Review: Ruby The Hatchet ‘Live At Earthquaker’ EP

Having been a fan for a good two or three years now, when the chance to get in on some Ruby The Hatchet action arose, I jumped on it as quickly as I could, literally snatching it from The Shaman’s hand as soon as it was offered. Initially, I was hoping it was going to be for the long-awaited new album, a fourth to add to the collection, and after 2017s Planetary Space Child, expectations have been high.

Ruby The Hatchet 'Live At Earthquaker' EP

What I was presented with was, in fact, somewhat more of a bridge to fill the void between the previous, and the next album, which I did hear was due for release later on this very year… hopefully.

With fingers and toes crossed, I dived in and hit the play button on this three-track EP that was recorded at the HQ of EarthQuaker Devices in Akron, Ohio. Simply entitled Live At Earthquaker, it comprises a brand spanking new track, 1000 Years, the live favourite, Primitive Man, and the Uriah Heep classic, Easy Livin’.

After five years of waiting on any new music, the anticipation was pretty intense, so anything less than fantastic would have been a real shame. Thank the maker then, that it’s every bit as phenomenal as it needed to be, to take that next step in the evolution of the five-piece.

The return of Ruby The Hatchet is such a welcome one, and where there are a lot of retro bands out there, trying to really capture that iconic 60s and 70s period sound, Ruby The Hatchet truly catch it, embrace it, and come out with a warm and fuzzy, contemporary restyle, which feels recognisable, yet slightly different too.

1000 Years encapsulates that doomy psychedelic vibe, and the eclectic mid-tone soundtrack, over laced with Jillian Taylor’s sultry vocal, is wondrous. Soaring choruses and proggy keys, mixed with wailing guitar flourishes, what’s not to like? This track truly feels timeless, and on the breakdown solos, it feels almost stadium anthemic. Cue the air guitars, this one’s a wall of wailing noise.

Soaring choruses and proggy keys, mixed with wailing guitar flourishes, what’s not to like…

Primitive Man capitalises on that astral synth prog doom. With nudges towards Blues Pills and Black Mirrors in style, it’s infectious with its driving rhythms. There are also spicy overtones of early Heart, and in stepping back to appreciate the musicianship, this truly is a work of art.

Easy Livin’, I mean, what needs to be said? Instantly recognisable, the Uriah Heep anthem gets an overhaul, without sacrificing its iconic status. At times you could be forgiven for thinking that Uriah Heep themselves are in the room, jamming alongside Ruby The Hatchet. On paper, you would be forgiven for thinking ‘oh really, Easy Livin’, but in reality, it’s hard not to be moved by this crowd pleaser. A band that was never really on my radar, beyond this song on classic rock compilations, the rejuvenated version kicks absolute ass.

To say this EP is a welcome return is an understatement, and if this is the shape of things to come, it’s going to be a long few months of waiting for the incoming album, and for the uninitiated, I will leave you with this…

In the last few years there has been a massive resurgence in bands coming from right across the globe, emulating that retro 60s and 70s sound. The scene, sounds, and looks have become pretty commonplace, both within the more alternative music scene and in popular music. Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes not as it mostly plagiarises music from a bygone era, looking to be all cool and niche.

Ruby The Hatchet however is the real deal. There’s nothing contrived with this band. It’s as legitimate as it is genuine, and that comes through in the music. The passion in the playing drives this band, every element is tremendous, and the overall sound is one that can’t be ignored.

Play loud, pump those fists, and mosh like a mutha, Ruby The Hatchet are back, and thank the stars for that.

Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish