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Music Review

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May Our Chambers Be Full


Artist: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou
Label: Sacred Bones Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 October 2020

Sacred Bones Records releases May Our Chambers Be Full, the first recorded collaboration between Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou. The former is a blend of Post Rock-influenced Folk music, the latter down-tuned Doom/Sludge. Both see themselves on the edge of the Metal scene – together DIY Punk and Grunge. They got together after an invitation from Roadburn Festival organiser Walter Hoeijmakers, acquaintances and a love of each other’s output. The cover art was created by New Orleans photographer Craig Mulcahy. The theme of the album explores mental trauma, existential crises and the ecstatic tradition of the expressionist dance movement. Visceral melancholia. “Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” The album is available for download or streaming...

A rakish rumbling opens the proceedings with 'Killing Floor'. It is atmospheric and hints at melody, before breaking through to a slow-paced simple Rock piece with a difference. Slightly husky female vocals are joined in the chorus by background growled male vocals. This is a track that you grow into, gradually becoming comfortable with the format. Having said that, it fails to change or evolve – just rolling along. It’s an enjoyable, dreamy song, but a tad too long. 'Monolith' has a heavy and low fuzz riff joined by male vocals which sound bizarrely like Gary Numan. The growled vocals come and go, as does a brief acoustic break. This may be a simple structure but it’s significantly more interesting than the opener. Furthermore, it refuses to outstay its welcome. We steam straight into 'Out of Existence' with no form of intro. The female vocals sound vaguely Pagan, and the growled vocals get much more of an outing. There is a crackling, buzzing guitar solo which still manages to sound somewhat sad and emotive. Another good one.

For 'Ancestral Recall' there is much more of a fuller sound around the opening. The drums are much better employed. A mix of Goth and Doom is the order of the day. Clean and expressive-growled vocals work well together – even though the clean ones at times turn a little weird. Nevertheless, it is a better balance of vocal styles. The growled vocals for this are particularly effective. 'Magickal Cost' has an almost Prog Rock beginning, but with guitar producing small amounts of fuzz and feedback. The quiet is blasted away by a much heavier style and the rasping voice, which is comfortable in its surroundings. There is a Celtic edge to 'Into Being', with stilted female vocals. When the full band sound is engaged both sets of vocals sing together and individually. All of these songs have a simple format, but are interesting all the same. Whether this can sustain repeated plays remains to be seen (or heard!). An out of time sequence enters the fray to take it back to the main chorus.

We conclude with 'The Valley', and it’s no surprise that the longest track is the final one. A slow and melancholy opening with faint touches of fiddle take us to an earlier age. Atmosphere is aimed for here but not quite reached. The last two minutes of the nine are taken-up with an overdriven heavy version of what has gone before. It then fades back to its simplest form. The album is an intriguing experiment which works in part. I could certainly live more with Thou, I think, as my tastes lie more with Metal than Folk music.


Ty Power

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