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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 performed 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, CA, around Hart and drummer Ken Floyd, the only original members who remained a part of the Eighteen Visions lineup to the end. 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 perform 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 their old, out of print material, 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 and 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 declaring 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. That album would prove to be the band's swan song, however. Eighteen Visions simply decided the time was right to move on and announced its breakup in spring 2007; their final two shows together were played that April in California.
Eighteen Visions was an American rock band from Orange County, California, United States, that formed in October 1995. The band broke up in April 2007, less than a year after their major label debut was released through Epic and Trustkill Records.
ContentsHistory1.1 Beginnings1.2 Rise of success1.3 The era of Obsession1.4 Mainstream success1.5 Break-up1.6 Post-Eighteen Visions
Eighteen Visions was founded in October 1995 by James Hart, Dave Peters, Billy Sisler, and Kenneth Floyd under the name "Macabre". The band wrote a bit of material and started to play shows, beginning at the "Koo's Cafe" in early 1996, in their local area. Soon after a second guitarist, Jeff Boullt (from Excessive Force), was added to the mix, and in March, Billy left the group and was replaced by Richie Taylor. Richie only lasted a short while, and Javier Van Huss soon took over the bass duties. Later in the year, Jeff also left the band, and Brandan Schieppati was added to complete a first stable line-up.
Their debut release, Lifeless was released on Life Sentence Records in 1997. Shortly after, Dave Peters left the band to join Throwdown. Steve Parilla replaced him for the ep's tour, and rumors of the band breaking up started to circulate, but were soon halted when the first full length album, Yesterday Is Time Killed was announced to be released on Cedargate Records (the label of Zac Phelps, who was at the time a temporary bassist in the band) in February 1999. The band was brought to the attention Trustkill Records, which was still in its early beginnings. The label released the No Time for Love 7" in October 1999. Keith Barney then joined the band to replace Steve and ten months after the 7", their second full length Until the Ink Runs Out was released. It became one of the label's best selling albums, which led to a lot of the band's earlier material getting bought out and going out of print. Javier was asked to leave the band after touring for the album, and was told he would be replaced by Mick Morris of the band xClearx. Javier played two remaining shows with the band and went on to tour for Poison the Well.
Rise of success
For their next album, The Best of Eighteen Visions, the band re-recorded some of their earlier material, some of which was out of print, with the addition of a new song, "Motionless and White". Trustkill and the band felt it would feel much more like a new record, rather than re-releasing the two previous albums on the label. Despite raw production where mistakes weren't always edited, the album was a vast improvement in production values. This would mark the beginning of the band's tentative approach to more melodic hardcore, rather than their older metalcore approach.
They went on to record Vanity in 2002, which, while still containing heavy breakdowns, metal riffs and odd time signatures, featured better production work, and bits of melodic vocals in nearly all of the songs, complete with hints at balladry with the songs "Gorgeous", an acoustic piece written and performed by then-drummer Ken Floyd, and "Love in Autumn", the album's closer. While the fanbase grew after this release, this was the last album to feature guitarist Brandan Schieppati, who left the band in order to handle full-time vocal duties in metalcore OC band Bleeding Through. Eighteen Visions went on to tour for Vanity as a four piece. A video was made for "You Broke Like Glass," which played in heavy rotation on MTV2's Headbangers Ball.
The era of Obsession
After touring, they went into the studio to record Obsession with producer Mudrock. Material was equally written by Keith Barney and Ken Floyd, who not only played drums, but also played guitar on a fair amount of songs. Dramatically changing styles, the album showcased a new sound that was much more accessible to a wider audience, featuring hard rock riffs, but also an arena rock feel to it, with less complex song structures and a much more diverse and melodic range of vocals.
The band then went on a worldwide tour as a supporting act for bands like HIM, Lostprophets and Killswitch Engage, with Ken Floyd switching to second guitar, and Jason Shrout (later replaced by Trevor Friedrich) being added to the band's line-up for all drumming duties. The songs "Waiting for the Heavens," "Tower of Snakes," and "I Let Go" were released as singles on USA and UK pressing and had videos made for them. The album went on to sell a disappointing 200,000 copies, which is twice what the previous record had sold, but was still not enough to break the band into the mainstream.
Obsession went on to be the band's last album for Trustkill Records, after they signed a contract with major label Epic Records for their next effort. Obsession would become Eighteen Visions's most successful album and would give them their new sort of depressive/apathetic image, which would prove hard to be rid of.
Now a solidified 5-piece band, Eighteen Visions went into pre-production with producer Machine and 32 demos to work on. On July 18, 2006 they released their self-titled major label debut, which featured slick production, anthemic choruses à la Def Leppard, dark industrial electronic programming and all-melodic vocals reminiscent of the then-current hard rock trend successfully embraced by fellow OC band Avenged Sevenfold. Although a video and a promotional ad campaign had been made for the radio friendly song "Tonightless" (which was a leftover from the previous album writing session), the band decided to scrap it all in order to go with the more hard-rocking "Victim," supposedly against the record label's will. Still, a video was made for "Victim," with little effort from Epic to promote it, even though the song was featured in the WWE Vengeance (2006) pay-per-view event.
Witnessing album sales not taking off and dropping off the Billboard 200 after only one week, the band embarked a variety of tours to promote the record, as a supporting act again. They played opening slots for Avenged Sevenfold, Coheed and Cambria, Hinder, and Bullet for My Valentine, among others.
Even though the catchy power ballad "Broken Hearted" was released to radio stations and managed to get some airplay, no video was made, and the album ended up as a commercial flop. Even though the number of total sales has not been made official, it is widely rumored to have ended below the 100k bar.
In 2007, while still playing a few shows in Australia and posting daily MySpace bulletins asking fans to request "Broken Hearted" on the radio, band coverage, press and blog updates started decreasing considerably, leading fans to believe the band had been dropped by Epic Records, though no official word on that has been released. This also led to break-up rumors, which were soon confirmed. On April 9, 2007 bassist Mick Morris confirmed the band's breakup on MySpace through this statement:
"After several years of touring and quite a few album releases we have decided that it is time to go our separate ways. We have been a band for a very long time and feel good about everything we were able to accomplish. At this point in our lives and our careers we feel its time to move on to something fresh and new. Whether it be music, touring or just being at home to live and enjoy life. We would like to thank all of our fans, friends and families for all of the great support over the years. We would also like to thank all of the bands we have shared the stage with and everyone who has ever worked with the band, opened a door or reached out a hand. We will be playing our final two shows in April. One in San Diego and one in Orange County. Come rock with us one more time."
While the break-up might have appeared somewhat abrupt, frontman James Hart stated on his MySpace blog that this was not the case on July 13, 2007: "18V had been a band for 10+ years, [...] it just got to the point where we all had different goals and ideas for the band on a musical and touring basis. We all felt it was time to move on to something fresh and new."
Trevor Friedrich was hired by Eleven Seven recording artist Sixx:A.M. for the "Accidents Can Happen" video. He is now the drummer in the band Never Enough with Eighteen Visions' Keith Barney on guitar. He also drums for the industrial acts Imperative Reaction and Combichrist.
Keith Barney also recently joined hardcore band Monument to Thieves. He also joined California hardcore band Love Thyne just before they officially disbanded.
Ken Floyd is currently working on a new wave band called Hi-Deaf.
Mick Morris joined Hatebreed on tour, doing tech work. He also launched Dethless Clothing, held a popular weekly updated eBay store, and modeled for several clothing lines. Morris stated that he would be willing to have an Eighteen Visions reunion if the other members were willing to. This never came to fruition, however, as Morris died on June 3, 2013.
Hart has been working with former Nixons frontman Zac Maloy on a project named Burn Halo. Maloy's previous collaborations include songwriting credits for Chris Daughtry and Bowling for Soup, among others. Keith Barney and Avenged Sevenfold lead guitarist Synyster Gates appear to have also contributed to the project, which has evolved from a solo project into a full band. Burn Halo signed to Island Records, but after the album was completed in early 2008, Island elected not to release Burn Halo’s debut, leaving Hart with the tough job of finding a new home for his project. Burn Halo’s manager, Bret Bair, formed his own label through Warner Music Group, Rawkhead Rekords, to release the record. Burn Halo played their first ever live show, opening for Avenged Sevenfold on December 9, 2008 at Ram's Head Live in Baltimore, MD. The band released their debut record on March 31, 2009. Burn Halo's first single, Dirty Little Girl, is available on iTunes, courtesy of Synyster Gates. Burn Halo's second CD was released in 2011."Eighteen Visions breaks up". Lambgoat.com. April 9, 2007. "EIGHTEEN VISIONS Calls It Quits". Blabbermouth.net. April 9, 2007. "Former EIGHTEEN VISIONS Bassist Dies". Blabbermouth.net. June 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-03. "Ex-Eighteen Visions / Ex-Bleeding Through Bassist Mick Morris is Dead". MetalSucks. June 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-03.