Last month, it was announced that Louisiana doom metal act Thou and singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle would join forces on a new album, titled May Our Chambers Be Full. The announcement came along with a first single, which definitely leaned on the metal, seemingly to let fans know that this would still be an extreme record. But now, Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle have dropped a new track, “The Valley,” and while this one isn’t as hard as its predecessor, it’s certainly as heavy, if not more so.
To call “The Valley” a ballad is a little unfair. The track is slow, emotional, and less distortion-drenched than perhaps Thou fans are used to. At the same time, the funeral-march drums and haunting, echoing vocals don’t smack of the usual sentimental wailing one associates with a ballad. Instead, this sounds like a dirge, the type of song you listen to as pallbearers lower the body of someone close to you into the ground. That dust-to-dust vibe makes “The Valley” incredibly powerful, and will no doubt lead to some intense thoughts during long drives on overcast days.
“The Valley is a place,” says Emma Ruth Rundle of the track. “A landscape that lacks vistas and perspectives. An analogy for unrelenting, crushing mental illness, physical pain, addiction and the isolation that can arise as a result of these diseases. There is a choice one must make once initiated into The Valley’s fold; to press on living where no hope will ever show itself or to dissolve into its bleak grayness. On the journey, remains of those who came before us and succumbed are visible. Instead of hope, we turn to anger and defiance for fuel and with those we fortify ourselves. The ending doesn’t resolve, but successful escape from The Valley is unlikely.”
Listen to Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle’s “The Valley” below:
Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle’s May Our Chambers Be Full comes out October 30 — just in time for Halloween — via Sacred Bones Records, and is already available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin