Emma Ruth Rundle & THOU have revealed the first song off their new companion EP to their acclaimed collaborative LP ‘May Our Chambers Be Full.’ Their verision of The Cranberries’ “Hollywood” is accompanied with a short video titled “Elysian Fields”, directed by Thou’s Mitch Wells, and available for you viewing pleasure below.
The Helm of Sorrow is the companion EP to Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou’s 2020 collaborative LP, May Our Chambers Be Full. It was recorded during the same 2019 sessions that yielded the album, and it includes the project’s cover of The Cranberries‘ “Hollywood.”
The low tuning of her dream-doom guitar riffs evokes the enormity of metal without carrying its thorniest or harshest textures along for the ride. It’s what’s allowed her to tour with epic metal titans like Cult of Luna—whose San Diego tour stop marked the last proper live show I saw before the nation went on lockdown—and still sound like a comparable force of nature even without the armor of a backing band. At their most open and desolate, Rundle’s soundscapes still feel massive. / NewsBreak.com
Stemming out of an offer from Roadburn Festival organizer Walter Hoeijmakers, mutual acquaintances, and a shared love of each other’s output, May Our Chambers Be Full is the first recorded document of collaboration between Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou. While their solo material seems on its face to be quite disparate, both groups have spent their respective careers lurking at the outer boundaries of the heavy metal scene, the artists having more in common with DIY punk and its spiritual successor, grunge.
May Our Chambers Be Full straddles a similar, very fine line both musically and thematically. While Emma Ruth Rundle’s standard fare is a blend of post-rock-infused folk music, and Thou is typically known for its downtuned, doomy sludge, the conjoining of the two artists has created a record more in the vein of the early ’90s Seattle sound and later ’90s episodes of Alternative Nation, while still retaining much of the artists’ core identities. Likewise, the lyrical content of the album is a marriage of mental trauma, existential crises, and the ecstatic tradition of the expressionist dance movement. “Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” Melodic, melancholic, heavy, visceral.
The visual art accompanying this work was created in collaboration with preeminent New Orleans photographer Craig Mulcahy. The faceless, genderless models are meant to emphasize this pervasive state of ambiguity and emotional vacillation, the images falling somewhere between modern high fashion and classical Renaissance.