Eighteen Visions - The Best Of (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Eighteen Visions

The Best Of (2001)


Heavy music; hardcore, metalcore, whatever you want to call it, has been going through a re-evolution for the past few years. Bands like (older) Earth Crisis, and One King Down have been injecting new layers of speed metal, death metal, and even post-2000 metalcore into the genre pioneered by Minor Threat and Black Flag.

Witness the latest evolution of hardcore; Eighteen Visions. Before I go any further, I should mention that part of my love of modern hardcore comes from the fact that bunch of hardcore kids who don't look all that different from me can kick the crap out of any modern metal band, musically (and probably literally too)

And while modern metal has turned into a mish-mash of rap, metal and country, the only people carrying the flag of real metal and hardcore are the hardcore bands; and thankfully, out of the view of the mainstream, metalcore and hardcore have evolved into something more intense and powerful than anything played by long-haired ex-hippies who smoke too much pot, and feel that downtuning guitars and swinging their hair around while singing about trite nonsense like "Satan" makes them tough.

While the band hasn't been around that long, they have continuously pushed the envelope between records; they've gotten heavier, and less punk-influenced, but still maintaining their hardcore edge; like Dillinger Escape Plan, they manage to cram so many influences into an ear-bleedingly powerful record.

Can I say one thing? The production is un-fucking-believable. For a band that focuses on the low end, it's remarkable how much you can hear. in "Motionless and White" when the vocalist sings a little, over the churning palm-muted powerchords, you can hear every inflection in his voice, and none of the instruments are lost. Also, in the closer "Dead Rose" when one of the guitarists turns off the distortion to play a haunting melodic passage, you can hear each string ring,

The lead vocalist, credited only as "James" spins vocal cartwheels, alternating between high-pitched screams, growls and eerie singing. The relentless assault of the band itself never stops and manages to create a wall of sound that is both dense, but nevertheless rhythmic. And what would a metal-influenced hardcore band be without spectacular breakdowns? Well, there is no shortage of those. Proving that they aren't married to steady tempoes, the music speeds up to breakneck speeds, and slows down to provide a rhythmic crunch.

That's actually one of the cool points, because something that people seem to have forgotten now days, is that dynamics in music actually increases the intensity of the faster, heavier parts, and keeps the music interesting; screaming over fast guitars and drums isn't interesting in of itself, but dropping into a nice slow breakdown makes those fast bits all the more compelling.

I definitely wouldn't recommend this for most people, mind you, even if you consider yourself a hardcore fan, the level of metal influence in this record does make it a little "out there" for the average earth-crisis-american-nightmare-one-king-down fan, but for those who don't mind a little hardcore with their metal, and can stand a band that doesn't seem to spend an awful lot of time preaching about sXe, would be loathe to pass this one up.