Eyes Set To Kill - Broken Frames Review
Posted by Marshall Slayton on 06.29.2010
Eyes Set to Kill give us a new album to rock to -- as well as two of the most visually-pleasing girls in the post-hardcore genre. Thank heavens.
1. All You Ever Knew
2. Broken Frames
3. The Listening
4. Ticking Bombs
5. Play The Part
6. Falling Fast
7. Catch Your Breath
9. Inside The Eye
10. Two Letter Sins
12. Let Me In
When opening the booklet for Eyes Set To Kill’s latest record, Broken Frames, I caught a glimpse of Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez – both of them sisters – and my interest piqued. They might be some of the most attractive girls I’ve seen in the post-hardcore genre. Those tattoos, pale white skin, black-as-night hair and bubble gum pink lips make them the perfect eye-candy for guys who have the ability to bang heads, drool, and stare in a daze all at once.
So, to my biggest surprise, a few seconds into the album and there’s screamed male vocals from Justin “Cisko” Denson. (Thong Song?) What a drag – I was hoping to hear some angelic feminine voice from the heavens. But Cisko’s scream isn’t a bad one, and it’s certainly an improvement over previous ESTK male vocalist Brandon Anderson. The change is pretty significant from one album to the next, Cisko’s hard rasp sounds like a cross between the voices of Silverstein and From Autumn to Ashes, but it fits the band’s formula without issue. Many who are familiar with Eyes Set To Kill’s last efforts, Reach and The World Outside don’t seem so sad to see Anderson go. Much like Jesse Leech from Killswitch Engage, he not only left because of woman, but because his throat was getting worn out at shows and couldn’t handle the singing duties like he used to.
Too bad for him. With the help of producer Andrew Wade, Cisko and Alexia sound phenomenal, and even better when they interact on Broken Frames. The opener, “All You Ever Knew,” is the best example of the band’s formula working to near-perfection, maintaining just right balance between outright screaming and elegant female swooning. On previous releases, there would be shouting in spots where it wouldn’t seem logical, but now the band has trimmed the fat and refined their sound. Instead of screaming for the sake of sounding heavier, Cisko’s voice is carefully placed around Alexia’s, resulting in more effective and better song structure. I believe this is a result of Wade in the studio, who crafts the cleanest and best sounding ESTK album in the band’s career.
Ironically, the most innovative songs are “Ryan” and “Ticking Bombs,” both of which shed the screaming to let Alexia’s vocals take center spotlight. Without the screaming, we realize how beautiful and extravagant the melodic vocals really are – Beauty would not work without the Beast. When playing the clean guitars, the band brings their A-game on the choruses, which tones down the anger but ups the intensity. They are also the most radio and user-friendly tracks, which makes them total winners.
Broken Frames is a shot of post-hardcore femme rock to the head. At 36 minutes, it’s easy to stomach and it knows when to quit. But with the exception of two girls (and they are VERY gorgeous), Eyes Set to Kill is incredibly by-the-numbers post-hardcore. They basically took a formula and added one small tweak to it, which makes them stand out in the genre, but it doesn’t make the music any more exceptional than the next Pro-Tool’d musician. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is ESTK’s best record yet, but this is another addition to the rock playlist rather than the essential example of it. They may need another record or two to create their ultimate tour-de-force, but at least for now, Eyes Set to Kill is going down the right path.
The 411: Eyes Set To Kill’s latest record is by far their best written and produced, but it still lacks some of the truly amazing songs to make them a glowing example of the genre. Songs like “Ticking Bombs” show the band is greatly improving their writing abilities, while a new producer at the helm makes them sound even better than previous albums. They might not have created their masterpiece, or even the best album of its kind, but with Broken Frames, the future of this Arizonian band is looking promising.