Ruby the Hatchet : Ouroboros

If I could roll up my dream concert of the year it would be Orange Goblin and Clutch—wait, that wasn’t a dream! If I could click my heels and pull together another dream line-up, it would be Fu Manchu and Ruby the Hatchet. Most of us know Fu Manchu, stoner rockers from Southern California doing it up Kyuss style with a groovy, groovy backbeat. But Ruby the Hatchet? Who the hell are they and why should you want to listen them?

RtH hails from Philadelphia, PA USA and they rain down a smoky stoner metal like a Hammer House of Horror wet dream. They have two albums out—a self-titled EP from late 2010—and Ouroboros from October 2012. Both are excellent, but we’ll chat here about Ouroboros.

For the trivia buffs out there, ouroboros is that bit of iconography depicting a dragon eating its own tail. I’m sure if I thought about what that symbol means and all the tracks on the latest RtH album, there would be some sort of mind-blowing significance behind it all. On the immediate level, though, what the symbol lends for me is another layer of depth to the mystique that is RtH. I don’t know about you, but I like my mystique dark and unresolved. And RtH is just oozing dark and unresolved mystique. With every echo of Jillian Taylor’s sultry voice, with every reverberation of Mike Parise’s bass, with every angry smack of Owen Stewart’s drums, and, yes, with every doom intoned riff of John Scarperia’s guitar, my soul’s ear says, “God, yes, this album is so right.”

RtH reminds me of Electric Wizard but with hooks . . . or Black Sabbath, but with a little more groove and a lot more testosterone. The added factor, which I really dig, is the local band feel they give. They aren’t under-produced and they don’t sound amateurish—there’s just something about them that makes me know there are other small bands out there cranking out sweet stoner metal and that all varieties of metal are thriving even as the economy tanks—or maybe because of it.

With the exception of “Holy Father” and “Nowhere,” every song on the nine track Ouriboros is a gem. “Taking Sides” and “Wicked Ones” are standouts. I was turned on to RtH by the promo CD in the March 2013 issue of Metal Hammer. While there are a lot of other nice tracks on that promo, I was compelled to buy all of RtH’s releases the next day on the strength of “Wicked Ones.” Now I stalk them on FaceBook, bugging them to come to Houston, TX for a show. Exactly the attention they were hoping for, I know.