Eighteen Visions returns with the follow up to their 2017 self titled comeback album with the Inferno EP. The EP focuses on the concept of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The metal and Metalcore genres are no stranger to exploring this, as Sepultura and many others have explored this; but more notably Zao’s Liberate Te Ex Infernus became kind of a benchmark for this concept. Considering a lot of those albums were in the past, here the band puts their own stamp on this.
Before we get into this, I have to point out where some well deserved congrats go, as 18 Visions’ own Keith Barney Self Produced, but mixed and mastered the release on his own. This is super noteworthy because who better to understand the sound of his band than him? It’d be a crime to not point out how great of a job he did with this. While it could be clearly a coincidence of his experience, he managed to make a very unique production that is very faithful to the Eighteen Visions sound, which isn’t any more than a fan could ask for.
Speaking of the sound, well let’s not beat around the bush here. The last few years we’ve heard bands like Code Orange, End, Vein and more basically do exactly what Eighteen Visions did back in 2002, albeit to less scrutiny than Eighteen Visions ever had. The fact the band ever returned with this signature sound is pretty great on it’s own right. There’s very little deviation from the formula that made albums like Vanity, Until The Ink Runs Out and even their last self-titled album, and that’s a huge bonus for fans.
Let’s get to the point. The EP is everything you’d ever want from the band, slamming early 2000’s metalcore with heavy guitars and James’ distinct vocal styling. While it’s not addressed on the liner notes, I’d assume Keith handled the bass tracks as well. The reason I’ll bring attention to the bass tracks is they’re very much done in the spirit and style of their departed bass player Mick Morris; adding in a ton of grit and bringing in some heavy synth overtones that had appeared on previous albums Mick played on. While it’s not clear how much input Josh James had here, it’s just great knowing he contributed to this and should be commended for his ability to adapt to so many different styles considering his other bands/projects. Trevor also did a great job with the drums as he’s done throughout his contributions to the Eighteen Visions discography
I’m just going to assume the majority of this album’s instrumentation was largely driven by guitarist Keith Barney; and it’s some great songwriting in general. They’ve continued on with the drop-A tuning they employed on the last record, and it helps provide a nice sleek evil feel to the album’s concept. Speaking of the concept, even if you didn’t know much about the ‘Inferno’, James does a great job personalizing the lyrics to a point you don’t really get distracted with the concept overbearing your listening experience. In terms of vocal delivery this album serves as a great reminder how your personality can shine through showing listeners a confidence and swagger that’s always awesome to hear. We all knew James had this in him back on ‘Vanity’ and it’s still just as potent as it was 18 years ago.
Notable Tracks: Sink, The Void, The Perils of Sin