While 18-year-old guitarist and principal Eyes Set to Kill songwriter Alexia Rodriguez's lyrical phrasing continues to advance, her preoccupation with depressive themes suggests a deeper wisdom already at work. She may not have known it at the time, but ever since she first scrawled her band's name in her notebook, Rodriguez had an aesthetic in hand, and its gloomy drama would become the perfect vehicle for Eyes Set To Kill's screamo/metal sound. Now handling lead vocal duties as well, Rodriguez's eye for life's disappointments remains a vital resource for the local group, which ups its game a notch (or two) on its full-length debut,Reach
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. Apparently, all of the do-it-yourself touring the band has done since forming has sharpened its chops. Throughout these new songs, Rodriguez, her sister/bassist Anissa, drummer Caleb Clifton, guitarist Metal Greg, and screamer Brandon Anderson all sound limber and in-sync in their playing. Rather than just try to peel paint with their angst, the whole band plays with the quick-footed confidence that suggests they're all listening to each other and ready to respond quickly as a group. Not only that, but they give each other space, which shows an emerging arrangement sensibility. Melodic guitar lines zig-zag across galloping drums, thrash chugs, harsh screams, and sweet vocal hooks. Meanwhile, the mix, courtesy of local producer Larry Elyea, has a smooth sheen that actually enhances, rather than detracts from, the band's energy.