Eighteen Visions: XVIII

Eighteen Visions: XVIII

You’ve got to love a band who isn’t afraid to get a little Buckcherry on.

Eighteen Visions: XVIII

3 / 5

For anyone with an encyclopedic knowledge of branching microgenres in the rock world, Eighteen Visions has cast a long shadow in the decade they’ve been inactive. Having pioneered the primordial elements of 2011-era metalcore and, well, a bunch of other strains all ending in “-core”, a lean line-up featuring vocalist James Hart, guitarist Keith Barney and drummer Trevor Friedrich is back with a tight set of songs, largely throwbacks to their earlier releases with sporadic streaks of modern rock radio sheen.

The chugga-chugga breakdowns, the double pedal drum fills and the call-and-response rapport between Hart’s howling scream and his sneering clean vocals are all on display. Perhaps owing to the part-time nature of this reunion, the songs aren’t quite as heavy as the band has been known to be in the past, but these 10 songs are plenty intense.

Take a track like “The Disease, the Decline and Wasted Time”, where razor sharp riffs cut a swath through towering wall of bile and spite. Countless acts have picked up threads 18V left in their wake, but it’s refreshing to hear them pick back up where they left off with a stripped-down straightforwardness. The animosity and animalistic verses play perfectly with the snarling hook, a slick chorus where Hart, unintentionally one must assume, seems to be channeling Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows, before succumbing to a stop-start breakdown.

On other cuts, they take things back to 2002’s Vanity with the heavy use of film samples, from movies as diverse as John Carpenter’s They Live and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. The former, namely “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s infamous bubble gum line, prologues “Underneath My Gun”, a pugilistic barn-burner that’s sure to provide the original score to someone getting a fucking headbutt in the near future. But the latter’s Nic Cage opens the aptly named “Fake Leather Jacket”, a song that swaggers considerably more than its brutal brethren, feeling more mainstream without brushing too far into sellout territory. More cynical fans may sarcastically namecheck Velvet Revolver after their first listen to this number, but that’s a little reductive, if slightly off the mark.

The album’s finest moment may be “Picture Perfect”, a brash, lip-biting slice of balls-out rock. The self-satisfied hook, “Picture perfect with your rock cocaine/ Smoking glass, ain’t got no shame”, wouldn’t sound out of place on the Sunset Strip in the late ‘80s. In between repeated moments of showing off to newer bands whose influences were influenced by 18V, it’s a ball to hear them channel the kind of scuzzy fuckjams their core fanbase might scoff at, if not openly mock. The scene has accelerated to the point that music still sounding this young comes off like aging men reliving the glory days. Fashioncore revival or not, you’ve got to love a band who isn’t afraid to get a little Buckcherry on an otherwise return to form reunion record.

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