Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou join forces on the style-crossing May Our Chambers Be Full | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou join forces on the style-crossing May Our Chambers Be Full

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Sacred Bones has been the label home for some of the most hallowed collaborations in heavy music, such as the Body and Uniform’s enduring alliance and the soul-stirring Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky duo outing Droneflower. Baton Rouge upstarts Thou and singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle become the latest artists in that tradition with the sludgy requiems of this month’s May Our Chambers Be Full. After joining forces for a powerful collaborative set (and a slew of Misfits covers) at the 2019 edition of influential Dutch festival Roadburn, the artists have taken their tumult to tape for a seven-track album that barely scrapes the 40-minute mark, packing every song with the utmost intensity. It often crosses the lines between drone, sludge, and 90s alt-rock—but it also taps into more familiar and comfortable sounds. “Monolith” channels early Queens of the Stone Age, while “Ancestral Recall” could easily slip into Rundle’s increasingly bleak and crushing solo catalog. May Our Chambers Be Full foregrounds each partner’s strengths: Thou unleash grungy muck while Rundle refracts heaviness through the prism of her gauzy vocals. While the album is indisputably a group endeavor, Rundle leads triumphant album closer “The Valley”—Thou vocalist Bryan Funck joins in to end the nine-minute song with a climactic yowling demand to move a pyre of bodies “out of my way.” The chambers are indeed full, and they can barely contain the demons that Rundle and Thou exorcise together.   v

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