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CD REVIEW: Molly Zenobia - Wind Chains
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Molly Zenobia
Genre: Gothic
CD Review:
Molly's specialized vocal style is like looking into the hypnotic eyes of a snake. Time flies and suddenly when you reach the end of a track, you don't know where you are. From the bass-piano depths of 'Whirlpool' we are launched into the keyboard caverns of ‘Mermaid’ where many mournful voices reflect themselves from wall to wall, never giving a direction, but beautifully rendering these pictures of either self-enforced solace or a dreamy interpretation of the languid life of bubbly creatures of the deep.

That’s only one brief glimpse into the dramatic personae that is Zenobia. The name invokes witchcraft thoughts, as indeed do the songs. There is a gothic coating here on each of the 14 tunes and 70+ minutes. Sometimes she is ghosting herself with only multi-floating vocals and scale-running piano, as in the pontific ‘Porcelain’. But then she might cloud out her electronic horror movie theme music, like the opening ‘Frozen’ may demonstrate. Freaky, spooky or your dead girlfriend come back to life, Molly is all things to all saints in the netherworld.

From the glorious to the usual, it’s rather hard to guess where we are next taken on our thematic visit thru the dark castle. We might be invited to partake of some ‘Paper Clip’, emerging its rolling acoustic piano and the ever-increasing walk of someone’s bass tub thumping tourism thru candle-flickering halls. We could be induced into the backwards guitar-walk intro of the breath-starting ‘Lullabee’, a haunting melody that takes me back to Psycho II and all things exquisite while at the same time scary.

Whatever mood Molly enraptures us with, she wants you to remember that it is the Voice that makes the peace. I’ve not heard gothic (should you want to call it that) this pristine since Desar and the days of Savatage sparks. On certain tracks, like ‘King Aeolus’, Molly’s voice is so soft you think it just might break, but then she brings in the whole band and gets uncharacteristically angry for a second. However, she is her own character. Like a brilliant foreign film, you can’t 2nd guess her, you can only follow. She may not Wish you to follow, and so will promptly disappear for a moment of song. But she will return. In sweet full force.

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