, particularly with airplay for the I Let Go and Waiting For The Heavens videos on both Headbangers Ball and Fuse. But for the band, who have developed a diehard international following with three explosive indie albums (Until The Ink Runs Out, Lifeless, Vanity) and a blistering live show, Obsession turned out to be both an ending and a beginning, closing out its early days while pointing the way toward its evolution.
We listened to the last record and realized there were a lot of elements that we liked, but needed to be taken to the next level, says Hart. Everything is intensified here the hooks, the melodies, that dirty, driving rock sound. We took an arena rock approach on a lot of the songs, including old-style gang vocals. The goal was to make everything sound huge.
They nailed their target with EIGHTEEN VISIONS, a blast-furnace mix of searing riffs, sharp melodies and rich lyrical images. At the heart of the albums volcanic sound is Hartan expressive vocalist who lends emotional depth to songs that slash and burn. The record offers endless highlights, including the stunning and hook-ridden lead single Tonightless. Ken (Floyd, guitarist) wrote that while we were making Obsession, says guitarist Keith Barney. We didnt think much about it at the time because we didnt need any more songs for that album, but you could hear that it had a huge hook. He brought it back to the table for this record and we all agreed that it had to be on there. Its a little psalm I wrote after getting stood up, muses Floyd. I was really hurt and lonely and defined those feelings as being tonightless. I have trouble communicating my emotions without a guitar and that night really affected me. Its also the only song Ive ever written about a girl. James did a great job of playing with the lyrics and translating the personal to the universal.
Musically that song is a bit different for us, adds Hart. But we didnt want to hold anything back with this record. Everyone was encouraged to contribute, whether they brought something that sounded like Goo Goo Dolls or Cannibal Corpse. No matter what the idea, it would get listened to and worked on. The progress evident on Tonightless and several other new songs convinced producer Machine that he had to work with the group, who, likewise, were willing to take a chance with him. We talked to a lot of producers, and we knew Machine had done some metal and hardcore records that we liked, but we were going for a big rock album, explains Barney. The other guys we talked with were cool, but they didnt have the drive. When we sat down with Machine, his enthusiasm was just over the top. He understood us and our goal, and he wanted it way more than anyone else.
According to Hart, the producer was key in helping him achieve his personal goal of becoming a better singer. I wanted to establish my own style, so it was really important for me to strengthen my voice and project different tones and inflections. Machine was a huge help in getting me there. Harts ambitions are reflected throughout the entire album, which is easily Eighteen Visions most diverse selection of material to date. The most distinct example of the groups desire to push at the boundaries of heavy rock is the rhapsodic Brokenhearted, an intoxicatingly bittersweet song about lost love. The title tells it all, says Barney. I wrote it about an ex-girlfrienda five-year relationship that didnt just end badly, it was a life-changing event.
Hart admits that everyone in the band was originally afraid of the song. It was almost scrapped because it was such a departure from anything Eighteen Visions had ever done, but the more we worked on it, the better we felt about it. At the other end of the spectrum is Victim, which incorporates a healthy amount of Eighteen Visions precise, relentlessly aggressive metalcore foundation. We finished that one a week before Machine came into the picture, recalls the vocalist. It has a vintage rock vibe in the verses and a big, in-your-face feel in the chorus. That song turned out to be a monster. The singer also points to Last Night as another new favorite, calling it Eighteen Visions rock throwback ballad. But its subject matter was hardly the stuff of standard slow tunes. I was in a very, very dark place when I wrote that, says Hart. There was a death in the family, which was something I had never dealt with before. Its a very important and emotional song for me.
Having whittled some 30-odd songs down to 12, Eighteen Visions worked on both coasts to record the albumfrom the legendary Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles to the producers own Machine Shop in New Jersey. And now that the record is finished, the band is eager to play it live for fans this spring, summer and beyond. The self-assurance that explodes out of EIGHTEEN VISIONS has extended into the bands entire vision for the project. I see really big things for this record, says Barney. Weve been getting a lot of positive feedback and it feels like the planets have aligned for us. Were totally excited about how it came out and cant wait to take it on the road. I think its gonna be fucking huge.