Since their inception in the city of York in 2016, UK metalcore’s InVisions have set a terrifying pace of work rate with their third full-length Deadlock, released this past Friday, February 11th, via Narrative Records. We caught up with guitarist Lucas Gabb and vocalist Ben Ville to discuss the album’s influences, its trio of singles and videos released thus far, and where they see their future in the UK metal scene.

On the album’s forthcoming release, Ville admits that he’s feeling “Nervous. mate, it’s come around really quick, going from announcing it to where we are now. All our days have fallen into one so it’s come out of nowhere really. Nervous, but ultimately very excited.”

Gabb adds “Yeah, man, It’s getting super exciting in our camp right now, there’s a lot of stuff going on. The couple of weeks running up to the release is where everything spearheads and things are getting a little bit crazy which is super exciting – we’ve been working on it for over two years. It’s a long process, we’ve gone from being in a recording bubble unable to think about the fact it would be coming out, to now it’s actually coming out, and it’s being super well-received so far which is exciting.”

As far as musical influences go, a few come out throughout our conversation, but when pressed on specific artists going into Deadlock, Ville won’t be pinned to anything too specific. “I’ve got a bunch rather than focusing on one person; I like to progress myself rather than imitating someone else. In terms of clean vocals, Tyler Carter (ex-Issues, Woe, Is Me, solo) straight away (comes to mind); he’s unreal with his control, even his sound is just phenomenal. He’s a really really great vocalist. In terms of screams, I don’t really have anyone that I try and imitate or that I wish I could do that, I just do what I can do.” Gabb interjects, “Although Lorna Shore have got you pretty excited at the moment though, hasn’t he?,” with Ville building, “Yeah, Will Ramos. He is so good, he’s ridiculous, on another planet at the moment.”

Gabb reels off a few direct influences more easily. “Musically for me, it completely changes. In terms of lyric writing, it’s people like J. Cole and Mac Miller who are rappers. (For) guitar playing, Wage War, Polaris, Periphery, I just love a good riff mate, you can’t escape the riff.”

This leads our conversation nicely onto touching on what the guys’ favourite riff is on the album. Gabb goes straight in. “I love the main riff from ‘Deadlock,’” with immediate agreement from Ville. In terms of describing it, Gabb says, “I wrote that riff and I knew that was the space we wanted to be in on the album. It’s not the prettiest of riffs, but it’s just heavy, it’s bouncy, but sludgy, and when it kicks, it’s like getting hit by a train at seven million miles an hour, which weirdly sounds less fun than it is.”

As for the favourite lyric, there’s a differing opinion this time. Ville attempts to begin with his favourite, but in a moment of recollection, Gabb jumps in to go first. “My favourite at the moment is from the song ‘Last Light’ purely because it was written about something quite strange; it was written about a Billie Eilish documentary, about seeing her thrust into this world of enterprise yet being so young. There was a standout moment in that documentary where she was told to go and do all of this stuff but was feeling like, ‘Can I just have a minute to be human?’ That’s where this lyric came from: ‘Tell me who made the measure, cos it’s a lonely place to live forever.’ I was quite happy with that one.”

Ville’s remembered his by this point and shares “That’s a nice one mate, that’s a good one. Mine’s, “And when you’re falling apart, just fall with me” (from ‘Fall With Me,’ the album’s emotive closing track). That one just hits different, it’s something where if you’re feeling shit, or you’re low, there’s other people around you to help you. So you’re never on your own – that’s up there for me.”

Some of InVisions’ prior releases would give some of the aforementioned rappers a run for their money in terms of profanity, and when quizzed on this Ville initially shares his thoughts.

“We actually had a discussion about that to be fair. We feel like we wanted to sound a bit more mature with our music and grow more as a band.” Gabb builds “We already have as people. Over the last two years, our whole lives have completely changed; I’m sat here with a furry kid next to me (a dozing cat, not a hirsute child). It was just a natural progression with the band and also a conscious shift. Ultimately, we want the songs to last a bit more, we don’t want to be that tagline band, that good line before a breakdown, but as soon as the next band is around you aren’t there anymore. It’s therapy as us for musicians writing music like this, and the biggest respect to other people who maybe take something different from it.”

Ville expands further; “I think that’s the direction we went with it; we wanted to write something that meant a lot to us but also that people could latch onto it in their own way. That’s what extends the shelf-life of it, so it has a long-lasting meaning that people can always go back to.”

Gabb adds, “It’s difficult with metal, with so many bands and so many albums, to write something in metalcore (that lasts). I’m guilty of it myself that I’ll listen to something and think, ‘This is amazing,’ then listen to it six times then never go back. The albums that we go back to are now ‘old-school’ albums from when we were growing up; albums like Stand Up And Scream, Reckless & Relentless (both Asking Alexandria), Killswitch Engage albums, Bullet For My Valentine… I think the difference is that those albums had more of an emotional impact. When you’re younger you do latch onto things because you’re discovering more about yourself, but that was what we wanted to do on this record and make something more timeless. It felt a bit more special to us, and seemed the right opportunity when we weren’t playing shows to be more vulnerable and look at parts of yourselves that you’ve maybe not before.”

Artwork for the album ‘Deadlock’ by InVisions

So in terms of the goals for Deadlock then the ultimate one is making something that stands the test of time? Ville answers “Absolutely,” before Gabb adds, “For me personally, and I think all the guys, we listen to the record and we feel like it’s a journey. It starts off one way, and by the time it’s got to the end you’ve had so many ups and downs, particularly the way the album closes it makes you go, ‘Oh wow, I want to go back and re-listen to that,’ because it gives you a fresh perspective on everything else. So for anyone listening to the album, start at the beginning, finish at the end, thank us after.” Thankfully both laugh when I share that listening from start to finish isn’t the most groundbreaking way to listen to a record.

Back in December, the band did a ten-date run across the length of the UK, playing during a time when many restrictions were lifted but people became more cautious about going back into public life. Gabb starts, “It was wicked but touring during COVID is weird.”

Ville jumps in to add, “It was a lot of fun, but it was one of those things where COVID is making its rounds again so inevitably we saw a drop off towards the end in terms of people coming, but people still turned up and made it a really good experience and a lot of fun for us. I think we’ve now got to get used to doing COVID tests every morning.”

Gabb shares, graphically, “The sounds coming from our van in the morning when we’re all doing these throat test things, honestly it’s not a pretty sight and I’m sure we got some questionable looks in car parks as they’re walking past.”

Ville shares further, “It was a lot of fun and it stoked the fire even more for us, with it being two years out of touring it was refreshing, and it made us realize that this is what we want and all we want, and we’re going to do it until we get it.”

https://youtu.be/9uC0G36EBIs

Our conversation took place prior to the two album release shows being announced, so when asked if there are plans for touring anytime soon Gabb mentions, “We’ve got some stuff in the pipeline. With everything as it is at the moment we’re being a bit more fluid, holding our cards a bit longer because we want to see what’s actually going to go on. For bands of our stature, the best thing we can do is be supporting other bands to help grow ours, and the issue at the moment is that although the UK is a bit more back to normal with the touring circuit, everyone who comes to the UK tours Europe as well so until Europe is a bit more stable there’ll be a lot less bands coming across. But we’ve got some stuff in the works, probably some stuff we’ll be announcing fairly soon, and any chance we get we’re going to be out across the UK, across Europe as soon as that’s a possibility again, and we want to take this album to places we haven’t been before, maybe more international places and we’re working on making that happen as well.”

Three singles have been released prior to Deadlock coming out, with the first being the impossibly catchy “Annihilist” that I share was caught in my head as soon as I heard it. “That was the plan with that one!” Ville says.

In terms of what experiences inspired the lyrics Gabb shares initially, “That track was quite inspired by what we were feeling going through the pandemic. We’re watching what we’ve worked so hard to build effectively falling apart in front of us and that’s where it stems from; there’s only so much you can sit there and feel sorry for yourself and take a constant battering that eventually you’ve got to say ‘fuck it, just let it burn.’ That was an accumulation of us all sitting in our group chat getting fed up and miserable at having to put what we’ve been working hard for, our lives, on hold, and having this music element of our identity taken away from us. And then trying to find out who we are without that.”

“And it wasn’t much,” Ville builds. “We are toilet people without music,” Gabb closes with.

Following “Annihilist” is “D V P E,” pronounced ‘dope,’ which I get wrong with a stab at ‘dupe’ the first time.“ The V’s purely for branding” Gabb clarifies. The video sees the band underwater at times replete with instruments as they smash their way through one of the album’s heaviest tracks.

On whether the guitars were salvageable Gabb shares, “Surprisingly, they still work completely. One of them we held a competition for and that’s gone out to a fan in Southampton, we signed it and gave them the guitar. Me and Alex (Scott, the other guitarist) were in the tanks separately for 15 minutes each, which was nothing compared to how long Ben was in there for. Fifteen minutes can do significant damage to paint on guitars apparently, it was cracked around the edges, but all the electronics worked fine when they were dried out. The strings haven’t even rusted. I was genuinely quite surprised because I thought it was going to be a total write-off. They’re not what you’d call A-stock but they still work!”

Ville shared on his personal Instagram when the video came out that its filming wasn’t entirely easy for him. He builds on our call, “It wasn’t too bad to begin with, it was when we were doing the fill-up shots where the water’s gradually rising. We all shot the full tank before that which was warm water, it was like having a bath. Then we had to drain that water so we could do the shots with it filling up and my God it was FREEZING. It was horrible! I still had to try and make it look cool, but it was extremely cold. The box was six foot tall and about ten feet wide, and we had to put a lid on it as we couldn’t have any light leaking in. So the water’s shooting in at my face, it’s freezing, and then as it starts to come up, panic attack central… I couldn’t breathe.”

Gabb shares more, stating “All the while you’re trying to hear music as well over gallons of water flowing in, so you can sing along to this tune – it’s probably the closest you’re going to get to being in the Titanic.”

Ville then added, “I just heard Chris (LifeIsArt Visuals) who was shooting it start shouting ‘GET HIM OUT, GET HIM OUT’ from being unconscious. It was cold, and after that I was just sad. Worth it though, you’ve got to do it haven’t you.” Gabb remarked, “It was the first video we shot as well and I bet you were thinking, ‘Holy shit, if they’re all like this we might have a bit of a problem.’”

The beatdown at the end of the track is somewhat reminiscent of the incendiary closing to the previously mentioned Lorna Shore’s “To The Hellfire,” so I have to press whether it was a direct influence. Ville shares, “I actually remember the conversation, ‘D V P E’ was (written) before it. It had the breakdown at the end, and Lucas went, ‘fuck it, I’m going to slow it down again,’ and that was where that stemmed from.”

Gabb shares more about Ville’s performance on the track, “You’re quite known for low screams, and it’s quite funny when we go on tour and people ask ‘are those low screams real?,’ then they’ll hear Ben do them in soundcheck and go ‘WTF.’ That song is definitely a bit of a vocal flex for you. We recorded that video on the 1st of January, 2021, and that was the first song we finished vocally for the album. We started doing the vocals something like September 2020. It’s been long.”

The most recent track and video to be released was the title track, “Deadlock”. The band had previously shared that lyrically it was inspired by writer’s block, with Gabb sharing, “It was definitely to help get out of that situation. Like Ben said, we had this thing where we don’t want to write about the things we used to write about, we need to make this active change.”

Ville corrects, “It was an accidental change, we never sat down and said we need to change what direction we’re going or we need to change how we write songs or what we write them about. I think it was because we’ve grown up, and because COVID sparked the change, if you will, it was never an intentional change.”

Gabb reflects, “When we were picking songs that we wanted to play in sets, we were picking those that were more meaningful from previous albums, and those were the songs that made an impression on us, so thought those are the ones we need to focus on more. With ‘Deadlock,’ that was one of the first ones to write vocals for, and we tried so many different things but nothing was working. When you can’t create, or you’re being your own worst enemy putting yourself in a hole, you get so frustrated and it’s shit. Any creative person will vouch for that and they’ll have been there, it’s the worst thing because it’s directly connected to how you feel emotionally. If you can’t create, then what are you doing?”

“I spent ages trying to write something, then when I stopped over-thinking it that first line came out which is so true, I’d already spent two or three days already trying to write this song and nothing had happened. ‘I’ve wasted time, wasted my own sanity, at home in hell I am my own worst enemy.’ After that it just flew, that was the whole point, stop being overly precious and judging yourself, just express how you feel. That set the tone of how to go about the album, to not necessarily try and do anything cool but just to be honest with how you’re feeling – have a bit of a look inside because COVID gave us a lot of time to do that.”

Closing our conversation, we discuss how they see the future of InVisions compared with other stalwarts of the UK metalcore scene such as Architects, While She Sleeps, or Bury Tomorrow. Gabb quickly jumps in first, stating, “Hopefully on a massive fucking tour with them, that would be sick!”

Ville builds, observing, “There’s plenty of bands out there that you could class as competition but we never really look at it like that, we look at it more like them growing and ruling the roost and think, ‘sweet, we want to do bits like that.’ We never see it as ‘maybe we should do what they’re doing,’ we’re trying to fly our own flag.”

Gabb builds more; “We want to be peers, as you say we look up to these people and are inspired by them, and I think it would be nice to have the opportunity to play some shows with even half those bands you’ve mentioned and get to share our appreciation and brush shoulders with them. At the end of the day, with every musician I think it’s 50 percent luck and 50 percent talent and a lot of these people just appreciate music. So, to have conversations with people like that, or even the opportunity to collaborate with guys like that, I think we’d fit right in. I’d love to play with Bullet. That would be a real dream come true.”

Gabb closes, “I think another step with this album, is that it’s not meant to be in small venues – the songs have the ability to be transferred into larger venues and bigger audiences, and that’s what we’re hoping for with this album and beyond. Into arenas and bigger stages, well maybe not arenas, my guitar’s wireless wouldn’t work!”

Ville closes with, “I think it could take us there. I’d love to brush shoulders and get to know (those bands), get an insight because anything they can say with what they’ve done is going to teach us something – I’m down.”

Deadlock is now available with a broad range of physical copies and merch available, as well as wherever you get your music digitally.

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Death Metal Accountant