Review Summary: Eyes Set to Kill have achieveved "darker"
In all honesty, I entered this album fully expecting it to be nothing more than average. In their previous release, "Reach" Eyes Set to Kill displayed talent and songwriting ability and even created a few great tracks, but they really didn't mark themselves as a standout band. Due to the band's instant success I assumed that all progression would be negated in favor of songs that would be popular with their existing fan base. I was only half right. Eyes Set to Kill haven’t progressed per se, they have remained basically the same, but there is a noticeable evolution taking place. ESTK expressed their desire to create "darker" music. If this was truly their goal, they have succeeded.
After only a few tracks, this transformation is not evident. The lead single “Heights” and “Deadly Weapons” (featuring an unfortunate performance from Escape the Fate’s Craig Mabbitt) are rather worn out, capitalizing on the metalcore hype as well as Paramore-esque clean sections. Then, the album leads into an interlude after only three tracks. At first I didn’t understand why the band would place an interlude so early into the album, but after a few minutes it became crystal clear. Interlude marks the end of a bland post hardcore album and the genesis of a truly worthwhile performance.
The vocal delivery of “The World Outside” is much darker than in “Reach.” By darker I do not mean that the screams are heavier and the clean vocals less prominent, but every aspect of the singing screaming sounds markedly more haunted. Alexia’s beautiful singing is still very present in ESTK’s sound albeit much more bleak, and instead of adding a lighter more dynamic atmosphere to the heavier tracks, it simply drags them to darker depths. Brandon’s screaming hasn’t really improved since “Reach” and if anything it has declined, and there is nothing on “The World Outside” like the blistering screams of former opus “Darling.” However, he has shown in an interest in singing as well as screaming, and although his singing voice is raw and undeveloped thus far, it shows definite promise. With both male and female cleans as well as the gritty screaming, “The World Outside” offers a very balanced vocal performance.
Musically, ESTK doesn’t have a particularly unique sound, it music falls somewhere between pop-punk, metalcore and post-hardcore. As expected, the music is delivered in the form of crunchy high-gain guitars and unnoticeable drumming. There are plenty of melodic leads throughout the album, but none that really emphasize on speed or technicality, they are simply added texture. Perhaps in the future, ESTK will expand on melody and musicality, but for now, they present themselves as a vocally centered band, which is generally acceptable considering that the vocals are ace.
Simply put, “The World Outside” is much more than I expected and a huge improvement on the band’s part. Eyes Set to Kill have neatly sidestepped the clichéd “Sophomore Slump.”
The World Outside
March of the Dead
Wake Me Up
very nice review, I think you have found your writing niche with the reviews like this and Sylosis'. I though am not going to check this out because I can't tolerate anymore metalcore and I have never been too big on post-hardcore.
sorry man already started doing apartment 26. Btw The 69 eyes rock, nice gothic rock from finland, you should definitely give the albums "Angels" and "Framed in Blood - The Very Blessed of the 69 Eyes" a go!