Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ruby The Hatchet – Valley Of The Snake



I have to admit, the name of this band threw me a little bit.  Like, is it a nickname, as in, “There she is, Ruby the Hatchet”.  Or maybe its supposed to be some sort of action, but I've never heard “ruby” used as a verb, and how the hell would you ruby the hatchet?  Then I wised up and just listened to the music.

This is a fantastic band that I literally just stumbled across while searching for music for one of my radio shows.  I think I found some demo tracks and the name of the band made me curious.  I listened and I was hooked probably within 15 seconds.  If you are into the retro 70's, stoner rock stuff and you don't know this band, correct that right now.

I love this album.  I really can't stop listening to it.  I know when an album really has its hooks in me because the riffs and melodies keep running through my head, and I'll be sitting at my desk working, or doing something around the house, and I find myself humming said riffs and melodies.  I've got it bad and its really good.

The album opens with “Heavy Blanket”, which sounds like they took the best parts of “Machine Head” era Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, mashed it all together, put a modern spin on it and as Emeril would say, BAM!  (Who am I kidding, everything from “Machine Head” era Deep Purple and Uriah Heep was good, all they did was the best parts.)  I really dig that Hammond B3 organ tone and when a band manages to integrate that into their music so that it just fits, well, it makes me very happy.

Third track “Tomorrow Never Comes” is another one that really speaks to me.  It starts out slow and doomy and almost dreamy and then as it stretches out over almost 9 minutes finding the band moving through tempos so seamlessly that you can't imagine the song going anywhere else.  The doom is suddenly swinging a little, and then breaking out into full on gallop, and then back and forth.  So very well written to work like this.  The playing and singing is superb.  The female vocalist uses a lot of harmonizing and doubling in the vocals and the effect is great.  The vocals always fit whatever is going on in the music.

Title track “Valley of the Snake” is another that just latches on to you.  It sounds just a bit like it would fit nicely on Heart's “Little Queen” album.  It is a gorgeous track with acoustic and electric moments and really showcases a more psychedelic side of the band.  Their ability to move among genres yet always sound right at home is a testament of the abilities of this band.

This is simply a fantastic album from a band that seems to be still discovering their powers, still finding out what they are capable of.  Six songs, a nice, tight, concise 40 minutes, no bloated excess.  Check this one out as soon as you can. 

- ODIN



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