1. Our Darkest Days 2. Victim 3. Truth Or Consequence 4. Burned Us Alive 5. Black And Bruised 6. Broken Hearted 7. Pretty Suicide 8. Coma 9. The Sweetest Memory 10. Last Night 11. Your Nightmare 12. Tonightless
I'll call a spade a spade right now, right here. This album from Eighteen Visions is the BEST hard rock release since Guns 'N Roses fired up "Appetite For Destruction". If you want to argue that point then obviously you have never heard this record. This is against the grain, balls to the wall, melodic rock and roll, loud and proud with no apologies and no regrets. This is the album I've been waiting for, with this coming from a talented group of youngsters who understand hook, thought provoking lyrics, and a good sense of melodic structures without substituting heaviness. Vocals? You couldn't ask for a better singer in James Hart. His voice is the perfect caliber and tone for this style of music, never branching off into harsh 'core vocals or growls. Nope, this guy stands in line in the same fashion as Tesla's Jeff Keith, with a real clean register that can hit high notes and deliver some downright mean passages.
The former hardcore act completely revamped their sound for this sonic assault, a blistering rock and roll affair that has the basic anthem styled chants of mid-eighties Def Leppard with the bombastic heaviness of Machine Head. Eighteen Visions has released several hardcore records but really started to shift into a more heavy rock act with their last record "Obsession". That record is similar to this new venture but is lacking in leads, a much needed extra dimension for most rock acts. With this new album the band really took the great parts of "Obsession" and added more dimension, character, and drive. Here you will find complete clean vocals from Hart, some ripping leads, and a mature songwriting approach.
The album is still very much in the brutally heavy vein of modern Overkill, Machine Head, and Lamb Of God, with production duties coming from Machine (Lamb Of God). The production gives this top notch studio performance a lift on the drums, really creating that heavy handed arena rock sound of the eighties, but done with much more power and authority. The guitars are down tuned for the stomp riffs and polished super clean on the melody parts. The end result is exactly like I said before, Tesla meets Machine Head.
I just can't stop crankin' "Pretty Suicide", with it's heavy groove passages and Hart's addictive vocal range. The chorus sounds like Def Leppard circa "Pyromania" with some soaring leads throughout. The band released their first single with "Victim", a good rock anthem that has a sing-along styled chorus that for me, personally, is probably the weakest portion of the whole album. The group also recorded a video for the track which has been shown on "Headbanger's Ball" numerous times. "Black And Bruised" is a monster, top to bottom. Crushing stomp riffs run through the song with the chorus parts really sounding like Tesla circa "Bust A Nut". It may sound like an odd combination but believe you me...it works damn well. "Truth Or Consequence" and "Coma" are fantastic mid-tempo barn burners while "Tonightless" works like a real radio friendly modern rock affair. Interesting enough is the track "Broken Hearted", which sounds like a power ballad from the Firehouse camp. The band also checks in with a really diverse opener, "Our Darkest Days", which is backed with some keyboard arrangements and some really cool vocal patterns that are very much like European AOR. This band is just killer on anything they attempt to do.
Bottom Line - Again, the best hard rock album since "Appetite For Destruction". This record, along with In Flame's "Come Clarity", has completely re-invented the hard music genre. Two very important records that will inspire a new generation to come.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details