Review Summary: Once again, Eyes Set To Kill recycle and refine themselves into something every label lusts for, emphasizing confidence and consistency over innovation.
Pioneers are generally an unappreciated lot. Without an established benchmark, it’s difficult to ascertain the quality of any given technique and/or idea. The comfort of familiarity is non-existent, and without a persistent, loyal fanbase, the ideas fade into a conceptual Abyss, never to be heard from again until another band reintroduces the idea, and the now-grizzly fans of the former band emerge and point their gnarled fingers in contempt. Thieves! Plagiarists! Talentless Imitators!
Eyes Set To Kill doesn’t have to worry about any of that.
Instead of redesigning the wheel (or removing it entirely in favor of sleek and sexier methods of propulsion), they’re content with simply polishing the rims, checking the air pressure, and digging the rocks out of the grooves. The resulting product won’t win over anyone who couldn’t find something to hold on to in previous releases, but for most of the legion of fans Eyes Set To Kill has amassed from two albums and an EP, Broken Frames is a delightful addition to the stereo.
The most dramatic difference is the replacement of screamer Brandon Anderson with Cisko Miranda. The former, it seems, disgusted nearly every listener with a forum account, as he remains remarkably unpopular considering his presence in one of the most ubiquitous core bands. Cisko enters the game with raspy gutturals that showcase both his articulate approach as well as his tremendously limited range. Though I personally prefer Brandon’s throaty monologues, I must admit that Cisko fits the sound very well, if only due to the impeccable production (his live performance is…lacking).
Alexia, who’s nasally charm separates Eyes Set To Kill from the hordes of ( )xC bands, has, at the mention of producer Andrew Wade, stretched her vocal range to it’s limit on this album. While higher notes aren’t to be confused with passion, her high octane delivery makes a convincing argument that the lyrics played an important role in the songwriting. That doesn’t mean they’ll be finding their way into your English Composition curriculum, but they are a notch above the typical relationship-focused ramblings that infest the genre, if only in meaning as opposed to word choice.
Broken Frames isn’t bogged down by a cluttered spotlight. There is a prominent harsh-verse, clean-chorus focus for most of the songs. That being said, it’s apparent nearly every passage of every song is the result of forethought and refinement. The instruments won’t inspire an entire generation to quit their jobs and head to the nearest Guitar Center, but they accomplish their intent: user-friendliness.
This is as radio-friendly as hardcore gets.
It isn’t fresh.
It isn’t surprising.
But there isn’t any reason to hide it when your pretentious friends visit.