Sight Of Emptiness: Instincts
I'm not sure whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, but over the past few years I've had the opportunity to read many a press release for an album. However I must admit that a piece of PR blurb which proudly announces that a Melodic Death Metal act have the piano talents of Manuel Obregon; the Costa Rican Minister Of Culture featured on their latest album Instincts was enough to have me choking on my crunchy nut cornflakes!
Whether that guest spot is a gimmick or not, what the song he plays on illustrates is that Sight Of Emptiness, from the same country as Senior Obregon, do like to operate in left field some of the time. Oddly however when they are not adding political jazz piano to "Paradox", a song where some Latino rhythm and Opeth like guitar work and vocal expulsions rule, or dance/dub beats and electronica to "Sanctuary", what Sight Of Emptiness do can be seen as decidedly safe. "Essence" opens the album with the sort of ideals Fear Factory introduced many years ago and Scar Symmetry perpetuate, while "Obsession" treads a similar, scorched path of destruction. Both are good, with guitars blazing, drums blasting and vocals snarling, however on their own they make a well rehearsed statement that we've all heard over and over. However add some more unusual elements elsewhere such as keyboard stabs, less manic but equally jabbing guitar breaks and varying vocal attacks and things begin to become more interesting. The "hidden" bonus track "Transition" brings an even stronger dance element, shocking at first but actually making complete sense if you're willing to put any misconceptions aside.
Guests come and go, Scar Symmetry's Christian Alvestam turning in a fine performance, Megadeth's Glenn Drover also proving his worth. While the addition of Ugly Kid Joe's Whitfield Crane on clean vocals and Ole Halvard Sveen from Extol could be seen as slightly less obvious. All add to the line-up of Eduardo Chacon (vocals), Andres Castro (guitar), Esteban Monestel (bass), Rodrigo Chaverri (drums) and Gabriel Arias (keys, synth, samples) well, with Crane in particular finding a new side to his vocal delivery on "Essence"!
It would be a stretch to suggest that Sight Of Emptiness have reinvented the Melodic Death Metal wheel with Instincts – the band's third album. However it would also be unkind to give the impression that they aren't fully aware that moving out of their comfort zone is something they need to do if they want to make a mark in a genre which seems to throw up sixteen new pretenders to the throne every nine seconds. Instincts does just that and is all the better for it.
12. Transition (Bonus Track)
Added: December 4th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Sight Of Emptiness Online
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