Signs of a Vacant Soul
, the 1999 debut from the Alabama quintet, Virgos Merlot
, is a sometimes melodic, sometimes aurally jarring alternative rock interpretation of standard goth-rock. More similar in sound to Creed than Nine Inch Nails
, Virgins Merlot is powered by heavily amplified guitar assaults, insinuating basslines and the sensual vocals of lead singer Brett Hestla
. Songs like "Beautiful Lie," "Gain" and "The Cycle" waiver between calm ruminations to explosive outbreaks, yet all are based on an appreciation for densely atmospheric guitar rock. Signs of a Vacant Soul
is not all that original in its overall sound, but it makes for an intriguing disc nonetheless.