EIGHTEEN VISIONS – Eighteen Visions

Back in the 80’s hard rock reigned supreme, with hair bands dominating the charts and arenas with anthemic rockers and “monster power ballads.” Image was key and many of the bands spent as much time, if not more, perfecting their look and appearance over writing strong albums. Twenty years have past and with heavy music coming full circle, it was inevitable that teased hair, make-up, and sappy-relationship driven hard rock might also return, and it does so in ample servings with the release of EIGHTEEN VISION‘s self-titled major label debut. “Our Darkest Days” opens things up with big vocal harmonies and choruses, while musically sounding like a second-rate knock-off of any number of Devin Townsend songs. Things don’t improve from there however, as the band piles on cliché after cliché. They lift every trick in the hard rock handbook in the process both musically and lyrically with “1-2-3-go’s,” “Yeahs” and “Whoahs” peppered throughout the album. “Victim,” “Burned Us Alive” and “Black and Bruised” may hint at dark sounds and subject matter, but the listener is instead treated to safe, predictable formula with risks and chances avoided at all costs. Thematically, the songs all depict some form of wrong suffered, back stabbed or heartbroken to the point where you might wonder if singer James Hart or one of his band members is in desperate need of a hug or perhaps a box of tissues. Lyrically, the band lays it on thick and sweet as on “Last Night” with Hart singing, “You meant the world to me and I know that we will be together in the end forever baby.” The fructose content is also extremely high on the bubble gum pop DEF LEPPARD rip-off, “Brokenhearted.” From there on out, the sugary goo just keeps flowing at such a continuous, monotonous pace that by the time the listener arrives at the big finale, “Tonightless,” syrup will practically be oozing out of the stereo speakers. Not recommended for diabetics, fans of interesting music or original ideas. (Sony Music)

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