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Eighteen Visions

Eighteen Visions

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Album Review

Lifted by years of effort and a new distribution deal with Epic Records, Trustkill Records' Eighteen Visions broke onto the charts with 2004's Obsession, which set up the band's next release as a potential breakthrough. When a recording artist with a number of albums decides to name a new disc after itself, that's often a signal of an attempt at reinvention or introduction to a new audience, and such seems to be the case with Eighteen Visions. The album is not a break with the past, but it does mark a more complete realization of the band's goal of maintaining a distinct heavy metal/hardcore identity while suggesting it can master other styles as well. The most distinct example of this versatility comes six tracks in with "Broken Hearted," a song on which Eighteen Visions abruptly switches gears and produces a melodic, midtempo arena rock performance. Lead singer James Hart calms down from his usual harsh howl to a conventional rock vocal style, and the band turns in a surprisingly accessible track, complete with a big, hooky chorus. The first time listening to the album, "Broken Hearted" comes as a surprise, but upon repeated listenings it's possible to hear more sophisticated parts in other songs — unusually strong vocal choruses, keyboard riffs, unusual tempo shifts. Eighteen Visions can play contemporary metal with the best of them, turning out songs filled with pile-driving drum parts, thundering guitars, and Hart's obscenity laced, rage-filled screaming. But, unlike their many competitors, they are more than that, and they vary the formula just enough to emerge from the pack.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Orange County, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Eighteen Visions' complex, often off-time, blasting metallic hardcore transforms bits of thrash, stomp, and acidic blackness into cohesive, pummeling compositions that occasionally break down and groove. All of their songs contain singalong-worthy bellowing from charismatic singer James Hart, who performed live with tongue-in-cheek pomposity worthy of huge stadiums. The band's flashy image, presence, and flair...
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