There’s uncompromising heaviness to Sanction’s music that has been missing from metalcore for near a decade. We’re not talking about deathcore’s overdone sheen, where a breakdown is a product over being an integral set piece. We’re talking about when metalcore and its splinter genres were not product but art form, a hybrid monstrosity of visceral live sets and sucker punching brutality. Long Island’s Sanction is a contemporary standard bearer, with their pair of EPs and everything before and in between a testament to their savage dedication. To that end, I sat down to discuss the roots of Sanction’s sound and their unique place in the heavy music scene with guitarist Mike Marino. Included is a stream of their new EP, The Infringement of God’s Plan. Enjoy!
How did Sanction get started?
Mike: Pretty standard. Me and our drummer Dillon just wanted to start a heavy hardcore band when we were in high school a few years ago, so we made it happen. Started jamming songs in his garage and it pretty much went off from there.
Artistically, what were your primary inspirations when forming the band and what continues to inform and push your songwriting?
Mike: Our inspirations have changed pretty steadily through all of our releases. In the beginning, our earlier material derived more inspiration from late 90’s and early 2000’s metalcore bands, like Martyr AD, Arkangel, Zao, etc., but going on into our more recent material I was taking influence from heavier bands like All Shall Perish, Suicide Silence, Through the Eyes of the Dead and so on. It pretty much depends on whatever I’m listening to at the time.
In referencing deathcore bands, do you feel the genre gets an unfair reputation?
Mike: I believe so. I think the genre has its roots where it wasn’t so bad and corny. But for the most part, I think most current deathcore bands aren’t great. That’s why I thought it’d be cool to take influence from some of these band’s earlier releases, sort of bring back the sound in a sense.
Agreed. Suicide Silence’s EP and Through the Eyes of the Dead’s first three releases are solid. Are there any particular songs from that era that you favor?
Mike: “About a Plane Crash” by Suicide Silence will always be a favorite of mine. Would love to cover that some day, who knows.
Great song. Your band just released a new EP, the irresponsibly heavy The Infringement of God’s Plan. How did the writing and recording process for the EP go?
Mike: The writing process was super easy and smooth. The way we write is definitely a little different compared to most other bands. For the most part, I do almost all of the writing. I have an interface and recording software and I just demo out all of the songs on my computer. Once they’re done, I present them to the guys and we go on perfecting them from there. Definitely an easy work flow. Recording, on the other hand, got a bit stressful, but at the end of the day we got it done and I’m incredibly happy with how it came out.
It paid off for sure, I’ve seen nothing but great reception for it so far. From what you’ve seen, having just finished the Summer of Fear tour with Vein, Buried Dreams and Heavens Die, how has the live reception for the EP fared?
Mike: The shows on the tour were nothing short of amazing and the response to the EP was great. For the most part, the areas we played we had never even been to before, so that fact that 10 or more kids even showed up was awesome to me. The Midwest was a little strange only because it was our first time there, but once we got back to the East Coast all the shows popped off for our set. Especially Jacksonville at Raindogs. People knew the words and were going off to every song. Great show.
Since its release what has been your favorite song off the EP?
Mike: “The Infringement of God’s Plan,” 100%. That’s everyone else in the band’s least favorite song, but it’s stayed mine since I wrote it. Super fun to play live, too.
What about that song sticks out to you?
Mike: I put a lot of myself into writing that song. I wanted it to be super anger-driven and hit as hard as possible. I think the final outcome was exactly that. Also, the words that went into writing the final breakdown in that song were “fuck it.”
The artwork has a late 90s and early 00s throwback feel to it. What other bands’ album covers inspired this layout?
Mike: I did the cover art. There wasn’t too much thought put into the actual art itself. Pretty much just wanted to create something that looked cool. I take a lot of influence from early Converge artwork, though. If you look closely there’s a line going horizontally in front of the guy with his arms wrapping that says “sixhundredthirtyone” repeatedly. “631” is the area code for the county on Long Island we’re all from. We take pride in where we’re from so we thought it’d be a cool/funny gimmick.
There seems to be an influx of metalcore bands coming out of the Long Island scene. Do you think there is anything specific attributing to this particular sound?
Mike: I think there’s an influx of metalcore bands coming out in general. I think the main attribution is the resurfacing of all early 2000’s and late 90’s metalcore bands. For us at least, we’re solely just writing music that we want to hear and play. No attributions whatsoever.
What contemporary bands’ releases have you been listening to lately?
Mike: Definitely all of Vein’s discography, Heavens Die’s Hands of Man, Homegrown Hate by JAB, the Jukai and Recycled Rarth split and Theories of Despair by Renounced are all favorites right now.
Sanction will be playing Loud Fest in November with some reputable bands, of note being Despised Icon, On Broken Wings and Laid 2 Rest. With a lineup right up Sanction’s alley, how stoked is the band to be playing on this bill?
Mike: We’re all incredibly excited. We’ve played with On Broken Wings before and it was awesome. Bands like Internal Bleeding, Recon and Despised Icon are all bands we’ve loved for a very long time and couldn’t have even imagined getting the opportunity to ever play with. Definitely pretty surreal.
It’s a stacked line-up, glad you guys made it on it. What are the band’s plans for the near future?
Mike: Thanks man! Our plans at the moment are to tour more than we ever have before and keep on writing new music. We have some cool things in the works.