Review Summary: Put on your sister's jeans and white belt and party like it's 2005.
The adage “everything old is new again” is tried and true in the universe of heavy music. Emerging bands are finding success by adopting the brand of metalcore established in the late nineties and early 2000s. Numerous pioneers from the Y2K era of metalcore have attempted or are poised to make a comeback now that the demand has returned. Bands like Still Remains have tried to engage a newer audience only to plunge deeper into obscurity, while bands like Zao have come roaring back into relevancy, pushing the boundaries of the genre even further than before.
Eighteen Visions’ latest offering falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. XVIII
does nothing to push the band’s sound into new territory, but it is a thoroughly satisfying return to form from a band thought to be finished. Eighteen Visions have reformed and created an album that serves as a culmination of the band’s triumphs and at times a healthy reminder of their blunders.
is brimming with punchy, downtuned riffs, gritty vocals, and heavy breakdowns. The album opens with “Crucified,” a blistering reintroduction, churning with pinch harmonics and ear-splitting screams. “The Disease, The Decline and Wasted Time” and “Spit” find the band returning to their zenith by incorporating coarse singing and infectious hooks with low, heavy riffs. James Hart’s gruff singing is a prominent feature throughout the album that serves as a palette cleanser between the shrill vocals and rattling breakdowns on shorter cuts like “Picture Perfect” and “Oath.”
The album’s glaring flaw lies in the band’s over-reliance of this formula. “Live Again” overstays its welcome by forcing a melodic passage in toward the end of the song. “Underneath My Gun” and “Spit” feature banal movie samples that add nothing to the songs and disrupt the overall delivery of the album. On XVIII
, Eighteen Visions bring with them a plethora of metalcore’s tired clichés that prevent the album from being anything more than a fun throwback to a time already passed.
Eighteen Visions does nothing to break the mold on their latest album. Instead, the band offers an enjoyable throwback to the highs of their career with slight lapses into some of the genre’s worn tropes. On XVIII
, Eighteen Visions cultivate an experience that serves both as a reminder of their heyday and a promising return from the grave.