- Eighteen Visions
Time was, rock and punk were directly at odds, embroiled in denominational squabbles over such ontological issues as fashion, solos, and whether or not colored hair warranted props or an ass-beating. But things change. In 2004, So-Cal quintet Eighteen Visions are the preeminent fashion plates of new-school melodic hardcore, decked out in ties and sport coats (with no shirts underneath). Back in the day, they'd have been treated as pretty boys by longhairs and hardcore kids alike. Now the band least likely to rock is actually the best at it.
As writer Chuck Klosterman rightly observed in a recent Spin, the problem with post-Cobain rock is that nobody wants to be larger-than-life -- not to mention the anemic music. Aaron Lewis and Chevelle don't begin to shred, and even once-great players have been living too well for too long to really put some oomph into their work. Decorated with a big, red heart shape, Eighteen Visions' new Obsession is everything that Velvet Revolver -- the popular but flat hybrid of Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots -- should have been but isn't. The band fulfills certain genre obligations to its scene with the emo-damaged power ballads and metalcore double-bass blasts. But the order of the day is belligerent rippers with breakdowns and handclaps between bawdy riffs. And that makes for a good rock show.