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      Emma Ruth Rundle / Thou

      May Our Chambers Be Full

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      May Our Chambers Be Full sees Louisiana sludge metallers Thou and Kentucky post-rock singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle team up for an evocative seven-song set that stands at the nexus of doom, gothic rock, post-grunge, and black metal. Both artists excel at conjuring cinematic swells of brooding ambiance, and while Rundle has thus far avoided any forays into traditional black metal, her icy post-folk/metal compositions have always hinted at the genre's predilection towards windswept despair. Those two worlds collide on the seismic opener "Killing Floor," a lush and lumbering slab of doomy shoegaze that's lent extra heft by the discordant dovetailing of Rundle's and Thou frontman Bryan Funck's disparate voices. It takes a moment for Funck's demonic rasp to find its footing, as Rundle's expressive croon establishes itself early on in the proceedings, but when it does, the effect is almost Wagner-esque in its dark eminence. Thou have always had one foot in the gray skies of Seattle, and there are moments on May Our Chambers Be Full that channel the serpentine minor-key melodies of Alice in Chains, most notably during the opening moments of "Out of Existence" and "Into Being." Rundle's frosted clean vocals provide a sort of true north throughout the proceedings, often breaking loose from the torpor and rising above the din to command from a more celestial perch. Nowhere is that more thrilling than on the monolithic "Ancestral Recall" and the lush and expansive "Magickal Cost," the latter of which pairs the sludgy melodicism of Torche with the Albion folk of Sandy Denny. For all of its epic grandiosity, May Our Chambers Be Full only clocks in at a mere 37 minutes, but in doing so leaves a more indelible impression.

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