Eyes Set To Kill

The World Outside

Written by: AP on 22/07/2009 14:37:24

Although I generally hop on the bandwagon when it comes to female vocalists in metal, thinking the fairer gender has no business upsetting the order of things in the most testosterone-driven genre in the world, something about this band's debut album, "Reach", sat well with me. Something about the delicacy in Lindsay Voght's voice (the former vocalist, although there is some confusion as to which songs feature her vocals and which songs were sung by current vocalist, guitarist and song writer Alexia Rodriguez) sent shivers down my spine, especially when juxtaposed with the frenzied screaming of Brandon Anderson. Even if things on the instrumental side sounded a bit bland.

Anyhow, that album was the product of a struggle for recognition, no doubt a long and arduous one considering the sentiments of the genre toward a couple of silly scene sisters thinking their screamo could compete with the more established, male-fronted groups in the genre. Ironic, if looked at from the condescending, elitist pedestal which holds that most of those males can hardly lay claim to looking like men. Nonetheless, there was light at the end of the tunnel, depending of course on whether or not signing with a major label should be considered a triumph, and the girls' hopes for a career in music came true in the form of "Reach", albeit to mixed reviews. According to Alexia, this new effort, titled "The World Outside", is a furthering of the ideas processed on the debut as well as an attempt to have critics, fans and the industry recognize her growth and maturity as a songwriter and performing artist.

Did she succeed? Certainly, as this disc feels much more whole, and thanks to better production this one does not suffer from a cavernous mix. On top of that, Brandon's vocal abilities have seen vast improvement, introducing some much-needed terror to contrast Alexia's celestial singing. Unfortunately Alexia's vocals have taken a step down, sounding restrained and regularly missing opportunities to really shine. Again though, this scribe is somewhat unsure whether or not the more grandiose moments on "Reach" were the work of Lindsay or Alexia and as such the latter's voice may in fact simply have remained the same. Until closer "Come Home" rolls in, that is, nearly knocking me off my chair - not with the blunt force of this band's more explosive self, but with a solo performance by Alexia which has me thinking why she had to wait so long to unveil the full extent of her abilities. As fantastic as this song is, it's too little too late.

Because the rest of the album sounds almost dispassionate, even unambitious, both instrumentally and vocally. Brandon's part earns no complaints though as mentioned before and in fact it's his vocal performance, which is not unlike Craig Mabbitt's (who incidentally makes a guest appearance on "Deadly Weapons"), that is that buoy of this album. Okay, so I may have been too critical toward poor Alexia, and we wouldn't want to make her cry, so let's at least commend her for possessing such gift in her vocal chords; well done, now would you please let us have it all in every song because we fucking love it.

"The World Outside" is an album that feminists will devour without question, and many men would probably ditch their better halves for someone like Alexia (a beautiful, talented singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter - what more can you ask for?) but after some scrutiny it does feel rather lackluster and anonymous when compared with the explosive and raw, if poorly produced force of its predecessor. Its dark, hopeless atmosphere alone cannot redeem its character flaws and, well, as harsh as this may sound, the songs tend to sound prosaic, and consequently they have next to no lasting value.

5

Download: Deadly Weapons, Wake Me Up, Come Home

For the fans of: Alesana, Blessthefall, Escape The Fate, Evanescence

Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.06.2009

Break Silence / Koch

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