EP Review

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – The Helm Of Sorrow: EP Review

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou give us another four cuts from their much lauded 2020 collaboration, May Our Chambers Be Full.

Released: 15th January 2021

Label: Sacred Bones

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

When we interviewed Andy Gibbs of Thou in 2020 (read here), we quizzed him (off the record) as to what was contained in the ‘Diehard Edition’ of May Our Chambers Be Full. He wouldn’t say suffice for saying it was a surprise! Well…a few months later and we have that surprise in the form of The Helm Of Sorrow: four extra tracks from these two monoliths of heavy music.

Orphan Limbs is the first track and feels like a game of two halves. Emily McWilliams (long time collaborator) takes the vocal lead with a typically mournful guitar melody accompanying her. Give it a few minutes to lull you into a fall sense of security before obliterating your senses as the entire force of these two acts erupt. Bryan Funck (Thou vocalist) brings the darkness in his vocals as the music pummels.

Pummeling is a characteristic of these two acts, but they batter you in different ways. Thou have a caustic power in their sonic ability whereas Emma Ruth Rundle has a voice so emotional it’s hard not to feel moved with every line she sings.

Crone Dance continues the EP and what is abundantly clear is that this collection of songs is certainly darker. May Our Chambers Be Full was heavy, but this feels darker. The doomy riffs that adorn Crone Dance sound like a slow, spiraling descent into hell.

Recurrence is the final of three original tracks contained in the EP. Whilst immersing myself in this EP I couldn’t help longing for a tour for this album to hear the evolution from the original shows at Roadburn 2019. The power on the recorded material is undeniable but in a live setting , it would be truly jaw dropping. The drumming on Recurrence is wondrous as it enters its final strains.

It’s always fun when bands collaborate on cover versions. Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou show their more playful nature with a cover of The Cranberries’ 1996 song, Hollywood. The song is pretty faithful to the original with the reverb and distortion ramped up. Again, Emma Ruth Rundle’s voice is awash with emotion, and Bryan Funck adds the hard edge to the song vocally.

The Helm Of Sorrow serves as a brilliant bookend to a project that has wowed many people. This EP, along with May Our Chambers Be Full, should be treasured as they represent so many feelings that music can bring to you.

Listen to Hollywood from Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou below. You can read our coverage of this collaboration, here.

Thou: Website / Instagram / Bandcamp

Emma Ruth Rundle: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

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