Saturday 12 December 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle, "May Our Chambers Be Full"

By: Josh McIntyre 

Album Type: Full Length   
Date Released: 30/10/2020 
Label: Sacred Bones 

“May Our Chambers Be Full” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Killing Floor 
2). Monolith 
3). Out of Existence 
4). Ancestral Recall 
5). Magickal Cost 
6). Into Being 
7). The Valley

The Review:

What a pairing! Seriously. Emma Ruth Rundle has been releasing fantastic album after album since starting her solo career with her brooding, atmospheric post-rock post-pop. Thou meanwhile have been one of the most acclaimed and consistent DIY metal bands for the past fifteen years. Both have been some of my favorite active artists for a long time now (I’ve seen each live almost every chance I’ve gotten) so naturally I’ve been greatly anticipating this collaboration record.

The results? One of the best albums of the year. The simplest explanation is that these musicians were able to come together and merge their respective sounds incredibly well. We have it all: heavy downtuned riffs, luscious vocals mixed with screaming, catchy melodies, and most importantly a sense of cohesive unity. Easy comparisons can be made to peers in King Woman and Chelsea Wolfe (especially the Hiss Spun album) but this album actually comes closer to classic early 90s grunge/alt rock if we really dig in. We can’t be surprised, of course, as Thou have numerous (and I mean numerous) covers from these bands and Emma’s love for Smashing Pumpkins is well known.

It just feels so natural, too. Perhaps the best aspect of that old grunge sound was that bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were inspired to be both heavy and melodic, both punishing and catchy. It’s like headbanging in a weighted blanket. It just feels good, nevermind the melancholic aspects of the music. This is what it sounds like when musicians collaborate because they respect each other and share common interests. They didn’t have to do this, they wanted to.

“May Our Chambers Be Full” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: The Phantom Carriage, "7-Year Epilogue"

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: Full Length 
Date Released: 14/08/2020 
Label: Throatruiner Records

“7 Year Epilogue” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Free at Last 
2). Every Second Holds a Life
3). A Tribute to Those Who Stand Still 
4). Old Tales, New Thoughts
5). Deeper, Lower 
6). The Fate
7). One Last Time

The Review:

France's The Phantom Carriage return from an extended hiatus with the incredibly ambitious “7 Year Epilogue”. A melding of genres and emotions, The Phantom Carriage really get the chance to spread their wings and let the creative juices flow.

With notes running the gamut of black metal, hardcore, and screamo, The Phantom Carriage show off a bit of everything in a great big crust punk cauldron here. The styles flow in and out of each other seamlessly, allowing for unbroken concentration on the stories being told by each song.  I'm tempted to note a bit of a black gaze thing going on, but I think this group moves beyond that trend. The melding of the generally cold hardcore and black metal influences with a very emotional lilt creates an immediate connection with the listener. It grabs hold of you and refuses to let go.  I do not believe that I've ever heard such catchy melodic hooks on a crust punk album before.

The raw emotion found pushing the musical delivery is the real star of the show on this album. The band does an amazing job of conveying an aura of dread and despair.  Vocally, The Phantom Carriage features a wide range, all leading back into the emotive product. There's anger here, but also fear and pain. It's a well-rounded picture of the story that is being told. 

The Phantom Carriage have a winner on their hands with “7-Year Epilogue”. It checks all the boxes for this reviewer, being a heavy, emotionally robust piece. I say check this one out.

“7-Year Epilogue” is available HERE


Band info: bandcamp || facebook