The Baton Rouge sludge metal stalwarts Thou have been hard to pin down stylistically since their inception in 2005. While you could just slot them into the Doom / Sludge metal genre and call it a day, that would be underscoring their creativity. It is not uncommon for their tracks to intersperse crushingly powerful riffs with gorgeous post-rock ambient passages. If asked to think of a band that is able to be beautiful and ugly within the confines of a single song, Thou is the first that comes to my mind. Through a dizzying collection of releases, they have explored many different sounds. In 2018 alone, they released an ambient noise/drone EP, a grunge rock EP, a decidedly not metal alternative rock/acoustic EP, a full length record, and a split with the black metal/doom metal band Ragana.
Thou has released droves of splits with other bands and has done a number of exciting collaborations with other musicians like The Body, and just recently with singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle. Rundle has made a name for herself with a handful of spectacular doomy folk records and an excellent ambient guitar instrumental album, along with contributing guitarwork for Dylan Carlson’s instrumental western epic Conquistador. The collaborative album between Thou and Rundle is called May Our Chambers Be Full, and it was one of my favorite musical releases of 2020.
“Out of Existence” is one of the standout tracks of May Our Chambers Be Full. Rundle’s hauntingly beautiful voice opens the track, situated above the reverberating hum of guitar strumming and protracted drumming. When Thou vocalist Bryan Funck comes in, his wretched vocal rasp is accompanied with an undulating guitar riff that will have you nodding along with enthusiastic approval. Funck’s vitriol recedes into a languid guitar line which slowly escalates alongside Rundle’s vocal ascent. The song culminates with a return of Funck’s scathing pronouncements and that legendary guitar riff.
It is exciting to see Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle, musicians on different ends of the heavy music spectrum, combine their talents. With May Our Chambers Be Full, they have created something unique that feels very much at home within their other work, but distinctly unique. If you like “Out of Existence,” make sure to give the album a listen in its entirety.
Buy the album here.
Buy Thou’s music here.
Buy Emma Ruth Rundle’s music here.