At some point or another, everybody wears a mask. That façade doesn’t just hide imperfections or insecurities either. It allows its wearer to assume a different face. Sometimes, that’s a dangerous proposition. Other times, it’s the only way to find oneself. Eyes Set To Kill uncovered their identity within Masks, their fifth full-length album and first for Century Media Records.
In 2012, the band found itself mired in the search for a new label. That proved to be a rather daunting and frustrating undertaking where every meeting yielded a conflicting third-party perception of who Eyes Set To Kill should be.
“I felt like we were wearing a bunch of masks to impress people during those meetings,” admits singer, songwriter, and guitarist Alexia Rodriguez. “At one point, I had a bit of a revelation. We had gone through so many changes over the years. It wasn’t about anybody else though. It was about us. We really found the band’s face at that point. We weren’t wearing masks anymore.”
Instead of pandering or worrying about expectations, the band—Alexia, her sister Anissa [bass], Caleb Clifton [drums], and Cisko Miranda [screams]—hunkered down and demoed two of its strongest songs to date, the irresistibly incendiary “True Colors” and “Nothing Left to Say”. Both merged anthemic scope and jarring metallic elegance, making for some of the group’s catchiest fare. As a result, Century Media immediately signed them.
“Those two songs served as a blueprint for the entire record,” explains Alexia. “When we were writing, I didn’t try to do what everybody else does. We didn’t need to throw a ton of riffs into one song or get overly technical. I wanted to make music that was catchy.”
With that mindset, the group retreated to a Southern California studio with producer Steve Evetts [The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sepultura]. In the process, Alexia evolved immensely as the band’s songwriter, and the band’s patented sound expanded. For the first time, Cisko added staggering screams, building the harmonies. Everything became amplified from the heaviness to the hooks.
“I was never really an underground kind of girl,” says Alexia. “I grew up on bands like Nirvana and more alternative rock, but I also related to metal and post-hard-core at the same time. Melody makes music relatable. I want people to remember the songs and relate to them.”
The first single “Infected” certainly upholds that. A battering guitar groove gives way to a soaring refrain from Alexia. It’s an unforgettable and unshakable introduction to the next phase of Eyes Set To Kill.
She goes on, “Sometimes, in relationships, people get manipulated into thinking that they’re the insane one or they have something wrong with them. They get portrayed like they’re ‘infected’, but they’re really not. They’re just being manipulated. It hits hard, and it’s got a lot of anger. At the same time, it shows listeners they’re not alone.”
Eyes Set To Kill have been providing fans that outlet since they first emerged from Phoenix, AZ in 2003. Since then, they have amassed over 1.17 million Facebook likes, covered USA Today, and landed on Alternative Press’s coveted “100 Bands You Need to Know List”. On the road, they’ve developed into a veritable whirlwind, sharing stages with everyone from Papa Roach to Black Veil Brides. They’ve crossed the globe four times on tour and even headlined a festival in Jakarta in front of 8,000-plus fans.
Now, with the Masks off, Eyes Set To Kill stand primed to be heard louder than ever before. “I feel like we’ve been working towards this record for our whole career,” concludes Alexia. “There were times I was almost going to give up. I’m glad I didn’t. I’d love for this music to inspire everyone to keep going. It’s always worth it to hold on to your dreams.”