Eyes Set To Kill – Broken Frames

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Eyes Set To Kill

Broken Frames - Breaksilence Records

It’s easy discounting a band simply because they emerge and ride the wave of current trends – especially when it’s a trend you downright hate.  With that mentality, it’s not as easy being gracious and recognizing that some bands buying into said trends won’t make your ears bleed, and that they might actually get the job done fairly well.  Thus is my encounter with Phoenix, Arizona’s Eyes Set To Kill.  Their brand of made for Hot Topic screaming meets clean female vocals represents a calculated cash-in of current trends.  Needless to say, I absolutely detest the fabricated sub-culture surrounding it.  However, if you can get over the context surrounding their third album, Broken FlamesEyes Set To Kill actually holds up surprisingly well.

The basic premise behind Eyes Set To Kill is a safe but edgy interplay between two lead vocalists.  Alexia Rodriguez has a melodic and controlled sense about her that carries the album on the strength of her deep and mysterious range.  Meanwhile newcomer Cisko Miranda takes over vocal duties for Brandon Anderson offering a listenable, understandable take on screaming.  The result is balanced and approachable for a hardcore setting.

Further central to their success is the band’s comfort moving between intensities.  The title track exists on a particularly visceral level, with Cisko and Alexia pushing their limits to deliver a deeply personal and angry plea.  In fact, Cisko even opens the track, baring initial comparisons to Hatebreed.  By the time Alexia takes over for the chorus she inherits much of the existing intensity, with Cisko occasionally synchronizing his growl to bolster particular words and passages.  According to the band, Broken Flames is a vehicle for copping with regrets and grievances.  So when the entire formula gives way to the gentle “Ticking Bombs” after the breakdown heavy track “All You Ever Knew,” the band achieves an aftermath of reflection in the wake of anger.  Likewise, the thirty-second piano interlude leading into “Ryan” interposes the album with the chance for listeners to “catch their breath.”

Unfortunately Eyes Set To Kill still inherits many of the shortcomings of the genre.  As one might expect, even with all this variety, the band still sounds like something marketable at Hot Topic.  In other words, the band doesn’t take too many chances or make a huge effort at distancing themselves from the mountains of imitators.  And it’s really a shame because if any band in this subculture can do something exciting, it’s Eyes Set To Kill.  For proof, look no further than the last minute of “Inside the Eye,” when backing vocalist Greg Kerwin chimes in with a very Death Cab For Cutie-like passage in content and delivery.

Bottom line: Broken Flames is quite listenable.  However, if Eyes Set to Kill can further build off their most ambitious and original moments, they stand the chance of elevating the typically clichéd genre into something more.  Here’s to hoping they eventually break from the mould.