Moving to the current day, a four-track EP spawned and quickly once again rose to be a key piece to the more captivating continuations for both artists’ discography. The Helm Of Sorrow is not just a gorgeous title, it opens with the subtly of “Orphan Limbs” where Emily McWilliams is the lantern in the pale atmosphere. She continues through only guitars and some synths to be as haunting as an apparition but has this harrowing sense of charm that suddenly becomes drowned when Thou enters the ring.
Known for their abrasiveness and endearing production, Thou is a wrecking ball where Emma Ruth Rundle is delicate and allows reprieve where there often is hell. Either physically or emotionally, Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou are punishing especially on the following track, “Crone Dance,” where the instrumentation takes a turn for the familiarity of heavy bass and pulverizing percussion. “Crone Dance” is illustrative and deliberate in its delivery. When the rumbling strings disguised as stabbing pins become a drowning wave large enough to submerge the listener.
And it follows that harsh change on “Recurrence” where the instrumentation is reflective of the greatest parts of both Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou. Thou always manages to destroy any speaker they come into contact with and Emma Ruth Rundle manages to perfectly blend the daunting with the attractive. Much of “Recurrence” is a shouting match into the void where the reverbed strings and percussive progressions become overpowering.
The final track of the 21-minute EP is actually a cover of The Cranberries on their 1997 track “Hollywood” that quickly became the personal standout for the record. Emma Ruth Rundle provides the verse delivery while Thou’s vocal growls and shouts are the choruses. The two artists work in tandem to provide a sweet to the salty, a stone to the soft.
When the instrumental really begins to kick into overdrive, it is one of the moments of conflict where it is both gorgeous and frightening. “Hollywood” tightly secures the best parts of why May Our Chambers Be Full in 2020 and why The Helm Of Sorrow in 2021 was such an exemplary project. Rather than being a split record, the joint cohesion is a new entity of old favorites that continues to impress as time marches on.