Sound: Eyes Set To Kill, the Arizona-based metalcore band that originally earned a monstrous following via MySpace (even earning the title of #1 unsigned band on MySpace for several months), is likely to keep the momentum going with its latest record. While plenty of bands wait two and three years before releasing a follow-up album, Eyes Set To Kill is back with a new 12-track CD a little only a year after their popular debut Reach hit the shelves. The follow-up release, The World Outsid, picks up pretty seamlessly where the band left off. There does seem to be somewhat of a decrease in the amount of screamed vocals on the whole, but it's not by much. When it comes down to it, if you like the debut record, you'll likely enjoy The World Outside.
It's true that sisters Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez founded the band and could easily steal the spotlight because of their general cute factor, but Eyes Set To Kill is still very much a group effort. Alexia's lead vocals are certainly a focal point, but the instrumentation doesn't necessarily get overshadowed in the process. Greg Kerwin's lead guitar work does drive the songs in many instances, with tracks like Heights, Hourglass, and The March of the Dead featuring creative riff work throughout.
If you're not a fan of screaming, The World of Outside won't be your cup of tea. While Alexia does carry the majority of the vocal parts, Brandon Anderson and his high-pitched screams still alternate a good deal of the time. In tracks like The Hollow Pt. 2, Anderson's unique delivery is the perfect style to go with the grooving, gritty guitar lines. As was the case with the first record, there are still a lot of moments that get weighed down by the screams, but Eyes Set To Kill has plenty of fans who probably think the band could go even further with the aggressive side.
For as many metal-oriented songs on The World Outside, there is a good helping of mellower moments many of which are full-on ballads. The band made the extremely smart move of distributing the slower, piano-driven songs pretty evenly throughout the record. In one moment you'll hear distortion-fueled songs like Hourglass, and in the next, a piano instrumental like Interlude. The band also included a few more radio-friendly tracks (The World Outside and Come Home) that are essentially all about Alexia. The screams take a backseat on those tracks, and you could actually hear either one of those on the Billboard pop charts. Depending on your perspective, that could be a very good or very bad thing. // 7
Lyrics: The band has been quoted as saying that The World Outside is a lot darker, and that is fairly accurate in terms of the lyrical content. The topics range from personal introspection in The Hollow (I crave the day the curse releases me from all my rage; I seek a remedy) to more worldly concerns in March of the Dead (The dead is in the march; They're soldiers in the dark; They mourn the living; Regret our sinning). Through it all, there is almost a poetic sensibility, and the lyrical content is actually a strong driving force of the CD. // 9
Overall Impression: Eyes Set To Kill stayed within their comfort zone musically speaking this time around, but there is a bit more focus on their pop-rock oriented side. That's not to say that there aren't some extremely heavy songs because the band does deliver in this area on many tracks. Eyes Set To Kill has emphasized Alexia's singing this time around, and in many instances that means letting her belt it out with just a piano backing her up. In the end it makes for a nice contrast against the harder material, although there are some fans who might be slightly worried the band is getting a little too cozy with a pop-rock sound. // 7