Eighteen Visions Vanity

The theory that a band's greatness is in direct proportion to the number of times the singer, in this case James Hart, screams "yeah" is still an unproven one - you think Rollins and Rob Zombie made it on their looks? - but if that were the case, Eighteen Visions would the best band in the world. And while Eighteen Visions aren't the best band in the world, even though Hart's "yeah" ratio is off the charts, they are pretty damn good, as is their latest release, Vanity. Despite being seen by many in the underground as metallic hardcore pariahs, not to mention its most serious fashion victims, the swagger, charisma and catchiness that Eighteen Visions infuse in their songs makes them almost irresistible, despite their brashness and cockiness. All style, no substance? The Backstreet Boys of hardcore? If you walk it, you can talk it, and Vanity walks it. Still present are the down-tuned riffs, huge breakdowns and thrash/death/black-inspired metallic moments 18Vs have been cultivating since their inception, just more refined and paced, but increased is its "rock" quotient, coming close to the death'n'roll of old Entombed, at times, while throwing around a host of new influences and numerous guest appearances. Ballads, both power and plain, brief electronic influences, melodic doom reminiscent of latter day Paradise Lost and a near-perfect Axl-singing-"Mr. Brownstone" imitation are all thrown around, and while the nu metal riffing and more overt fixture on melodic to extreme sometimes erroneously recalls Slipknot, it's never less than incredibly charismatic, catchy, rocking and intense. Chock one up for the "vain." (Trustkill)