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.
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AllMusic Review by Roxanne Blanford