Sound Advice: Ruby the Hatchet (Feb. 24)

Heavy rockers pull through Northside Yacht Club for a show with Pallbearer

click to enlarge Ruby the Hatchet vocalist Jillian Taylor - YOUTUBE/SCREENGRAB
YouTube/Screengrab
Ruby the Hatchet vocalist Jillian Taylor
If Ruby the Hatchet’s latest album, last summer’s Planetary Space Child, sounds particularly vintage, it’s because the recording approach used by the Philadelphia-based quintet was old school. Or, more accurately, “old estate.” The band decamped to a 19th century home in the wilds of Pennsylvania that was designed by an architectural revolutionary of the time. Ruby the Hatchet used the almost supernatural acoustics of the house as a virtual sixth member in the creation of its best and most atmospheric album to date.

The band also availed itself of a wealth of vintage recording and performance gear to achieve a sound that harks back to the simmering fury of Black Sabbath, the symphonic expanse of Deep Purple and the booming deep-space echo of Hawkwind, all energized with a contemporary jolt of energy and perspective. When the musicians started the process of recording at Kewadin, the official name of the Pennsylvania estate, they had the skeletal framework of each song, but allowed their surroundings to seep into the process. As a result, Planetary Space Child is a groovetastic example of psychedelic Hard Rock layered with sci-fi/fantasy themes and performed with an amazing combination of precision and abandon.

Ruby the Hatchet blossomed in 2011 from a series of basement jams in New Jersey, quickly relocating to Philadelphia and establishing itself as a potent force in the Hard Rock/Stoner/Doom scene. The band’s moniker was the result of drunkenly misreading a T-shirt depicting Jesus and Satan shaking hands under the banner “Bury the Hatchet.” Ruby the Hatchet self-released its debut EP in 2011 and followed it up the next year with the full-length Ouroboros. Bassist Lake Muir joined vocalist Jillian Taylor, guitarist Johnny Scarps, organist Sean Hur and drummer Owen Stewart after the departure of original bassist Mike Parise. Muir arrived just as the band signed with Tee Pee Records for a sophomore album, 2015’s Valley of the Snake, which led to long touring runs, including shows with Cincinnati’s Electric Citizen.

After a brief respite to record Planetary Space Child, Ruby the Hatchet has returned to the road, its natural habitat. Be prepared for the best possible version of a full frontal assault on your senses.


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