Last time I checked on in Envision, the Florida band had just dropped the A World Unseen EP on the site. Almost one year later, I've kept the record in regular rotation, so when drummer Lennon emailed me about premiering their debut LP a few weeks back, I was all over it. "Since dropping the 7", we played a good handful of hometown shows and then hit the road for our first tour, which started at FYA Fest with an aftershow and then went up the East Coast with Restraining Order as far north as Buffalo," Lennon told me via email. "The tour was an amazing experience.
"Some of the members of Envision are younger and this is their first or one of their first bands and they've never been on tour before, so being with them and seeing their excitement and enthusiasm about being on the road playing shows and seeing all these places was really refreshing. A lot of people thought it was weird that we'd tour with Restraining Order since their sound is pretty different from ours, but that's exactly what we wanted. It was a fantastic mix and we're all about unity between different styles of hardcore so the tour embodied that pretty well for us. Right when we got home we got cracking working on the LP which came together pretty quickly!"
In that aforementioned feature, Lennon told me the following about Envision on the A World Unseen EP: "We took influence from all over the place, including groups like Tension, Outspoken, Unbroken, and Spawn... and tried to make something a little different than what we’d done in our other bands.” I love that while there’s definitely a heavy metallic vibe to the material on their EP, there’s also this moody—dare I say—emotional thing happening at its core. So, what kind of direction did he and Envision take with this new material?
"For the new record, we made a conscious effort to be a little less derivative. Now that we've got a demo and a 7" out that people have heard, we felt like it was time to really take our influences and make it more of our own thing instead of being something that's so easy to pinpoint to a certain sound or band. We still took inspiration from all the bands whose influence was present on the 7", Outspoken, Spawn, Unbroken... but mixed in some other stuff. There's a lot more Strongarm influence, which I think you'll hear on the LP.
"Other influences include early Bane, bands like Kingpin and Temperance... even stuff like Metallica, especially their songs that are a bit more melodic. That's definitely where that 'metal while also moody and emotional' thing you mentioned comes into play, and I think it's safe to say that some of the bands I listed that we take influences from were heavily informed by those Metallica songs as well. We kinda just wanted to take all of the stuff about that era that we love and mash it together while making it still sound like one cohesive record, and I'm really happy with the result."
As clear as Lennon's description of its style is, how about we all listen for ouselves? Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the premiere of Envision's debut LP, In Desperation...
When he's not playing drums in Envision, Lennon fronts Ecostrike, a hardcore band with a clear lyrical point of view. He gave me some background on the lyrical approach on the In Desperation... songs: "I think while Ecostrike and Envision tackle a lot of the same lyrical content, we go about it in very different ways. Ecostrike lyrics are a little more straightforward while Alfredo (who sings for Envision) is really good at writing stuff that is a bit more obscure in its meaning. It gives you a little more to dig into and think about. You might not know what he's getting at the first time through with some of the songs and have to spin the record and read along a couple times. I'll say too, while both bands are straight edge bands and have straight edge songs, that's the absolute main focus of Ecostrike, where Envision will take a couple songs to cover that and then use other songs to cover more personal/emotional topics."
I also asked Lennon about some of the musicians who helped inform his drumming style in Envision. "Sammy Siegler (Youth of Today, CIV, Rival Schools) is a huge one, as well as Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy, SECT), and Dennis Merrick (Earth Crisis). I know this is going to offend some people but definitely Lars Ulrich from Metallica. People love to talk about what a shitty drummer he is but I think he gets a bad rap and its undeserved. When I was a 13-year-old first getting into drums, I was obsessed with Metallica and his drumming was different than the other bands I was listening to. Weird, off-time snare hits, fills that kinda sound like they're falling apart and then come together again at the end... That kind of stuff is really cool and stands out to me and has definitely impacted the way I play drums."
Lennon then explained the process behind the making of the In Desperation... cover art. "The layout was a collaborative effort between a lot of the band. Alfredo and I came up with the idea for the cover. He came to me with the photo of this statue and explained what it meant and how it tied in to the title and theme of the record, I came up with the idea of tearing up the photo of the statue and laying it out, and then our bass player Mikey took it and worked his graphic design magic on the rest. The rest of the layout we came up with and put together while we had down time at the studio while recording the LP."
In Desperation... will be released via Plead Your Case Records, a label owned and operated by Lennon himself. It looks like once the LP is in stores, I'll have a chance to see Envision here in the Los Angeles area: "We're hitting the West Coast later this year with Ecostrike and Magnitude. Envision and Mag both have never been out there, so that's really exciting and should be a great time. After that just gonna try and push the record and represent straight edge, veganism, and hardcore to the best of our ability!"
Pre-orders for In Desperation... are up now via Plead Your Case Records.