Eighteen Visions' complex, often off-time, blasting metallic hardcore transforms bits of thrash, stomp, and acidic blackness into cohesive, pummeling compositions that occasionally break down and groove. All of their songs contain singalong-worthy bellowing from charismatic singer James Hart, who performs live with tongue-in-cheek pomposity worthy of huge stadiums. The band's flashy image, presence, and flair set them apart from the rest of the metalcore pack, ensuring that the scene stayed vital through necessary and constant evolution.
The band formed in 1996 in Orange County, California, around Hart and drummer Ken Floyd. They released a single and a CD, one of them through a label in Europe, before Racetraitor vocalist Mani Mostofi brought the band to the attention of Trustkill. At this time, the band consisted of Hart, Floyd, bassist Javier Van Huss, and guitarists Brandan Schieppati and Keith Barney, who also performed vocal duties in the decidedly metal Bleeding Through and straight-edge flag-bearers Throwdown, respectively.
This lineup recorded a 7" single for Trustkill as well as the Until the Ink Runs Out full-length album. Released in 2000, the album quickly established Eighteen Visions as one of the big players in the hardcore scene, a position solidified by a summer's worth of touring and high-profile festival appearances. At the onset of 2001, Van Huss left the band, with Salt Lake City native Mick Morris replacing him. The fashionable SoCal straight-edge outfit next re-recorded its old, out of print material and the Trustkill 7" as a brand-new track, and released it as the somewhat ironically titled Best of Eighteen Visions.
Eighteen Visions spent the latter half of 2001 writing material for their second Trustkill album, Vanity, which was released in May 2002, after which Schieppati departed to concentrate fully on Bleeding Through. They followed up two years later with Obsession. The band signed with Epic shortly before the album's June release, but it was still issued through Trustkill. The record garnered the band glowing praise from publications like Revolver and Metal Hammer, the latter of which declared the record Album of the Year. Touring heavily in support, including a Warped Tour run, Eighteen Visions shared nationwide dates with bands like Atreyu, HiM, and Avenged Sevenfold before hitting the U.K. with Lostprophets.
Aiming to take their music to the next level and wanting a "huge sound," their self-titled Epic debut appeared in July 2006; by this point, the band had drummer Trevor Friedrich on board and Floyd was playing guitar. For the time being, however, that album would prove to be the band's swan song. The members of Eighteen Visions simply decided the time was right to move on, and announced their breakup in spring 2007, playing two farewell shows that April in California. But ten years later, the band reconvened in 2017 around James Hart, Keith Barney, Trevor Friedrich, and Josh James and released the aptly named XVIII, their first collection of new music in a decade, via Rise Records. ~ Ryan J. Downey