Inside the Reunion of Metalcore Pioneers Eighteen Visions

Photo: Travis Shinn

BY Bradley Zorgdrager Published Jun 1, 2017

Exactly ten years to the day since their then-final show, Eighteen Visions officially announced their return with a bang — revealing their forthcoming release, XVIII (out June 2 on Rise Records) and dropping a bomb in the form of crushing track "Oath." But the process to the revitalization of these Orange County, CA metalcore pioneers actually started half a decade prior.
In 2012, guitarist Keith Barney wrote a series of 18V demos, one of which vocalist James Hart sang on, prompting a conversation about maybe getting the band back together. Unfortunately, momentum fizzled due to Barney's budding career as a graphic designer, his bandmates' professions and a desire to not have to force anything.
"I was of the mindset that I don't want to be the guy who has to push everyone into doing this," Barney tells Exclaim! "I want everyone to give the same amount of effort, you know? Because I wasn't pushing quite hard enough, it just never — it kind of dragged a little bit, and then it wasn't materializing."
Momentum slowed further when longtime bassist Mick Morris (known to fans as MickDeth) died in June 2013, and rumours of a reunion fell silent; that silence would be broken years later, literally, in drummer Trevor Friedrich's car.
The skinsman was cruising around with his roommate, Mick Kenney of Anaal Nathrakh (also a prolific producer), when the aforementioned demo — now entitled "The Disease, the Decline and Wasted Time" — came on randomly. Kenney's interest was piqued by the revelation of an unreleased 18V song; the producer's response, according to Barney, was "This is fucking heavy, you should let me record this.
"In the beginning, really we were just going to do a few songs, then of course it turned into the idea of doing an EP, and then it just snowballed."
The timing worked out for everyone but guitarist Ken Floyd, who couldn't commit due to a hectic schedule as tour manager for Zedd. This left the band as a trio in studio, though they knew they wanted another member live.
Enter Stick to Your Guns guitarist Josh James, once a member of Evergreen Terrace and Casey Jones, who came by the studio to check out the vibes his friends were creating. He landed himself a slot as second guitarist live, and made his debut in the "Oath" music video without so much as a practice.
That performance clip is also indicative of the band's live plans with regards to a bassist — or lack thereof — and the fitting reason why they made that call.
"We decided on not having a bass player and running bass tracks, as kind of an ode, an homage, to Mick. We just set up bass gear, set up a bass and have a little candle — we purposely leave that as an empty space."
Check out the video for "Oath" below.

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