and I am blinded to the simple, obvious beauty and wonderfully flawed delicate perfection of each magical moment.

image

So, today, an experiment. An exercise in detached observational experience and willful, conscious presence. I read something that, as with all of the most profound truths, seems so obvious now. Meditation doesn’t have to be the ritualistic, solemn, esoteric act of spiritual perfection that I sometimes picture it to be in my muddled mind. The simple act of observing and experiencing one’s thoughts without reaction to them is an act of meditative contemplation. My intention for today is to attempt to allow my thoughts and emotions to flow freely through me, but rather than react to them and allow them to direct my behavior and feelings, I will practice at simply observing these thoughts and emotions, analyzing and attempting to understand them, and in this way perhaps I can arrive at a deeper understanding of myself and my place in these moments.

image

And when I inevitably step off and engage and allow myself to become consumed with some neurotically poisonous snowballing wreckage, I must simply acknowledge, reset, and try again! This all seems so simple on paper…or LCD screen, as the case may be.

image

© 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.

Manic Conversations By The Ryan, With The Ryan

image

– 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…

image

© 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.

Silent Struggles, Individually Universal

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I can easily get too caught up in the poorly written melodrama inside my own mind and forget that everyone has an oftentimes silent struggle with which they are dealing. Here’s a rare moment of mostly selfless empathy and encouragement to all of you who feel overwhelmed by or consumed with something vexing. You are a fucking rock star, and you’ve got this bitch! 😀

stuck

stuck
inside
my head
with
All
of This
consummately
continually
eternally
with just
All
of This
to
keep
for me
toiling.

© 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.

yet, hope abides

image

sandstorm
behind my eyes
turbulent churning
brain cloud
terrific winds of
unnamed forboding
an open air prison
i can find no manner
of escaping

yet, hope abides.

image

© 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.

An introspective musing on cycles and change

Throughout his story, when faced with something perceived as insurmountable, the Ryan’s defense mechanism has been to shut down, to push all others away, to isolate and to marinade in comfortable misanthropic loathing. Eventually this acidic process breaks down all the rotting weight and we are able to flush it away, leaving behind a sort of stripped, blank form. A sort of peacefulness from which we can rebuild.

But it never really addresses the disease at the core. And what we regenerate around and upon the core ends up inevitably infected and rotten.

I can’t afford to continue that cycle again.

#TimeToChange