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Emma Ruth Rundle - May Our Chambers Be Full

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May Our Chambers Be Full

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou

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Thou are one of the most beloved sludge bands of the last 15 years and Emma Ruth Rundle is a singer-songwriter who's operated on the outskirts of metal for just as long. Musically, the two have very little in common: Thou make decimating chug-fests and Rundle makes haunting folk with a post-rock twist that's only metal in its emotional grandiosity. However, they still managed to tour together last year and even perform a collaborative set at the legendary Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, so their new collaborative album, May Our Chambers Be Full, doesn't feel completely out of the blue. The actual execution of the record itself isn't all that surprising, either—and that's its most impressive quality. Across these seven songs, the two acts concoct a masterful vinaigrette of bitter doom and silky-smooth post-folk that's so natural that you'd think they've been at it for years.

Logically, there are essentially two vocal approaches to the album. On the transcendent opener "Killing Floor," Rundle's ethereal croon is stacked on top of Bryan Funck's feral growl, resulting in equally holy and unholy unison and the two singers employ an alternating delivery that allows the track to teeter mercilessly between pretty and ugly on the thrusting "Out of Existence". One of the best aspects of the deliriously prolific Thou (who've released over 30 EPs on top of their five albums) is that they've never cared about sticking to one style or form, but generally find their sweet spot when they're rolling around in the muck. With the addition of Rundle, whose own music exudes the soaring majesty of a castle in the sky, everything about Thou gets lifted, and the moments on here that nail that middleground are the most enduring.

"Monolith" moves at a hard-rockin stomp before ultimately tripping into a downtuned tidal wave of riffs that Rundle uses her otherworldly hums to ride out like a boogie-boarder. "Magickal Cost" features a similar tipping point, beginning with beauteous post-metal cleans and then tripping over the edge into a pit of hellish shrieks and black metal guitarwork. The streaming confetti solo in "Into Being" and Rundle's vocal delivery on "Ancestral Recall," which strangely sounds like she's channelling Angel Olsen, are also noteworthy moments, but May Our Chambers Be Full is moreso a body of work more than a collection of individual highlights. For a collaborative debut between two starkly different acts, that's the best one could hope for. © Eli Enis/Qobuz

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May Our Chambers Be Full

Emma Ruth Rundle

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1
Killing Floor
00:06:46

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

2
Monolith
00:03:23

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

3
Out of Existence
00:03:42

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

4
Ancestral Recall
00:03:54

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

5
Magickal Cost
00:04:10

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

6
Into Being
00:05:16

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

7
The Valley
00:08:58

Emma Ruth Rundle, MainArtist - Thou, MainArtist

2020 Sacred Bones Records 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

Album Description

Thou are one of the most beloved sludge bands of the last 15 years and Emma Ruth Rundle is a singer-songwriter who's operated on the outskirts of metal for just as long. Musically, the two have very little in common: Thou make decimating chug-fests and Rundle makes haunting folk with a post-rock twist that's only metal in its emotional grandiosity. However, they still managed to tour together last year and even perform a collaborative set at the legendary Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, so their new collaborative album, May Our Chambers Be Full, doesn't feel completely out of the blue. The actual execution of the record itself isn't all that surprising, either—and that's its most impressive quality. Across these seven songs, the two acts concoct a masterful vinaigrette of bitter doom and silky-smooth post-folk that's so natural that you'd think they've been at it for years.

Logically, there are essentially two vocal approaches to the album. On the transcendent opener "Killing Floor," Rundle's ethereal croon is stacked on top of Bryan Funck's feral growl, resulting in equally holy and unholy unison and the two singers employ an alternating delivery that allows the track to teeter mercilessly between pretty and ugly on the thrusting "Out of Existence". One of the best aspects of the deliriously prolific Thou (who've released over 30 EPs on top of their five albums) is that they've never cared about sticking to one style or form, but generally find their sweet spot when they're rolling around in the muck. With the addition of Rundle, whose own music exudes the soaring majesty of a castle in the sky, everything about Thou gets lifted, and the moments on here that nail that middleground are the most enduring.

"Monolith" moves at a hard-rockin stomp before ultimately tripping into a downtuned tidal wave of riffs that Rundle uses her otherworldly hums to ride out like a boogie-boarder. "Magickal Cost" features a similar tipping point, beginning with beauteous post-metal cleans and then tripping over the edge into a pit of hellish shrieks and black metal guitarwork. The streaming confetti solo in "Into Being" and Rundle's vocal delivery on "Ancestral Recall," which strangely sounds like she's channelling Angel Olsen, are also noteworthy moments, but May Our Chambers Be Full is moreso a body of work more than a collection of individual highlights. For a collaborative debut between two starkly different acts, that's the best one could hope for. © Eli Enis/Qobuz

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