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Emma Ruth Rundle|Engine of Hell

Engine of Hell

Emma Ruth Rundle

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2020's May Our Chambers Be Full saw Emma Ruth Rundle and Baton Rouge sludge enthusiasts Thou spin doom, gothic rock, post-grunge, and icy black metal into a potent and unforgiving opus. Rundle's predilection for pairing ambience and opulence takes a back seat on Engine of Hell, a stark and stormy set that pairs everything down to the essentials. Rundle's songs are both remarkably compelling and uncomfortably immersive, stripped of their cavernous reverb and dark finery. Opener "Return," one of a handful of piano/vocal cuts that evoke the austere beauty of Little Earthquakes-era Tori Amos, sets the tone with a harrowing meditation on existential angst. Rundle switches to guitar for the commanding "Bloom of Oblivion," which tackles themes of addiction and self-worth -- "Down at the methadone clinic we waited/Hoping to take home your cure/The curdling cowards, the crackle of china/You say that it's making you pure." Elsewhere, the softly fingerpicked and deep-seated "Razor's Edge" tries to soften the discord between fate and free will, while the hushed closer "In My Afterlife" manages to find catharsis amidst all of the melancholy and midnight ruminations that preceded it. Peppered with the occasional backing vocal or the ghostly drone of strings, the eight-song set feels less like an "unplugged" session and more like the world's most intimate house show. Rundle has tempered her sweeping post-rock cinematics with lyrical vulnerability in the past, but Engine of Hell is a braver and bolder beast, as it lays bare the soul of its creator and dares the listener to reckon with it.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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Engine of Hell

Emma Ruth Rundle

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1
Return
00:05:16

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

2
Blooms of Oblivion
00:05:38

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

3
Body
00:05:26

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

4
The Company
00:04:10

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

5
Dancing Man
00:05:22

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

6
Razor's Edge
00:04:10

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

7
Citadel
00:05:38

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

8
In My Afterlife
00:05:00

Emma Ruth Rundle, Composer, Writer, MainArtist

© 2021 Sargent House ℗ 2021 Sargent House

Album review

2020's May Our Chambers Be Full saw Emma Ruth Rundle and Baton Rouge sludge enthusiasts Thou spin doom, gothic rock, post-grunge, and icy black metal into a potent and unforgiving opus. Rundle's predilection for pairing ambience and opulence takes a back seat on Engine of Hell, a stark and stormy set that pairs everything down to the essentials. Rundle's songs are both remarkably compelling and uncomfortably immersive, stripped of their cavernous reverb and dark finery. Opener "Return," one of a handful of piano/vocal cuts that evoke the austere beauty of Little Earthquakes-era Tori Amos, sets the tone with a harrowing meditation on existential angst. Rundle switches to guitar for the commanding "Bloom of Oblivion," which tackles themes of addiction and self-worth -- "Down at the methadone clinic we waited/Hoping to take home your cure/The curdling cowards, the crackle of china/You say that it's making you pure." Elsewhere, the softly fingerpicked and deep-seated "Razor's Edge" tries to soften the discord between fate and free will, while the hushed closer "In My Afterlife" manages to find catharsis amidst all of the melancholy and midnight ruminations that preceded it. Peppered with the occasional backing vocal or the ghostly drone of strings, the eight-song set feels less like an "unplugged" session and more like the world's most intimate house show. Rundle has tempered her sweeping post-rock cinematics with lyrical vulnerability in the past, but Engine of Hell is a braver and bolder beast, as it lays bare the soul of its creator and dares the listener to reckon with it.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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