Thursday, February 1, 2007

Eighteen Visions - The Best Of

Eighteen Visions
The Best Of...
Sober Minds/Trustkill

Eighteen Visions were such a good band before they decided to sell the fuck out. Their buddies in Avenged Sevenfold are going to help them reach the platinum promised land. This isn’t a case of the little band in my back pocket is too big to fit their anymore, so now I’m pissed because they’re not my little underground secret anymore. That’s never bothered me. I’m as big a fan of Queens of the Stone Age fan as you’ll ever meet.

What bothers me is that I’m always suspicious when bands drastically change their sound prior to signing with a major label. Cave In is the only band I can think of where the style change actually was an artistic move. Usually, it’s a crass business move and this is what I suspect Eighteen Visions of doing. Is their old sound “the real 18V” or is it the corporate rockers?

“The Best Of” is not a greatest hits record, as the title incorrectly implies. Rather, it’s Eighteen Vision’s old 7” material re-recorded for this LP. This is a very clever idea and more bands should employ this tactic, if you ask me. In 2005, Dimmu Borgir did it when they re-recorded the “Stormblast” LP. That record and “The Best Of” provide a band an opportunity to make that early material sound as good as their later output.

In the case of Eighteen Visions, the “No Time for Love”, “Yesterday is Time Killed”, and “Lifeless” EPs get polished here. The new recordings sound great and, if you heard the original EPs, you can tell that the time spent playing together over the years has tightened up this band.

I always liked how Eighteen Visions brought a “fabulous” element to the Earth Crisis/Pantera/Hatebreed/Machine Head style of metallic hardcore. When considering their pre-“Obsession” records, you had a band that could do clean vocals and not sound like pussies. You also had a band that could write devastating breakdowns that didn’t sound like the soundtrack to football practice.

“The Best Of” is a reminder of a time when Eighteen Visions was a deadly hardcore band. This material is also from a period before Eighteen Visions lost band members to Bleeding Through and Throwdown. With that in mind, “The Best Of” is a brutal release by a solid band before they got into bad haircuts and girls jeans.

Finally, I’d like to mention that this LP was licensed to Sober Mind Records from Trustkill. Just like Eighteen Visions, I’m suspicious of Trustkill. When a label stops pressing their own vinyl, that same label attempt to get their CDs into Wal-Mart can’t be too far behind.

Here's Eighteen Visions' video for "Motionless and White" from "The Best Of..."

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