After releasing the self titled album as a quintet back in 2006; their fifth album overall but first album released through the major label Trustkill Records, Eighteen Visions decided to call it a day and went onto indefinite hiatus on April 9th 2007, much to the despair and heartache of all their fans.
Fast forward to 2017; Eighteen Visions have reformed as a trio and come back with a vengeance; James Hart on vocals, Keith Barney on lead guitar/backing vocals and Trevor Friedrich on drums/percussion have released their sixth album “XVIII“; a ten track masterpiece that is the first on their new label “Rise Records”
The second song to be publically released but the opening song of the album, “Crucified” starts out with the sounds of a bee swarm in a hive, before kicking into action with a small guitar intro leading into Hart letting out his long missed signatory scream; bellowing out the title multiple times over the addition of the drums. The mini breakdown in the middle of the song screams old school Eighteen Visions! Hart then belts out the solo verse before the song ends the same way it started; “Crucified” is a brutal two minute announcement that Eighteen Visions are back with a vengeance!
A small symbol before a nice series of chugging bends, slides and scales announceds the introduction of “The Disease, The Decline and Wasted Time“; the third song to have been released to the public. It picks up right where “Crucified” ended; Hart showcasing off his vocal talents again, spitting out the opening lyrics with pure venom before changing it up and melodically singing “Too many times I bled for you, too many times I tried; too many times I trusted you, too many times you lied.” More venom and anger come out from this point on in the song, with both Hart’s vocals and Barney’s guitar taken to the next level. The chorus makes another appearance about two thirds in the song, with single lines of the chorus also being used in synch with Hart’s screams throughout the song. A small breakdown towards the end of the song paves the way for Hart warming up his vocals over the drums building up anticipation to an headbanging inducing breakdown led by Hart screaming “GO!”.
The movie quote “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass; and I’m all out of bubblegum” and following gunshots open up “Underneath My Gun” before Barney assumes control and takes you by the wrist for another rollercoaster ride. In the middle of the song there is another headbang inducing breakdown, where Hart showcases his vocal range by going back and forth between melodic singing to in your face primal screaming in a matter of seconds. Some of the hard hitting and vemon filled lyrics include “I’ve been to hell and back and didn’t lose my soul” and “It was only just a matter of time until I killed your pride; I killed your pride!”
As you may have noticed earlier, Eighteen Visions have reformed as a trio; that’s because Ken Floyd (an original member who played both drums and guitar) is too busy with his full-time job as a tour manager and Mick Morris (bass) unfortunately passed away June 3rd 2013. Morris always stated that he would have been willing to have a reunion if the other band members were also willing. “Live Again” has been dedicated to Morris by the band.
A beautiful melodic slow introduction gets cast aside by a small heavy breakdown, before the slow melodic sound comes back with Hart singing about the experiences and opportunities everyone spent together. The rawness and emotion heard in Hart’s voice as he bellows out “You’ll live again; LIVE!, AGAIN!” expresses just how much Eighteen Visions misses Morris. Every single lyric, whether it’s spoken or screamed will tug on the heartstrings of any fan, especially with the final lyrics “We keep your memory!” concluding the tribute and resulting in a tear being wiped aside.
A small drum solo opens out “Laid To Waste In The Shit Of Man“, before chugging guitar and another movie quote lead into Hart screams out the opening lyrics “I know I’ve been taken down this road before, if you’ve seen what I’ve seen I’m sure you’ll want to choke!” A small change of tempo during the chorus leads to Hart singing before more . Two more repeats of the chorus with tempo changes in the middle concludes with Hart snarling and spitting more venom; the final lyrics being “If this is the end!”
“Oath” was the first song that Eighteen Visions released to their fans before the album became publicly available. Starting out with pure silence for the first five to ten seconds, Barney announces that Eighteen Visions have FINALLY returned by laying down nice clean crisp guitar, before Hart brutally announces his return with the opening verse “Take your shame, exposed for all to see; Your broken oath; Prosecuted; Judged and buried; Soul Convicted” screamed out in a way that only Hart can. Another short track at just over two minutes, there is no stopping the freight train that’s hitting your ear drums as the second verse follows up straight away. A mini breakdown exactly halfway in the song results in another turning of the energy to 11, with the crispness of the instruments having been replaced by raw and distorted perfection. The last half of the song is Hart repeating “We keep this oath”; the first time spoken over silence before being screamed the remaining times over the brutal guitar/drums that accompany the outro.
Another movie quote is used to start “Spit“. A small pairing of drums and guitar pave the way for another small movie quote; which is instantly followed with Hart screaming “Spit You Out” to kick-start the song. “I WILL leave you here to die” is spat with such venom you almost feel the need to check behind you to make sure Hart isn’t coming for you! The intensity of “Spit” will make it hard to believe this is sound is being delivered by a trio and not a quintet.
Hart’s slightly distorted intro lyrics of “Picture perfect with your rock cocaine; Smoking glass, ain’t got no shame” sets the tone for “Picture Perfect” and it really hits hard; it expresses the hatred of someone who has been taken advantage of by a drug addict before, possibly for a long period of time. The chorus of “Picture perfect with your rock cocaine; Smoking glass, ain’t got no shame; I know you’ll end up on the floor; You’re such a fucking disgrace yeah”. The heavier aspects of “Picture Perfect” come from Barney’s guitar and Friedrich’s drum kit, allowing Hart’s vocals to be more melodic and soft compared to the rest of the album. The passion that comes out in Hart’s voice in “Picture Perfect” is much like the same passion that came out in “Live Again”
“Fake Leather Jacket” is the third song on “XVIII” to open with a movie quote; a very distorted guitar being pulled in opens up the track. Hart shows off both his scream and his melodic range of singing in “Fake Leather Jacket“, which are accentuated by Barney’s backing vocals. The very distorted guitar is carried throughout the entire track, becoming that perfect puzzle piece that connects Friedrich and Hart seamlessly.
We’ve come to the last song on the album and it doesn’t disappoint! It seems like Eighteen Visions saved all their pent up energy for “For This I Sacrifice” and laid everything out on the line as one last final reminder that they are back. Barney’s guitar seems to have somehow lifted to the next level, Friedrich kicks and hits every last speck of dust off of his drum kit and Hart pushes everything out of his vocal chords both through screaming and melodically. The album reaches its conclusion with the band harmonising together vocally before fading out purely.
XVIII AVAILABLE NOW VIA RISE RECORDS