Ensign is a hardcore punk band from New Jersey. The band was formed in New Brunswick, NJ by Chris Ross (drums), Walt Svekla (bass) and John Fraunberger (guitar) in 1995 and self-produced a demo. In the search for a new vocalist, they found Tim Shaw who was a roadie with Sick Of It All, a band in the New York Hardcore scene. The band went to California and signed for Indecision Records and in May, 1996 released a self-titled 7" four track EP. After this, Walt Svelka and Chris Ross departed and were replaced by Nate "Edge" Gluck (ex-Strength 691, Vision) and Ryan Murphy (ex-Undertow) respectively. In 1997 the band released Fall from Grace
, another four track 7" EP. John Fraunberger then left the band to take up a teaching degree, but not before recording material for the first full-length album, Direction of Things to Come
which came out in November, 1997. Fraunberger was replaced on guitar by Ryan "Mackenzie" Donoghue as the band took to the road. In 1998, the band decided to cast their net further and sign for Nitro Records which had a larger distribution network. Also in 1998, three live tracks appeared on an Indecision Records 7" Devil's Night
, with other artists from the label–the remainder of the live set would later feature on the Three Years Two Months Eleven Days
While on tour in Ireland, Ryan Murphy decided to leave the band and was replaced by John "Vince Vegas" O'Neill. Before touring Europe in 2000, Ryan Donoghue left the band which, although was on very good terms, left the band with a situation. Nate solved it by employing Chris Oliver for bass duties on the tour, teaching him along the way, while taking up the guitar duties himself. In June, 2000, the band recorded four tracks in New York for an EP called For What It's Worth which was released in October 2000. They also recorded two tracks which would end up on a Split 7" EP with Death By Stereo released by Indecision Records in December 2000, and a further two tracks which were released on a split 7" with Reaching Forward on European label, Reflections Records.
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