Sound: "Vanity" was the excellent eighteen visions release that came between the boulder-heavy "Best Of" in 2001 and the recent melodic release "Obsession." It's full to the brim with ear-catching riffs and plays like a pendulum swinging between styles. While maintaining the heaviness of the "Best Of" album, the melodic in-betweens of "Vanity" like "The Notes Of My Reflection," "Gorgeous" and the album closing, "Love In Autumn" make the album an enjoyable listen. It couldn't have had a better opening than the psychotic, heart wrenching song "Vanity" with off-key melodies. After two more standard 18V songs, "Fashion Show" and "One Hell Of A Prize Fighter" there is the almost punky, humorous song "I Don't Mind" followed by "The Notes Of My Reflection," the first melodic interval. 18V then go on to tread some new ground with the song "A Short Walk Down A Long Hallway" definitely melodic, but not sickeningly so. The song "Gorgeous" is our second interval, an acoustic, sappy lovesong, deliberately contrasting with the terrifying "You Broke Like Glass" which follows. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics take a feminine tone but retain the psychosis and violent mentality of previous songs. True to the albums title, the lyrics continuously challenge pride, vanity and self absorption, as can be seen in "Vanity" with the lyrics, "I want you plastic perfection. I want to see your vanity. I want you sexy psychotic, so I can see your lunacy." This song contrasts between beauty/vanity and unquestioning spontaneous violence, with the lyrics "She's innocent but she's got a gun. She'll hand it over and then she'll run. I'll pull the trigger, yeah. I'll shoot her up, bang."
The following song, "Fashion Show" runs along the same lines and subtlely beats down on people who think looks are everything. This is shown in the lyric "She thought that she could break my heart" and then "This hot pink is way too bright. I'm pretty in pink, and these looks could kill if she finds me." The song "I Don't Mind" while keeping a humourous tone, touches on drug-induced insanity and apathy, and goes "Come trip into my garden, crazy. So you stumbled in. I don't know where to begin. Why don't you pull up a seat? It's time for us to get acquainted." The apathy is shown in the lyrics "Start ripping, start tearing at me" sounding almost like an invitation as opposed to a description of whats happening. The song ends with "I can't get away from what I got. I don't mind."
The song "You Broke Like Glass" seems to be sung with pity and disgust. It opens "Can I get away? Get away from you. Because your broken edge is what told the truth." and continues "Standing, in the corner, you start facing the wall alone. Shaking, you crawl away but by now you've been so consumed." The song climaxes in complete disgust, focusing on the lyric, "And I choke at the sight of you." and becomes almost humiliating for the person, when vocalist James Hart begins to sing "Do you feel fine now?" in a mocking tone. // 10
Overall Impression: The violent retrospective lyrics coupled with the shameless feminine imagery make the album completely original and one which earns a place in any self-respecting hardcore fans cd collection. The best songs on the album are the opener, "Vanity" and "You Broke Like Glass." For me, this is the definitive eighteen visions album so far and the most effort seems to have gone into this one, maybe to help push them into the public eye? There are so many elements to this album that incorporate different genres and even comical asides like, "Why did you kill her?" "she was talkin' s--t." That to call the album plain hardcore, only scratches the surface of what the album is about. // 10