Sanction is a band that you really need to be aware of in 2018.
When it comes to the American underground heavy music scene, groups like Code Orange, Kublai Khan and Knocked Loose are slowly moving onto much bigger and better things. Whereas other smaller but no less awesome rising heavy acts such as Jesus Piece and Vein will hopefully become future mainstays of international hardcore as both bands prepare to drop new records in 2018 (releases that I here cannot wait to hear). Similar to these two latter examples, New York hardcore/metal wrecking-crew Sanction are also ones to really watch out for.
Along with their signing to Pure Noise Records back in March and most recent EP, the scorned 17-minute brutality of ‘The Infringement of God’s Plan‘ continually turning new heads their way, Sanction is gaining plenty of traction lately. While that aforementioned evil-sounding and solid seven-track release originally came crawling out from the depths of hell back in August 2017, it was a fresh and modern snapshot of a time that’s been left behind by many. Now as we barrel towards the midway point of 2018, ‘The Infringement of God’s Plan‘ has seen Sanction up to that next step; securing them larger tour support slots overseas and seeing new listeners take stronger notice as time rolls by.
One big part of why Sanction has sparked interest lately is, by their own admission, their no-bullshit approach to writing really effective and solid mosh parts; something that’s slowly coming back around to being in-vogue with music of this ilk. (Suss that smashin’ final breakdown from the EP’s title track as one prime example). But I think that another major aspect of their growing success comes down to this band’s throwback metal/hardcore sound that pulls from the early 2000’s; the real core and beauty of ‘The Infringement of God’s Plan‘.
From the intentionally raw production, those classic dissonant metalcore riffs (‘Sixhundredthirtyone‘), those seething, ravenous screams, a strong romanticism for breakdowns, and that time-stamped pingy snare drum tone; their sound screams “2003 metalcore” or “2005 Solid State Records”. Their sound is as if those early Norma Jean and Chariot records never went away and were properly mastered; it’s Zao during that band’s ‘The Funeral Of God‘ era, an influence that comes through aplenty; and it’s basically It Dies Today if they ditched the clean vocals, cut off those side-fringes and really honed in their heavier elements. Most importantly, it’s all done well and is just a load of fun to engage with too.
In the current heavy music climate, these guys are more the exception to the rule than anything else. What with there being so few bands opting for this older sound, there’s now a real place for this kind of hardcore/metalcore to make waves then there would’ve been the potential for, say, five or so years ago. Meaning the floor is now completely wide open for Sanction to take over and dominate.
Beyond their nostalgic sound and sonic familiarity from a bygone time, Sanction does have their own thing going on for them in some respects. This differentiation manifests in Sanction’s use of eerie samples taken from old VHS tapes and internet archives, and this approach gives the Long Island band’s sound a great little bonus; an edge than many of their peers don’t have.
For instance, the unnerving down-pitched vocals and stretched out VHS-like samples that are used at various points on the EP – namely during opener ‘Enter (In Five Fractions)‘, which sets up the following five songs, and the closer ‘Exit (Chord Radius)‘ – are all super creepy. These moments really do draw you into the sound and the flow the EP, so much more than if they were absent from the release. Some sections here almost sound like they’re fucked-up audio borrowed straight from one of the Sinister films. Even the grainy visuals from the above ‘Fixated On A Figure‘ music video looks like some psycho’s homemade killing tapes from such films.
More than that, these samples and this kind of songwriting provides an added layer and dynamic to Sanction’s music; a violent and frantic mosh-heavy sound that’s tinged with hardcore, metalcore, and even a few hints of deathcore too. It’s sound that’s going to do them very well moving forward. So, for one to not expect more from Sanction in 2018 would be foolish.
Start paying close attention now.