Eyes Set To Kill – Reach


Band: Eyes Set To Kill
Album: Reach
Genre: Hardcore/Rock
Label: Break Silence

Tracks:
1. Intro
2. Sketch in Black & White
3. Reach
4. Darling
5. Violent Kiss
6. Young Blood Spills Tonight
7. Where We Started
8. Into The Night
9. Give You My All
10. Liar in The Glass
11. Only Holding On
12. Behind These Eyes

We’ve covered a few bands on UTG that have tempted to merge female vocals into the hardcore genre. As a result, we’ve found bands who do it quite well [Walls of Jericho] and some that, well, don’t hit the mark [Straight Line Stitch]. Today, we will add one more act to the positive column. Eyes Set To Kill is a five piece band from Arizona that places a male hardcore vocalist with a beautiful female singer and the results are mouth watering. Reach, their debut release, just came out earlier this year and if you’re anything like me, you may want to start looking for it now.

“Intro,” is exactly what the title claims. Nearly two solid minutes of swirling sounds and guitars seemingly playing scales or something equally simplistic. It’s meant to get you pumped for what is to come, but since the follow up track, “Sketch in Black & White,” doesn’t match the flow to the opener, it seems to serve little purpose. “Sketch,” however, comes blasting through the speakers with the force of a nonstop overnight express train. Caleb Clifton’s drum work is the first thing we notice and it’s very tight and controlled, but in a way that most metal bands need to use. If I don’t watch myself, I’ll continually discuss how the female vocalist, Alexia, has a hauntingly gorgeous voice, but since this is the first track you find her on, you’re sure to notice. Overall, it’s a solid kickoff to the album which showcases almost everything the band has to offer. “Reach,” the third track on the album has a more rock driven feel, but with squealing guitar lines, it’s still got a lot of strength. The screamer, Brandon, steps a bit more into the light on this one. H has a very dynamic scream which keeps even his shortest repetitive lines feeling fresh. Musically, this song is very well structured and never gets boring or wanting to skip ahead. This is followed by the fan favorite [and mine], “Darling.” Beginning with silence piercing screams, the song leads into an area where both vocalists take a step back to show of the band’s ability to work with straight forward, breakdown heavy hardcore. Brandon’s voice is all over the place level wise and the work Alexis manages to pull off in the bridge will stick with you for awhile.

The Fifth track, “Violent Kiss,” is the first in which the rock side of the band shines most clearly. The guitars seem to battle as the race through notes with Alexis and BRandon finally balancing each other’s input on the track. Once again, the drum are hard not to notice as the skilled Caleb really makes his presence known here. For, “Young Blood Spills Tonight,” ESTK tone everything down for Alexis to sing out in an even more haunting way then normal. Though, once the chorus hits, everything gets heavier and more intricate as Brandon douses the soft moment with his throat tearing screams and changes the feel of the song all over again. Lyrically, we find some of the more cheesy lyrics the band offers. “Now here I sing my deadly lullaby,” just feels a bit forced in terms of being deep and/or serious. “Where We Started,” showcases Brandon’s piano skills a bit more as Alexis leads a more top for style intro before the band breaks into the realm of epic song structure. The moving piano part is joined with simply awesome guitar work to create a great atmosphere for one f the most solid tracks on the entire disc. If only the whole album could sound the way this does, then we’d really be onto something.

“Into The Night,” has literally no beginning. It just starts and as that seems meant to hit you hard, it feels awkward since everything else has been so well structured. However, the guitar work regains some of the footing for the track and allows us to sink back into the record. The things take an acoustic turn with, “Liar in The Glass,” which is a stunning track where Alexis and band sound absolutely gorgeous. However, the follow up, “Liar in The Glass,” is so hard from the get go that the acoustic track simply feels out of place. I mean, it’s a great track, but with the hard sounds thrown in around it, there’s no chance to really sink down to an acoustic level completely, Liar,” leads to, “Only Holding On,” which is the heaviest [non breakdown heavy] song the band has. It’s a powerhouse of sound and it’s amazing. The vocals duel like tigers and the bass and drum set some deep tones you can’t help, but want to move to. The band uses accents a lot in the music here and it’s all well done. This intensity is then carried over to the closer, “Behind These Eyes.” Squealing guitar work and solid drumming really shine here, especially near the end. I have to admit, the start of this song was a bit of uneven ground for a closer, but as the track plays out, it gets epically intense. Almost as if the band is poking a bear with the track and at the end; it attacks. It’s simple a great closing number as the last minute just leaves you wanting more.

Eyes Set To Kill are not the freshest sound on the planet. The mixing of guy and girl vocals has been becoming more and more used in the past decade, but I think there’s a twist here that only Eyes has used well. That would be designating the male to screams and the female to singing. This creates an intense, yet equal atmosphere for both sexes and allows the appeal for the band to be extremely wide spread. Reach has pacing issues and needs lyrical work, but as a whole, it’s a solid record. The production being through the roof doesn’t hurt either, but these guys and girls are on to something so don’t let them pass you by unnoticed.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 7/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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