Every few years, music needs a facelift. And like a phoenix, its savior rises from the stale ashes of the newly dead scene to revitalize fans with a fresh sound. The new phoenix rises from Tempe, Arizona under the moniker Eyes Set to Kill. Set to release Reach their debut effort on BreakSilence Records on February 19, 2008, Eyes Set to Kill is poised to make a serious dent in the music industry through their online presence and gritty do it yourself road dog mentality.
Formed in 2004 by sisters Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez, Eyes Set to Kill have moved forward with huge strides quickly and not so quietly over the past three and a half years. Joining Alexia (vocals, lead guitar, piano) and Anissa (bass) and rounding out the five-piece are screamer and synth keyboardist Brandon Anderson, second guitarist Greg Kerwin and drummer Caleb Clifton. Eyes Set to Kill have sold more than 11,000 copies of their EP When Silence is Broken The Night Is Torn and DVD, A Day With Eyes Set to Kill combined, with the former reaching 2 and the latter 1 on the popular online retailer smartpunk.com and limited retail availability.
Eyes Set to Kill built their solid reputation through aggressive online marketing and constant fan interaction. Marked as MySpace’s number one unsigned band for more than ten months, and landing in the top ten of all independent bands, Eyes Set to Kill successfully booked their first tour through the popular web site. Since their first trek across America, they have supported platinum selling artists Papa Roach, (hed)p.e., Kittie, hardcore pioneers Walls of Jericho and the up and coming In This Moment as well as played various stints on the Vans Warped Tour in 2006.
While the ‘zona based five piece contrasts melodic vocals with screams, the intent was never to follow a formula that previously worked for other bands. Rather, they wanted to add unique elements. “We didn’t want to be just another screamo band, we wanted to do something different,” comments Alexia on the band’s formation. “We wanted to have the same kind of passion and fire that the bands we loved had, but still have our own sound.” And one listen to Reach further punctuates Alexia’s remarks.
As can be expected, Reach exhibits a more mature Eyes Set to Kill – more mature in its songwriting and its lyrics. As the primary lyricist, Alexia tackles themes such as frustration and anxiety, relationships, isolation and correcting one’s past. Alexia shows a woman well beyond her young years throughout Reach; she shows a songwriter that writes differently than the rest, pushing boundaries lyrically when possible.
“Only Holding On,” for example, is a battle between Alexia’s outer self and her conscience shown through the song’s verses, while the chorus is a third voice, her band, trying to ground her once again in the real reasons she performs music.
Lights dim down we're the stars tonight our voices bring slight wind to the sky. (Their voices sing along.) Feel their souls lift with ours as they share the night. But you sing a different song.
“Young Blood Spills Tonight,” deals with the pain of divorce told from the perspectives of Alexia and her mother.
Sip my blood till there's no blood left to spill from my neck. I'm embraced by a concealed grip I welcomed in my arms.
Rife with conflict and juxtaposing that conflict with promise, Reach is not a teenage angst-ridden twenty first century response to the Seattle scene of the nineties. And it’s more than a teenage coming of age story. Reach is the world’s welcome to a young band with a fresh voice. “The album is symbolic of what we want to achieve with our music. Most of the songs are about overcoming the obstacles that everyone faces in life. We hope that our music reaches out to the listener and can help them overcome some of the same issues that we’ve had to deal with in our lives,” Alexia notes, pointing to the more promising themes in the music. “We want to let people know that they can rise above the problems they face in their life; if our music can be that catalyst in someone’s life then that’s amazing.”
Listen to the record, analyze the lyrics, and go see Eyes Set to Kill live. They won’t disappoint.