Sofy Major
Permission to Engage LP

After trying their hand at Orchid-style screamo and early Isis-style sludgy hardcore, Sofy Major has emerged with their first full length of self described noise hardcore. I’m always suspicious when bands mash genres together to describe their music but, for the most part the noise hardcore tag works. Noise rock and hardcore are the primary influences here. At times, they sound like Isis playing a sped up version of the Mosquito Control EP and other times like a hardcore band that’s spent too much time listening to Unsane. There’s plenty of discord and aggression alongside calm, introspective moments.

After a droning sludge opener, “Cobra Blanc” sees the noise rock come to the front with a distorted, jangling bass tone driving through caustic riffing ala Unsane and interludes with sheets of discordant noise. “Reproached and Scattered” and “Death of All” give the Isis influence of their previous releases a kick in the balls, speeding up the rolling, circular rhythms and drenching them with burly screams. Stoner and doom elements come out a bit in the grooves of “Non Rien” and its reverb laden screams and textured use of noise and feedback.

The vocals alternate between spoken-shouts and heavy hardcore screams and both are used effectively. There are also two tracks of droning ambience that feel somewhat out of place. In the middle of the album is “Douxjesus666”, a droning track of layered feedback, guitar and processed spoken word vocals that falls toward the post rock edge of the spectrum and breaks from the aggression of the first few tracks. Closing track “Eugene” adds acoustic guitar and female spoken vocals to the mix and functions as a serviceable, if not particularly engaging, conclusion.

Fans who have heard their earlier releases, particularly the screamo of the early days, may be taken aback by the dramatic change in sound but there’s plenty here for fans of hardcore that dips outside the two step-breakdown formula. The diversity of their influences may not be immediately apparent, but they successfully integrate them in their marriage of noise rock and hardcore. Solid.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
September 22nd, 2011

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