Zvi – Zvi
It often seems like there are a crucial notes wrapped inside clanging ones that form the chords that form the world of Zvi; it feels immediate, each discrepancy between harmony and disagreement an emotional devil’s advocate and mature understatement. This is a form that shouts no feeling is without an underpinning of its opposite and no joy goes without doubt. This quality is one that also made So Is The Tongue, a New York avant-metal project, feel as punk as it was esteemed. New Kayo Dot material (the benchmark of true quality in heavy music) has also benefited from this precise confusion. I guess because it’s honest.
The common thread in both those bands is of course the work of Ron Varod, a fantastic guitarist who is fully immersed in the role of solo singer and songwriter here on his project Zvi. The bracing violence of titles like “You Knew Then & Did Nothing” and “Enjoy Your Remaining Years” feel like declarations from some unmade, wonderful Lars Von Trier film. Explored vocally with a dynamism akin to Jonah Jenkins , Varod pushes as much force into a lull as he does screams in “You Swindled Me”. All the vocal elements feel on the precipice of restraint, each inflection in a time loop of the precise moment the fall is taken. This wisdom gives composure to what could easily be mistaken for chaos, grounding the material always in composition, care, and hard-won artistry. It’s why metal can be taken seriously
I really like all the songs on Zvi and Varod has shared a truthfulness of feeling over the temptation to reinvent the form. The music is by nature experimental but immediately understood and lucid. Closer “Enjoy Your Remaining Years” has that hypnotic live feeling of anything could happen whereas “I Never Had A Choice” feels careful and methodically explored in the form of a recording (from enjoyably fuzzy prog to sensitive genuineness). Appealing to any fan of the various genres offered by this East Coast scene, Zvi stands also as a portrait of a musician and his understanding with the listener.