French noise trio Sofy Major have been making heads turn for quite some time now. Their debut effort, Permission to Land dropped back in late 2010 to a good deal of praise, as did their 2013 follow-up effort Idolize. It's been a little over two years, and the trio have returned with their latest slab of noisy hardcore and sludge, Waste, being handled once again by Solar Flare Records, the label owned and operated by bassist/vocalist Mathieu Moulin. But will this new effort grab the listener by the balls and refuse to let go, or is it something that is more bark than it really is bite?

Waste sticks pretty close to the formula outlined on their previous effort Idolize. The guitars carry a decent hum with some cleaned leads present to assert the atmosphere of the hooks utilized, the bass guitar has a louder twang that isn't too deep, and the drums sound fantastic all around, really focusing on filling up the performances as much as possible to create that vibrant, upbeat, yet often grim and sometimes abusive or angsty signature sound that has sparked the interest of many fans over the years. All of this is strewn across more of a digital sounding preduction that doesn't quite accentuate the lower tones of the instruments at all times, but still carries enough of a backbone to get the point across.

"Waste" not only introduces the album nicely, but sums it up perfectly. The subtle shifts between upbeat, even hazy post-metal hooks have a subtle hint of hardcore that the sludge filled chorus of blunt, infectious riffs build off of with ease. While edgy, it still retains a degree of accessability, being able to fit a mainstream rock radio station without feeling as though it were designed to specifically be more alternative rock fodder. If anything, this track, as well as many others, have a gritty nineties Alice in Chains-esque presence that sounds as though it were torn directly out of a playlist from that era. Meanwhile there's "Turning Point", which actually starts on a darker note thanks to the complex sludge chords that can drift into the technicality of mathcore execution from time to time, all the while retaining that subtle southern undertone as it builds to a much tighter, far more enthusiastic chorus rich with hooks and harsher vocal harmonies that are impossible not to feel recharged by.

Even "Infinite Pill Case" carries itself with that nineties era southern rock flare. There's a grittiness to the main verses that works with the more energetic presence from the band, while the chorus seems a little more emotional thanks to the softer riffs, simpler drum patterns, and less raspy vocals that seem sadder next to the heavier echoes, especially towards the end where the music starts getting louder and louder until it suddenly implodes upon itself, shedding the joy for the downtrodden "Black and Table". This one feels as if you're creeping along the deepest of Louisianna marshes in a way that sometimes reminded me of "Drag the Waters" by Pantera. It makes the listener feel suspended in liquid, leaving you to drown as you claw your way out with random bursts of energy to drive you further to a safety that never seems to come.

Once again, Sofy Major brings their a-game with this new outing. Waste is a well composed mixture of excitable, upbeat performances that can turn to miserable and downtrodden at the drop of a hat and never feel forced doing so. On top of that, there are plenty of tracks that leave you feeling as if you're being carried away on a soft flowing river of music, immediately putting the listener at ease regardless the mood being created. The inclusion of post-metal elements to the standard hardcore and sludge filled world is a match made in heaven as far as Sofy Major's output goes. If you're a fan of the likes of Unsane, Hammerhead, or even Arabrot, Waste is something you're going to want to check out.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.