PICK OF THE WEEK: Rundle, Thou combine their immersive forces on ‘May Our Chambers Be Full’

Photo by Craig Mulcahy

When I was a kid, my friends and I would go on and on about what would happen if Jason Vorhees from the “Friday the 13th” series battled Freddy Krueger from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise and what that would be like. The bloodshed! The horror movie high spots! The victims that suffer along the way! Of course, when we got it, it was … meh.

Still, a meeting of powerful forces is what we get in musical form when Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou met up to create “May Our Chambers Be Full,” a seven-track collaborative record that brings them together into a singular expression that feel likes their union is cosmic. By the way, this record is a million times the superior of the “Jason vs. Freddy” movie, but it’s Halloween and all of that. That thought of major powers meeting remains relevant though as putting these two together on paper seemed like a really captivating idea, but in execution, it surpassed even what we held in dreams thinking about this album. Rundle and Thou—vocalist Bryan Funck, guitarists Andy Gibb, KC Stafford, and Matthew Thudium, bassist Mitch Well, drummer Tyler Coburn—create their own world here. This is not Rundle singing over a Thou record; this isn’t Thou pounding into an ERR creation. This is an experience only possible through DNA from every member mixed and allowed to fully realize their combined vision.

“Killing Floor” starts with guitars rising from ashes before the track bursts open, and Rundle’s voice leads the way. Funck plays more of a back-up role here as his growls complement the singing, while the chorus trudges on, and Rundle calls, “Move your body from this place.” The voices then switch roles as shrieks scrape, and the gaze burns off, leaving scorched earth behind. “Monolith” is crushing and clobbering from the start as Stafford takes lead, adding their dusky tones to the mix. The pressure keeps building as Stafford’s singing swelters, with the back end picking up filth, and the track mauling on its way out. “Out of Existence” is sweeping and dreamy as it blossoms with Rundle’s voice floating above the chaos, and then the bottom drops. Funck’s growls tear through guts, feeling animalistic as the playing matches. A deep fog opens and covers with thickness while moody leads lean in, Rundle’s voice powers, with the track ending in a sound warp. “Ancestral Recall” starts Rundle opening the track before the growls swallow serenity whole, and the guitar work spirals and mystifies. Rundle whips back in and she and Funck join in true duet mode, blood streaking clouds, letting the intensity fill your chest with emotion.

“Magickal Cost” starts rusty and like something that crawls out of the evening dusk, a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Rundle’s solo albums. Guitars echo and moan as the sun sets and splashes oranges and purples across the sky, and then the ugliness rears its head as Funck digs into the center, with guitars glimmering. The drums hammer as the dual vocals mash together, leaving a power surge in soft echo. “Into Being” starts in a hush with Rundle’s singing mixing with Funck’s harsh tones, with strings drizzling honey over hell. The crunch arrives with the chorus lighting up the night while the leads take off and blaze, charring the ground and evaporating into the mud. “The Valley” ends the album, and it’s a monumental track, an 8:58-long rush of emotion that makes your heart cry out. Strings swell as Rundle’s singing slithers into the murk as she calls, “The fear of giving up is in the valley.” Drums echo as the violin slowly melts, feeling like it’s about to wither away before the power is charged up. Rundle and Funck join swords, giving their words two different textures and perspectives, causing you to quake where you sit as souls are destroyed, hearts diced and splattered.

Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou coming together already felt like a dream from a parallel universe, but “May Our Chambers Be Full” is even more immersive and magical than anticipated. The fact that both these forces meld together so well feels like they were meant to create as one, and every moment of this record should have you wondering if your heart and ravaged body can take anymore. This may be ERR’s and Thou’s first full journey together, but I really hope it’s nowhere near their last.

For more on Emma Ruth Rundle, go here: https://www.facebook.com/emmaruthrundle/

For more on Thou, go here: http://noladiy.org/thou.html

To buy the album, go here: https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/collections/releases/products/sba007-emma-ruth-rundle-thou-may-our-chambers-be-full

For more on the label, go here: https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/