Thursday, 14 January 2021

REVIEW: Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle, "The Helm of Sorrow"

By: Josh McIntyre

Album Type: EP

Date Released: 15/01/2021

Label: Sacred Bones Records


“The Helm of Sorrow” DD//LP track listing:

1). Orphan Limbs

2). Crone Dance

3), Recurrence

4). Hollywood


The Review: 

Thou is really, really good at being a (heavy) alt rock band. This EP, sibling to the full length (“May Our Chambers Be Full”) that came out a few months ago, also shares with it a spirit of the early 90s grunge era. The fusion of Thou’s and Rundle’s thick guitars, dynamic songwriting, extremely tasteful drumming, both clean and growled vocals, and a focus on hooks makes for a sonic ride that I cannot get enough of.

The truth is that this does sound like the leftovers, or b-sides, of the full length project. The truth is also that these tracks are still of high quality. B-sides of one of 2020’s best records still make for a phenomenal EP. Maybe the first song takes awhile to build up, my only real complaint, but then the huge, disgusting guitars come in like a runaway truck ramming into concrete. Our next tracks are just so damn excellent. They drift perfectly from section to section with a display of dynamic taste, versatility, energy, soul, and guitar riffs that Kim Thayil probably wishes he had written. Finally, we conclude with a well executed cover of The Cranberries’Hollywood” where Rundle’s vocals are a highlight. As different as her style is from Dolores’ (RIP) she did a fantastic job and the cover is a brilliant tribute.

Overall, like the full length before it, these musicians combined their efforts and tastes into a phenomenal project of 90s flavored sludgy alt metal. It feeds right into my love of artists like Deftones, Alice in Chains, Melvins, Neurosis, and the like. The songwriting is so catchy and full of flavor that I think anyone who can withstand screamed vocals will appreciate this sound (your dad will definitely say he likes the song “but why do they have to scream?”). I really, really hope that we will see more collaboration albums and EPs in the future. 

“The Helm of Sorrow” is available HERE