Eyes Set to Kill

The World Outside

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There is no shortage of metal-related bands that offer a "Beauty and the Beast" approach when it comes to juxtaposing female vocals and male vocals. Many of them are European bands that blend goth metal with either death metal or black metal; "Beauty" is often a female lead singer with an ethereal, decidedly goth vocal style, while "the Beast" might favor either death metal's Cookie Monster growl or black metal's sinister rasp. But Eyes Set to Kill put a different spin on the "Beauty and the Beast" school of metal; on The World Outside, the clean lead vocals (or "Beauty" vocals) of Alexia Rodriguez are contrasted with the "Beast" vocals of keyboardist Brandon Anderson, who offers neither a death metal growl nor a black metal rasp but, rather, abrasive screaming of the metalcore/hardcore/screamo variety. Eyes Set to Kill are refreshingly original; their sound combines alternative metal, screamo, and metalcore elements with a strong appreciation of the goth-influenced Evanescence. Rodriguez has obviously been affected by Evanescence leader Amy Lee's poetic angst and melancholy introspection, although some of Rodriguez's vocal phrasing sounds a bit like Gwen Stefani. The pop/rock qualities in Rodriguez's singing might have been a problem if Eyes Set to Kill were only interested in ultra-vicious sensory assault, but Rodriguez and her Phoenix-based colleagues were obviously going for something much more nuanced -- and they do a good job of balancing the aggressive and the melodic. This 2009 release won't appeal to metalcore purists, but then, it wasn't designed for metalcore purists any more than it was meant to be a carbon copy of the all-male screamo bands that flooded the market in the 2000s. Eyes Set to Kill's take on the "Beauty and the Beast" concept works enjoyably well for them on The World Outside.

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