Eighteen VisionsPlease allow me a moment to disagree with my good friend Axl Rosenberg; I think it’s a shame that EIGHTEEN VISIONS have decided to call it quits. It’s unfortunate that the band is often lumped in with lame OC metalcorers, because they’ve been doing it since 1996 before anyone even thought of the word “metalcore” to describe their mix of metal riffing with the hardcore aesthetic. Furthermore the band clearly decided to actively move away from the metalcore label in recent years when they saw what the rest of their OC brethren were doing, opting in favor for a more straight ahead hard rock vibe.

Obsession, the band’s 2004 watershed album, was a transitional piece that combined metallic but hooky riffing with hardcore breakdowns, off-time beats, and James Hart’s singalong vocals that would have felt more at home in large stadiums than the midsize clubs the band played in. The band’s self-titled 2006 release and their first on Epic Records pretty much ditched all aspects of “core” and focused mainly on being radio friendly, polished, and stadium rock oriented. The album was admittedly underwhelming; but Obsession will stand the test of time as one of the truly excellent records from this era of metal. Every song is catchy from a musical and vocal perspective, though the band always keeps things interesting, never trite, on a musical level; the production is excellent; and Hart’s vocal performance is stellar as well, brought out by the talented knob-twiddler Machine (WHITE ZOMBIE, LAMB OF GOD, BLOODSIMPLE).

Seeing the band live was a treat as well. James Hart leads the show with his ever persistent Scott Weiland impersonation (and I mean this in the best of ways), writhing and gyrating about the stage. Just have a look at the above photo taken in Donington Park, UK at the 2006 Download Festival (which Axl and I attended). The rest of the band is right there behind Hart, tight as a pair of Sebastian Bach’s leather pants from 1989. The bottom line is that in recent years this band exposed the best of the ’80s glam aesthetic to a crowd of kids that would have never had exposure to it otherwise, and they did it without being corny.

As I stated earlier, 18 Visions’ self-titled 2006 release was a bit of a disappointment, as the band seemingly was going for radio or bust (although “Victim” was as good a track as any with its gang vocal chorus, and “Brokenhearted” was the best song Def Leppard never wrote). I guess bust is what happened. But I’m still left wondering what else this band had in the tank for the future; better hope these dudes can find themselves other work in music, cause those sleeve-tats sure ain’t goin’ nowhere.


Visit Eighteen Visions on MySpace.

Buy ObsessionEIGHTEEN VISIONS WILL BE MISSED. BY ME, AT LEAST. through MetalSucks.net for only $0.66!

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