Cause of Pain, the debut album from New Jersey based group On Sight, is as fiery and aggressive as one would expect from a hardcore release, with plenty of energy to boot. It is though, as a whole, seemingly underwhelming, with its short track lengths (the longest being just over 3 minutes) combined with a total of only 7 songs and a runtime of a mere 15 minutes. Leading the record to be over in a flash and leaving you, the listener, wondering if you missed something.
There isn’t really much to differentiate one song from the next - each has the same palm muted riffs and the same growling vocals, which whilst enjoyable do inevitably cause the songs to blend together into one. This makes it difficult to pinpoint any stand-out tracks as there isn’t particularly much to distinguish any one moment of Cause of Pain. That being said, track 3 ‘Best Bet’ does include a sample from the intro of the classic Beastie Boys song ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’, which in the grand scheme of things, does feel a little out of place and only stokes the impression that the album is somewhat rushed and erratic.
To clarify somewhat, this is by no means a terrible first attempt by On Sight. In fact, it’s far from it - they clearly have the capability and the competency; one would expect that this would be very well received by a live audience, for instance. What it seems to be lacking though is a step outside their collective comfort zone. They’ve got that hardcore sound nailed down, now all that’s left is for them to take that sound and do something more with it, in order to establish who they really are as a band and what separates On Sight from the rest of the crowd. For example, when you listen to a band like Iron Maiden, you know from the very moment Steve Harris’ galloping bass kicks in and Bruce Dickinson lets loose his infamous wailing vocals that you are listening to nothing but straight Maiden. Every band needs that signature something so they can communicate to their audience with confidence who they are, which is especially important with burgeoning talent. However, as far as On Sight is concerned it doesn’t sound like they’ve quite got that yet.
Nevertheless, they should persevere, disregard the critics (ahem) and carry on testing and defining what truly is their own brand of metal, and then hopefully when their next release comes around, we will have a far better understanding and appreciation of the band On Sight.