When two fringe metal artists collide to make their heaviest work.
Stemming from a collaborative offer from Roadburn Festival organiser Walter Hoeijmakers who is a fan of both artists, this album is a saucy bonus that has exploded from the leftfield. Both Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle circle around the edges of the heavy metal scene but don’t quite fully tick that box. Combined though, they bring the guitars out of any shelter and rip the chords a new hole. This is a guttural metal album.
The guitars across the album have a gloomy thick burden to them – like you are dragging yourself through treacle. This makes every single riff powerfully rumble and roar through your speakers. Each note has tremendous weight and that makes every riff razor cut your bones and shake them. Thou’s voice rages and screams with pure emo fire whilst Emma Ruth Rundle balances out the drama with a full-bodied glass of determination. The way their voices combine and spin-off each other is inspired. It wouldn’t be a combo I’d expect to work so well but especially when Thou uses a usual singing voice, they work magically together. The whole muddy surge reminds me of 90’s grunge but a bit heavier.
‘Killing Floor’ opens your ears to exactly what’s on offer and ‘Monolith’ is about as single-focused as the album gets. After that, you are really in the hands of the guitar work and to and fro between the two. ‘Ancestral Recall’ sounds like classic Rundle but the verses are screamo explosions from Thou. ‘Out of Existence’ evokes a dark Chelsea Wolfe death knell before waxing guitar riff after riff at you like a weapon. It isn’t until ‘Magickal Cost’ that there is any semblance of a breath. It is a welcome break up of power but the tone is still decisive, nimble and the smoky guitar makes it sound like the Alamo.
The album closes with nine-minute epic ‘The Valley’. This track runs the entire gambit of everything both musicians bring to the record. It starts off on the quieter end and by the end, you are screaming bloody murder over heavy minor notes that twist that knife into your soul. It is a powerhouse in musical build-up and solidifies a collaboration that is as rousing as it is unique.
Driving, pounding, thrashing and emotionally overflowing – ‘May Our Chambers Be Full’ is a fantastic album that balances beauty, darkness, rage and anguish in equal measure. Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle have merged their talents seamlessly to create a union of sound that will please both fan bases and yet feel distinctive among their catalogues. A fine album to end the witching month on.
Recommended track: Monolith
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