Release Date: June 2nd 2017
Label: Rise Records
Website: None available
Facebook: None available
An awful lot can happen within the space of a decade; some good, some bad, some tragic, and some unexpected. Since Eighteen Visions dissolved back in 2007, after stumbling from the slump disappointment of the hard radio rock direction of their self-titled LP, there’s certainly been a mix of that, not only outside of the band and the members, but within it too.
Fast-forward to 2017, and the Orange County metalcore heroes have returned, with sharped teeth and claws, a fresh supply of venomous bile to spit, and ready to prove once again that even with a lengthy stint away from the scene, they can still pave the way better than most of their contemporaries who’ve risen the ranks in their absence. Album number six, ‘XVIII’, slays and decimates all in its path.
Harking back to their glory years of the early 00s, ‘XVIII’ sits very comfortably as the logical step between 2002’s ‘Vanity’ and 2004’s ‘Obsession’ in terms of its its blend of blunt heaviness and gargantuan riff work, and melodic and sharp as a razor hooks. There’s even a few movie quote samples through in a la the ‘Vanity’ days for good measure, which are scattered across more than half of the tracks encompassing this record.
Indeed, from the very opening moments of the record’s onset ‘Crucified’, we’re thrown to the deepest of a riff barrage, and James Hart‘s shredding screams, all supported and magnified by the relentless drum work from Trevor Friedrich. Following number, ‘The Disease, The Decline, And Wasted’, reportedly a track that both Hart and guitarist Keith Barney had been working on back and forth since 2012, introduces our first moments of the record’s melodic swagger in its chorus, and its from here on out that Eighteen Visions prove that they’re back to reclaim their crown as the kings of Orange County metalcore kings.
‘Oath’, the lead single of this comeback opus, is an under two-minute bombardment of aggression, and easily one of the pinnacle moments of the record, as is ‘Live Again’, a tribute to the band’s late bassist Mick Morris, who tragically passed away back in 2013 due to a pre-existing heart condition. Sticking to their guns for what Morris would’ve undoubtedly wanted, and not wanting to stick to an overly cliché ballad affair, ‘Live Again’ holds solemn verses and formidable chorus, and one that pays respect to the members’ fallen bandmate and friend in the most fitting way.
Sadly, it’s not a completely perfect offering; ‘Fake Leather Jacket’ is more miss than hit, and ‘Laid To Waste In The Shit Of Man’ gets old quickly, but you just can’t argue that curtain closer ‘For This I Sacrifice’ will have crowds chanting back its call-to-arms outro at their forthcoming shows.
‘XVIII’ excudes in abundance the Eighteen Visions that we all know and love, the Eighteen Visions that pushed forward the “fashioncore” tag back in the days of MySpace’s glory years, the Eighteen Visions that set the template for metalcore today before it even knew it had one, and the Eighteen Visions that arguably have never sounded more confident, and sure of themselves and their identity. Welcome back, boys.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)