Sunday 5 July 2015

Ruby The Hatchet - 'Aurum' (Album Review)

‘Ruby the Hatchet really hits the mark on “Black Tongue,” a song with a hook that’s so monstrous it immediately takes the crown as the album’s highlight.’

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 09/04/2015
Label: Kozmik-Artifactz/Bilocation Records

‘Aurum’ CD//LP track listing:

A1. Paralyzed 4:19
A2. Taking Sides 4:15
A3. Black Tongue 4:13
A4. Can't Get Him Away 5:17
A5. Holy Father 3:07
B1. The Lean 4:34
B2. Wicked Ones 3:45
B3. Good God Damn 5:39
B4. Eliminator 9:02


Hot on the heels of Ruby the Hatchet’s sophomore release comes “Aurum,” a limited, vinyl-only release. At first I thought that “Aurum” was the new album, but when the production value of the album’s bookends stuck out, I began to do some research. What I found out was that this album is one part “Ouroboros,” their debut, and one part “The Eliminator,” their 2014 EP. It being a limited release pushed by Kozmik Artifactz makes this a collector’s item, one which is most likely reserved for the fans. 

“Aurum” is the Latin word for gold as well as the name of an irregular geyser in Yellowstone Park. Keeping these two things in mind helps explain this album. Side A is gold, chock full of 70’s occult riff worship which, considering the band’s image, is surprisingly accessible. “Taking Sides” and “Holy Father” are pulled forward by tasty riffs and an impressive vocal performance. Ruby the Hatchet really hits the mark on “Black Tongue,” a song with a hook that’s so monstrous it immediately takes the crown as the album’s highlight. Side B, however, has a couple of moments that don’t always demand full attention from the listener. This side leans more towards the hypnotic side of the kaleidoscope, focusing on a repetitive groove. For the most part, these grooves are pretty good but with all of the psychedelic music flying around nowadays, Ruby the Hatchet doesn't deliver the status quo. There are moments on Side B that ask the listener to hold on tight, but they are irregular, rendering this side to the realm of background music. 

Considering the source material for “Aurum,” the unevenness of the album makes sense. After all, debut albums from beginning bands tend to be front loaded. This isn’t a critique as such, because in the grand scope of things, “Aurum” is an album that displays a band with potential. They just need to dig into it. What is a critique, however, is the timing of the release, which was more or less simultaneous with “Valley of Snakes,” their critically acclaimed sophomore outing. Speaking of, give “Valley of the Snakes” a spin, that’s an album made by a matured Ruby the Hatchet.

Words by: Victor van Ommen

‘Aurum’ is available here

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