Sound — 7
Fueled by its strong presence on MySpace, Eyes Set To Kill makes it apparent on the new album Reach why the group has attracted such fanfare. There are a lot of great elements within the quintet, with the focal point being vocalist/guitarist Alexia Rodriguez. But for as strong as Rodriguez is, Eyes Set To Kill insists on being screamo and that aspect ends up being unnecessarily distracting at times. For as many screams or distorted guitars that the band writes in it's songs, it is still Rodriguez that is the driving force with her unexpectedly sweet, yet strong vocal style. Reach starts out very strong with the instrumental Intro, which sounds like a classical piano piece with a twist. Rather than it just being a straight piano, the guitars follow the same style as the piano and it ends up being a beautifully arranged orchestration. It immediately sets a mood, and more importantly, it makes a nice contrast to the next track aptly titled Song 2 (no relation to the Blur hit). While the opening sections of Song 2 are pretty much just power chords, there is a fantastic breakdown later on that feels like it could be part 2 of Intro. The album is filled with very cool melodies, but there are just too many times when solid tracks get saturated by keyboardist/vocalist Brandon Anderson's screaming. The worst offender is actually Song 2, which would otherwise be a great song. On that particular track, Eyes Set To Kill seems to think every melodic line from Rodriguez needs to be repeated word for word by screaming Anderson. They do get it right in Darling, which you could classify as one of the more metal songs on the album. In that particular case, the screams fit in perfectly and work well with the underlying melody. Alexia Rodriguez and Greg Kerwin deserve to be noticed for their dual guitar work on the album, which is at it's best on tracks like Behind These Eyes. Granted, there are a lot of bands who have resurrected the classic Maiden sound and Eyes Set To Kill might not rank among the best, but Rodriguez and Kerwin do have some impressive moments.
Lyrics — 7
Apparently Alexia Rodriguez is responsible for most of the lyrics on Reach, and they are effective for the most part. You get songs about such topics as divorce or staying to yourself in the music world, and of course a few relationship-themed songs along the way. You get a taste of everything, with a song like Young Blood Spills Tonight bouncing between romantic and downright angry.
Overall Impression — 7
There are plenty of positives about Reach, and Eyes Set To Kill shouldn't have any trouble attracting an even larger audience (with or without MySpace). The main issue is that the vocals of Rodriguez are strong enough to stand on their own and are interrupted way too many times by Anderson's screams. I read that they wanted to put their own unique mark on the screamo sound, but the band's approach honestly doesn't seem to be too far from what other bands have done in the past. There are a few songs on the album that feature screaming in appropriate, anger-driven parts, and it's in those moments when it feels like there was a little more thought put into the songwriting.