Review: “Broken In Refraction” by Sanction

Not counting 2017’s “Collection” of tracks, “Broken In Refraction” marks the sophomore album and the second released in as many years from Long Island New York quartet Sanction. Their reputation for a savage high energy live show with cuts infusing Metal and Hardcore was something we witnessed at last year first incarnation of Upsurge Festival at the London’s New Cross Inn so it’s ironic that their second album proper  should appear with the second coming of the festival just a couple of weeks away!

Let’s make no bones about it, while the album lists 12 tracks in 23 minutes, the first and last are both less than 60 seconds and just two (count them!) that eclipse the 3 minute mark. “…And Empty Thought” opens the albums with an eerie horror film vibe as some barely audible speech echos out over some programmed instrumentation before a short breakdown of Metallic Hardcore riffage and clean crisp drums. This must be what it’s like to be smashed off your head in a chemical nightmare. First tune proper “The Final Fraction” is a short sharp shock of Metallic Hardcore with some fine throat shredding vocals and something of the Vein sound in the guitar tone. The closing breakdown is a thing of headbangable bliss, as each turn around of the riff ends with a sweet squeal or pull. The thunderous grooves of “Paralysis” opening is broken by a click track moment before the first verse kicks in. The track got a music video depicting sleep paralysis again nuanced with squeals, pulls and bends in the guitar work it also features an interesting melodic break in which while remaining heavy, the tempo and atmosphere shifts like the sands of the Gobi desert and there is an almost sung quality to the unclean vocal. Bridging to “Answers from a Syringe” with a short snippet of the sounds that made up the introduction tune gives a momentary breather of sorts from the bludgeoning guitar sound. The fourth cut on the album has an obvious subject matter with the screaming vocals “the cure is within the syringe” coming with a deep sense of irony as the hell that is being escaped is taking them to another kind. Mixing up the bark and the bite with a deeper vocal growl in places gives more emphasis on the message while the riffs are chopped up by some interesting drum patterns. Not being afraid to take on some of the more challenging subject matters and having a socially aware aspect is key to the bands sound.

One of the stand outs on the album is “Radial Lacerations” which got the music video and playthrough video from sticksman Dillon Perino. It’s the second longest (pardon the pun) cut on the album at 3 minutes 11 seconds and a battering ram of a tune. Breaking up the Metallic Hardcore riff fest with what sounds like an inaudible 911 call before the final bone crushing breakdown at that comes to an end after 2 minutes 32 seconds, we then get a Slipknot esq dark horror audio loop before it bursts into “Mirror Syndrome”. A high energy lift off with a higher pitched guitar tone, it opened up with a scream before the vocals kick in. The kit work is the star of this one with the patterns giving an adrenalized injection of more energy and the guitars reflecting that… Like a mirror. Returning to the guitar sound of the earlier tracks, “Conscious in a Coma” works the chord progressions hard with some elongated sections given momentary breaks before kicking back in. The timings on some of the turn around give an off kilter sea sick vibe while the vocals enter your skull like a drill. There is a melodic break of sorts after around 80 seconds with a chilling tone broken by a pick slide into a crushing closing breakdown. “Infants In Plastic” takes the Metallic Hardcore riffs of the bands sound and turns them into a compound fracture creating bulldozer with a downtempo groove second that that bridges into what sounds like you’re inside the mind of a comatose hospital patient, wired up to a breaking machine and heart monitor.

Coming out kicking and screaming from that is “Cordia”, a 2 minute burst of furious energy and bombastic bounce breakdowns as “forever we stare into the sun”. They might lack some of the hooks or simplistic or straightforward batterings of a Knocked Loose but they make up for it with with everything else and “Broken In Refraction” is pure pit fodder and brings them into the sort of territory of the likes of Jesus Piece. The longest cut on the album at 3 minutes and 11 seconds is “Shattering Man” which… actually has a dark atmospheric acoustic bridge in it… sandwiched between some of the most bone crunchy breakdown work on the album! Closing with another inaudible voice passage surrounded by some ambient sounds “Creation…” has a strange eerie cinematic quality to it. Overall a pummelling, pounding, bludgeoning and energetic affair, Sanction can now consider themselves on the next level [8/10]

Track listing

  1. …An Empty Thought
  2. The Final Fraction
  3. Paralysis
  4. Answers from a Syringe
  5. Radial Lacerations
  6. Mirror Syndrome
  7. Conscious in a Coma
  8. Infants in Plastic
  9. Cordia
  10. Shattering Man
  11. Creation…

“Broken In Refraction” by Sanction is out now via Pure Noise Records

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