Internal calamity, suicidal tendencies, imaginary reality, and separation anxiety. EMZY ENZY is such a unique project, and this album, Verzion is unique in so many ways I couldn’t describe them all. It’s a tale of overcoming trauma, battling personal demons, and taking responsibility for your own life, regardless of the circumstances.
After a long hiatus, due to the unfortunate death of founding member and guitar player Dustin Johnson; Caleb Straus (vocals, guitar, programming, bass, samples) resurrected the project along with William Douglas (Upright, bow, and slide bass, fretless bass, backup vocals) and Chris Burch (live guitar and synth) to release the third album Verzion through his production company Snout Productions. This is the first album since Dustin’s passing, and written and visualized under EMZY ENZY without his input.
In the words of Caleb, Verzion deals with an unnamed protagonist who is wrestling between two parts of his psyche “The AWditor” (voice of reason, judgment, usually a beacon of positivity) and Verzion (a defensive and destructive persona that he has created as a trauma response). The album is essentially about the two voices warring in his head as he tries to make his way back to his most authentic self.”
Verzion plays literally like a movie soundtrack, telling this story. It takes you through the dialogues between the characters. The lyrics reflect the struggles, and the music changes tones and personalities, alternating from the individual, and the dualistic characters expressing their desire to be the one to live, while destroying the other. They exist solely within the mind of the main character, who reflects this struggle with references of his overwhelming need to become “whole” again, or just put an end to it all, and himself. He’s fighting internally, contemplating suicide, and the pain of the mental disconnect is so overwhelming it feels like he’s dying, and in order to “recover” from the trauma or split, one of them has to die, or they have to reunite in some fashion, which would in essence kill them both. There’s plenty of blame to lay, from the main character, the trauma itself, and even God for the intense suffering.
EMZY ENZY touches so many genres musically, despite it being classified as industrial. Everything from old school garage band, jazz, lounge music, and classic movie soundtracks that would be found in works by David Lynch. It’s also influenced by some of the greats like Skinny Puppy (misspelled words are a tribute to that), Nine Inch Nails, and Ministry.
If you’re anything like me, and can relate to the story and these references, then Verizon is sure to please. If you only check out a few tracks to get a feel for EMZY ENZY before diving in, I would highly recommend “Remembering a Brighter Place (Always)“, and the video for “Angels” shown below.