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Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou’s May Our Chambers Be Full is the perfect marriage of the grime and the sublime

Post-rock chameleon Emma Ruth Rundle and sludge metal boundary-pushers Thou team up on brilliant left-field collaboration

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou: May Our Chambers Be Full album cover
(Image: © Sacred Bones)

Thou diving headfirst into collaborations isn’t a new thing. They’ve done numerous integrative works with The Body, but eyebrows will crook in the direction of this creative collision. Emma Ruth Rundle is mostly known for her folksy post-rock output and teaming up with the Baton Rouge bashers seems askew. Initially, anyway. Despite still sounding like a band chained to the bottom of the ocean, Thou have issued a bevy of recognisable covers and morose acoustic works over the years and Emma is nothing but a daring chameleonic force. The result is unanticipated and stunning, as May Our Chambers Be Full summons the angelic, throaty wisp of Emma’s voice and integrates it with Thou’s stacked chord calamity to open a portal to the 90s.

Tracks like Monolith and Ancestral Recall combine Emma’s airy husk with Bryan Funck’s banshee rasp to invoke the tender groan and boisterous below of Seattle city square monument hopefuls Kurt Cobain and Chris Cornell, respectively – not to mention the accessible melodies playing alongside the sledgehammering that deliver passing similarities to the bands those gentlemen fronted. Killing Floor could be an outtake from Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses with aquatic bass and frizzy walls of guitar laying simple, yet anthemic, chord progressions and setting a seething table for forays into a vampire baritone not unlike Peter Steele’s. When the collaboration pulls back from the pummelling chords and creepy Black Hole Sun-inspired note walking, what remains in a track like The Valley is a world of brief ambient noisescapes in which Neurosis and Nine Inch Nails are at the head of the keyboard-swelled table.

This collaboration sees its principle figures not only bringing their talents to the table, but stepping outside expectation for a surprising push into sonic shape-shifting and a greater melodic good.