The paths of Emma Ruth Rundle and the band Thou crossed for the first time on the stage of the Roadburn Festival in spring 2019. Between the post-folk artist living in Kentucky and the sludge-metal band from Louisiana, the chemistry must have worked out satisfactorily since a few months later, these nice people delivered an offering on disc. Now we can all see that despite the stylistic differences that separate these artists, there are common points that unite them: a love of raw sound at its most granular, and a natural inclination for greyness and melancholic feelings.
Several musical styles are reflected in the dark waters that this disc reveals before the listener. There are glimmers of black metal, doom, and shoegaze, but surprisingly, there’s a particular debt to the grunge of the early ’90s. On several occasions, the record recalls the more misty songs of a band like Alice in Chains. However, the manner of each of the artists present remains very perceptible in these etchings inspired by the Seattle school. Rundle’s pure and expressive singing, and the anguished cries of Brian Funck – Thou’s figurehead – are happily combined, whether in the passages sung in unison or in the contrasts between them. This is especially true of the ambitious “Ancestral Recall”, which is full of thunder and lightning.
The centrepiece of May Our Chambers Be Full, however, remains “The Valley”, a superb ballad with a sepulchral grace that brings the album to a magnificent close. Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou manage to make the stones cry on this black gem, whose elegiac character is underlined by the violin of Cajun artist Louis Michot.