Sanction This

[Subject To No One sleeve]"Subject To No One" (EP, 2017)

Self release

This isn't really a 'proper' release as such; just a way "To get some noise out" as the band describe it. So more of a place-holder until the upcoming LP on Grow Your Own Records comes out; and as such, it's slightly patchy, but to those in the know (i.e. me and you) it's a vital artefact. And at a measly £3.00 it's well worth seeking out.

A mix of old and new material, we kick off with Uno, a blunt refusal of constraint. The influence of Amebix* is quite pronounced on this, musically as well as in the lyrics ("No Gods/ No Masters/ No Rules/ Just me"). It's quite thrashy in places, but never messy; with controlled breakdowns and tempo changes that remind me of Justice For All era Metallica**.

Brain Freeze is actually a bit ordinary and doesn't leave much of an impression, but it does segue into the entirely awesome Erase Us via a sustained feedback howl, so I'll forgive the slight dip in quality. I have already waxed lyrical about the utter brilliance of Erase Us and the next two (Media Trap, Sanctify Genocide) as they can all be found on last years' 7" single. If you 're one of the many people who doesn't own a record player, it's useful to have all three tracks on CD, but if you do have a record player, you should own the vinyl as well.

Following this are two live tracks which although performed with an admirable power and commitment, are let down by the sub-bootleg sound quality. Having seen the band scything through Erase Us live recently, I can confirm that it's a moment of savage, howling rage, but this version doesn't come close to capturing its cathartic qualities.

Nuclear Black answers the question 'Do Anarcho bands still write songs about impending nuclear devastation?', but unfortunately fails to answer the question of whether Anarcho bands still write GOOD songs about impending nuclear devastation, as all subtlety in the tune or lyrics is obscured by the poor recording.

This CD is only available at gigs and via the band's internet presence, and as I said, it's a patchy release, but you should definitely buy it.

I would normally give it 6/10 because of the surplus to requirement live tracks, but the quality of the rest of the songs and the value for money factor bumps it up to 8/10, only for the frankly ugly cover to drop it back to a (still impressive) 7/10.

*This is a good thing.

** This is likewise a good thing

Nick Hydra (December 2017)

[Wipe Us Out sleeve]"Wipe Us Out" (EP,2016)

Grow Your Own

I first came across Sanction This on the Birds of a Feather compilation (also on Grow Your Own records), and although I was initially put off by the name (redolent as it is of Jobseeker interviews and general dole-scum wallowing) and the thrash-o-rama intro, it turned out that Sanctify Genocide was one of the stand-out tracks on the CD. 

Presented here on 7” vinyl (with free badge for early orders) with two other songs, the aforementioned intro improves with repeated listening. A detour into a drop-out featuring the rhythm section pounding along on their own pushes it into something that wouldn’t sound out of place on the first Sex Gang Children LP, until power-chords similar to the Dead Kennedys’ California Uber Alles herald the guitar crashing back in. You can even hear the words - which I am happy to say are a vicious old-school attack on religion (“No, I won’t be lost/ Not me/ Not me/ I won’t declare loyalty/ And perish in the crypt”), which is always welcome at the House of Hydra. 

The best track on the EP is easily Erase Us which like Sanctify Genocide is a re-recorded version of a track from the And Still They Fucking Continue long player. Stretched to nearly twice its previous length, this has inventive, chiming guitar work and despite having less lines than a Ramones B-side (“Erase us/ Wipe us out” is all you get) and with a good portion of the playing time consisting of just bass and drums swathed with feedback, this builds into something reminiscent of Neurosis circa Souls at Zero, but with a bit more space in the mix, although I’m also reminded of Lard/Pailhead (it certainly has that WaxTrax atmosphere to it). The bassist is definitely touched by the Hand of Goth (this is a good thing), and I’m pleased to report that the drummer clearly knows what hi-hats are for, and goes to work on them with gusto. Moody, menacing and atmospheric, I really can’t think of a single bad thing to say about this track. 

And then we come to the slightly disappointing Media Trap, which starts well but slips into generic hardcore thrash. It almost redeems itself at the end with a slower end section featuring cries of “Media/ State / Media/ Hate”, but it’s really not up to the standard of the other two tracks. Having said this, the choice to re-record those two particular songs shows that Sanction This clearly understand what it is that makes them special; which bodes well for future releases (hopefully a full length CD in 2017). 

Another great record from Grow Your Own records, and definitely a band to watch. 7.5/10

Nick Hydra (December 2016)

See also: Sickness