Anger. Depression. Loneliness. Angst. These are just a few of the emotions Eighteen Visions will run you through with their major label debut, Obsession. Believe it or not, though, the Orange County five-piece is pretty happy, and frontman James Hart wouldn’t change a thing.

"I actually had a hard time writing this record," says Hart of Obsession. "I was so content with my life that I really had to dig deep inside myself and exorcise some demons."

Make no mistake, Hart’s arduous journey with the band has had its ups and downs, the latter in which much of his lyrics are deeply rooted. A prime example of this appears in "Crushed," a song retelling Hart’s struggles in dealing with paternal abandonment.

"I have two fathers. One biological – who I don’t talk to, who that song is about – and another father who raised me. My real father was never there for me in my life," says Hart. "He kind of shut me out. He saw that I was more of a troubled kid, and I think he just didn’t want to be a part of that."

While some frontmen might shy away from being so open, Hart makes no attempt to hide his lyrical vulnerability.

"I’ve had kids come up to me and tell me about their relationships with their own fathers. How they reestablished [them] or knew how I was feeling," he says, adding, "It’s really special when someone can specifically relate to what you’re talking about."

As out of character as that may seem for a band that sprouted in the fertile grounds of Orange County’s renowned hardcore scene, when has Eighteen Visions ever been what people expected them to be? "Constantly evolving" seems to be the only way to aptly describe the band, and has been since Hart first began writing music with guitarist Ken Floyd in high school.

"Everybody’s really open and we don’t like just one type of music. It really enables us to experiment and try new things," says Hart. "We’re just the type of band that doesn’t like putting out the same record twice and rewriting the same songs."

Having recently made the jump from Trustkill to Epic, they’ve already had to deal with the stigma that signing to a major label equates to "selling out." To that, Hart says, "You’ve got to remember it’s not just about selling records. It’s about being happy and really doing things because you want to." Though he does concede that "to a certain extent, you do have to break a few metal rules."

One of the more obvious broken rules lies in the dreaded scarlet letter of hard music: fashioncore. But leave it to Eighteen Visions to again take the stereotype and revel in destroying the preconceived notions attached to it.

"We look the way we do. Our music doesn’t sound anything like ‘fashion.’ There are rock elements, pop elements, metal elements and hardcore elements. It’s so diverse, it’s hard to pin us with a certain tag," he says.

Just to be fair, Hart, a former Banana Republic employee, insists that their GQ-meets-"Headbangers Ball" style came out of practicality.

"It was cheaper to buy clothes at Banana Republic because of my discount than it was to buy clothes anywhere else," he explains, continuing in a hushed tone, "not to mention there was thievery going on."

Luckily, Hart’s bad behavior more or less stops there. He and all the members of Eighteen Visions are proudly straightedge, with the three giant X’s Hart has tattooed on his chest symbolizing his commitment to the drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.

"I grew up around drugs and alcohol and I saw what it did. I didn’t want it to get in the way of my life or anything I wanted to do," says Hart on his motivation to live drug-free.

Having undergone innumerable changes in their style as well as their lineup, Eighteen Visions has finally found success, with personal satisfaction and self-assuredness that has nothing to do with album sales. Who would have thought all those years ago that this self-proclaimed troubled kid from Huntington Beach would grow up to form a band that would lead one of the strongest musical scenes in modern rock? One thing’s for sure, 18 Visions has earned it.

Obsession is currently available. Eighteen Visions will be playing on March 4 at the Glass House in Pomona. For more information, visit