Wow, it’s been a minute since we heard anything new from EYES SET TO KILL, huh? Well thankfully, after a four-year wait the band is back with a brand new self titled album (out now, Century Media Records). As much as I hate to coin overused phrases like “back with a vengeance” that is EXACTLY the case with this disc. Singer/guitarist Alexia Rodriguez, fellow guitarist A.J. Bartholomew, and drummer Caleb Clifton have been through a lot, personally as well as professionally, and you can hear a band that has come out the other side being all the better for it. There is a sense of urgency, and a fire to these tracks, and it really feels like the rebirth of the group.
Intro track “Burn Down” is the match that lights the fire before it accelerates with “Die Trying”, definitely one of the best tunes I’ve heard from ESTK in a while. Rodriguez hits that chorus with such conviction you’re ready to run through a brick wall on her command. “Break” is without a doubt one of my favorites; I simply can’t get enough of this one. Same goes with “Survive” and its crunchy-ass guitar riffage. These two are gonna crush it live if they’re in future setlists, I know that much! “Never Forget” utilizes some keyboards/programming for atmosphere and they add another dimension to the song. So that’s three killers in a row.
“Saved You With a Lie” has a catchiness that is not to be denied and would make for a great single if anyone over there at the label is reading this. It also features the record’s coolest guitar solo. Nothing crazy or over the top, but very effective. Things take a different turn for the slower “Devastated” and this provides a welcome reprieve from getting our asses kicked for the first half of the record. Still, it’s a very powerful song, and Alexia has never sounded better. “Letting Go” is sometimes soft, other times fast, hard, and makes a big noise where it needs to. This is one I think a lot of you will dig. Besides, when have I steered you wrong (Don’t answer that)?
Lyrically and musically “Misery” is one that really struck a chord with me, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. Another change of pace occurs with “Voices”, and it’s a significant departure for the band, albeit one that is executed well. It was nice to hear something like this out of nowhere. Closing things out is “Who We Used to Be”, and what’s funny is that it sounds like a closer. I seriously couldn’t imagine it anywhere else on the album. An excellent combo of melody and punch, this one.
So after this long wait, during which I’ve been able to see them live and meet them three times, I am beyond happy that EYES SET TO KILL have returned with a new record. Mini-Amps will be as soon as I put it in his iPod, too. He has always had a thing for Alexia’s voice, and I can’t wait to watch him rock out as soon as these tunes hit his headphones. Pick up your copy today wherever it is you buy your music, and be sure to catch ESTK on tour. Because live they are every bit as good as they are on tape and then some!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Devastated”, “Break”, “Survive”, “Never Forget”, “Misery”, “Die Trying”