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Eyes Set To Kill - Masks Award winner

Eyes Set To Kill
by Bex "Hardcore" Tasker at 09 September 2013, 7:03 PM

I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a severe fangirl moment when I was asked to review EYES SET TO KILL’s latest album. As a long-time fan of the band, getting to review Masks is a great honour. The Metal / Hardcore quartet from the US certainly don’t disappoint with this thirteen-track masterpiece, proving without a doubt that they’re bigger, better and heavier than ever. Having had several line-up changes since their formation in 2003, the group seems to have been finalised, and this is definitely reflected in the quality of their music. I guarantee it’ll only take one listen of any song in the list for you to be totally hooked on this album, whether you’re a veteran fan or a new recruit to the EYES SET TO KILL army.

The opening track “Masks” is unnerving, setting up the album’s haunting vibe. After a brief and discreet guitar intro, Alexia Rodriguez’s distinct vocals come in, partnered with Cisko Miranda’s more sinister ones. As the music gets louder, the pair both begin to growl “make a fool out of me” several times over an awesome breakdown. The following track “Killing in Your Name” kicks off with some catchy riff work, and is soon joined by Alexia’s gruff vocals. This number is heavy as well as memorable, and you’ll soon be singing along to the lyrics and headbanging along to Caleb Clifton’s drums. There’s also a screeching solo towards the end, which will get you hooked if you weren’t already. “Lost and Forgotten” metals things up even further, will doublekick drumming and distortion guitar getting things started, and Miranda’s screams making themselves welcome in no time. Again, Alexia’s vocals are impressive, showing one of the bands founding member’s versatile range. The following track, “Where I want To Be”, is one of two that appeared on the group’s previous album White Lotus, the other being “Secrets Between”. Both have been sufficiently heavied up, instrumentally and vocally. If you own the previous album and are familiar with these tracks, definitely give these a listen, you’ll see immense improvements. “Secrets Between” features several moments of audible bass work by Anissa Rodriguez, the band’s other founding member and sister of Alexia. The pair has managed to keep the band going despite several line-up changes, with each album showing their growth as musicians and indicating their bond as siblings and band members. “True Colors” highlights the essence of the four-piece, with deadly distortion riffs, growled verses, catchy clean choruses, and frequent breakdowns.  The next number also jumps on the heavy wagon; “Surface” consisting of some very Metal guitar and drumming as brutal as ever. There’s some nice clean guitar, too, again the work of vocalist and guitarist Alexia.

As we enter the second half of the album, the band introduces something new, whilst still adhering to their famously ruthless sound. “Little Liar” features a recurring vibrato-type effect, starting at the introduction and making a comeback throughout the song. This track is one of the catchiest on the album, so definitely give it a listen. Miranda clearly wants to enforce the message of the next song, as he shouts the title of “Nothing Left To Say” the moment it begins. The instrumentation goes together exceptionally well in this track, the band have clearly found their sound and are flaunting it with pride. “The New Plague” takes off with a breakdown, which gradually rises in volume and erupts into an even grander breakdown, along with some piercing guitar and brutal growls. Alexia’s lovely yet venomous voice holds firm in the chorus, whilst Miranda’s relentless growls dominate the verses. My personal favourite is the track that follows; “Infected”. The guitars are distorted and funky, with a rhythm that is guaranteed to infect you with EYES SET TO KILL fever, with no hope of a cure. Alexia’s voice is gruff throughout, and Anissa’s bass completes the song so flawlessly. “Haze”, the second last track on the album, has a rather irregular rhythm, with the instruments seeming to do different things, but fitting together remarkably. As we cross “The Forbidden Line” into the final track, we are greeted with doublekick and high-pitched guitar, before growls and sharp riffs claim the territory as their own. This song is an effective and appropriate conclusion to a great album, showing the band’s central sound, as well as introducing other musical aspects that present their ability to be diverse and push themselves as a band.

Call me bias, but this album is one of the best I’ve heard from a Metal band this year. “Masks” is a carefully constructed masterpiece, indicating EYES SET TO KILL’s progression as a group into a very commendable place. I highly recommend not only listening to “Masks”, but buying it, as I guarantee you’ll be wanting to listen to it over and over. Alexia, Anissa, Cisko and Caleb are a highly talented group of musicians, so it’s no surprise that their combined efforts result in such an addictive release. I look forward to the next one.

5 Star Rating

1. Masks
2. Killing In Your Name
3. Lost and Forgotten
4. Where I Want To Be
5. True Colors
6. Surface
7. Little Liar
8. Nothing Left To Say
9. The New Plague
10. Infected
11. Secrets Between
12. Haze
13. The Forbidden Line
Alexia Rodriguez - Vocals / Guitar/ Keyboards
Anissa Rodriguez - Bass
Cisko Miranda - Screams
Caleb Clifton - Drums / Samples
Record Label: Century Media


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