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 down tuned, 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.