Ruby the Hatchet – Planetary Space Child (Tee Pee Records, 25 August 2017)
I’m putting the finishing touches on writing this article during breaks between watching Philadelphia’s hockey team getting demolished during the first game of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Entirely by coincidence, that city (a place whose biggest claim to fame is striking a beloved holiday character with snowballs) happens to be the home base of psychedelic ensemble Ruby the Hatchet. But I’ll implore you not to hold that against them.
As you may recall, we wrote about this band’s 2012 debut album Ouroboros when it was reissued back in 2016, and then last summer we mentioned that they would have a new album out soon. Today we’re discussing that album, as RtH prepare to head out on a whirlwind tour of the country over the next few weeks (kicking off this Friday, 13 April 2018). Check out the full list of dates at the bottom of this page.
Wavering between laid-back, chill grooves and somewhat more intense moments, these seven tracks showcase a band straddling the line between blues-rock and psychedelic-metal. Basically, all the main sounds that influenced early Sabbath. Structurally and aesthetically, Ruby comes across like an early-70s hard rock group (drawing bits from acts like Deep Purple or even the Alice Cooper band), yet draped in swirly space-age psychedelia. “Gemini” is a prime example of a more straightforward rocker here.
Yet there is so much more going on throughout Planetary Space Child, distant-sounding vocals that can be smooth and bluesy or powerful and wailing, as appropriate in various situations; tastefully harmonized and haunting in a way that would delight fans of He Whose Ox is Gored.
But overall my mind keeps returning to the godfathers of doom: perhaps it’s the fact that the guitar tone throughout the record feels like it’s been lifted straight from Sabotage. Or the way the band seems to have taken both main riffs from “Supertzar,” deconstructed them and scattered the pieces across songs like the opener “Planetary Space Child,” closer “Lightning Comes Again,” “Pagan Ritual,” and “Symphony of the Night.” And those last two almost seem to shadow the orchestral parts of that song as well. Perhaps I’ve utterly lost my marbles, but the whole thing feels a bit suspicious, almost as though it was done intentionally like planting hidden Easter eggs.
Planetary Space Child is available in digital/CD/vinyl formats, right here.
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Ruby the Hatchet U.S. Tour Dates 2018
w/ Youngblood Supercult:
April 13 Canton OH – Buzzbin
April 14 Chicago IL – Reggie’s
April 15 Kansas City MO – Riot Room
April 16 Denver CO – Streets of London
April 19 Seattle WA – Neumos
April 20 Portland OR – Stump Fest
April 21 Sacramento CA – Blue Lamp (no Windhand)
April 22 San Francisco CA – Slim’s
April 23 Los Angeles CA – Roxy
April 26 Austin TX – Levitation Festival @ Barracuda
w/ Heavy Temple:
April 28 Houston TX – Satellite Bar
April 29 Little Rock AR – Vino’s
April 30 Nashville TN – The End
May 1 Atlanta GA – The Earl
May 2 Raleigh NC – The Pour House
May 3 Richmond VA – Champion