Sight of Emptiness – Instincts (Self-Released)

Sunday, 15th December 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

The most visible act to come out of Costa Rica, Sight of Emptiness have parlayed their unique geographical hold into stadium opening gigs for the likes of Black Sabbath and Megadeth. It’s the equivalent of any number of low-lying unsigned bands getting a chance to open for the big guns here in the States, so Sight of Emptiness must be doing something to right to gain such opportunities. However, they remain unsigned, even with the exotic lure of their homeland. Their third album, Instincts, though, has all the makings of professional, capable band.

Sonically, the band hovers around the melodic death metal forum, although there is a noticeable dearth of those overused At the Gates/In Flames riffs. Still, the band is rightly melodic and thrashy, keyed-up on polished choruses, which is where Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane comes in on opener “Essence.” An odd, unexpected pairing if there ever was one, Crane and SoE have managed to turn the song into single material, suggesting there’s more to the “I Hate Everything About You” vocalist than bad memories of the early 90’s. The parade of guest spots doesn’t end there, with former King Diamond/Megadeth axe-slinger Glen Drover popping up on “Fearless,” ex-Death/Deicide man Ralph Santolla lending a solo on “Obsession,” and former Scar Symmetry throat Christian Alvestam” doling out clean vocals on three of the album’s ten tracks.

These guest spots are fine and dandy, not taking over the album, but not exactly serving as the defining moment. Instincts does have its moments of flair outside of these gentlemen, such as the uppity “Paradox” or swift “Genetics,” proving the Sight of Emptiness lads can hold their own. Still, can’t really fault a band who hail from an un-metal hotbed for trying to draw folks in with these names. Instincts is good enough for a proper label release…someone will realize that down the line.

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