Ruby The Hatchet, Fear Is A Cruel Master (Magnetic Eye 2022)

Ruby The Hatchet returns with their trademark heavy psych music on Fear Is A Cruel Master.

I am not even going to try to pretend I am not a big fan of Ruby The Hatchet. Truly, one of the very best experiences I had this year was seeing them perform at Psycho Las Vegas. It might sound a little over the top, but I like everything about this band – their sound, their compositions, and they way to approach live performance. The musicians are Jillian Taylor (vocals), Johnny Scarps (guitar), Owen Stewart (drums), Lake Muir (bass), and Sean Hur (keys).

I have heard everything Ruby The Hatchet has released, starting with the early self-titled EP through to Planetary Space Child (Tee Pee Records 2017) and Live At Earthquaker (Magnetic Eye Records 2022). I have been ready for the new studio album for some time now.

Fear Is A Cruel Master has eight tracks, beginning with high-energy opener “The Change.” This song has great single potential with its grooving hook and catchy, singable chorus. You can hear every element working together on this song. “Deceiver” is heavier with a darker story. The echoing lead guitar in the first half of the song casts a lasting spell. “Primitive Man” offers a grungy menace for a foundation and mesmerizing guitar and keys lines, while “1000 Years” lies along a more somber path. Taylor’s voice is the feature here and she sounds better than ever.

Side B opens with “Soothsayer.” It’s an exuberant undertaking with a mystical sensibility. “Thruster” sounds like a dark magician at work on something diabolical, then “Last Saga” slows the pace for melancholy reflections and powerful vocal duet. The final song is “Amor Gravis.” There are vibrant, even speedy elements in this song that complement perfectly the heavier overtones. It is a good vehicle to bring us back to earth at the end of the set. It is always good to have new music from Ruby The Hatchet, and the new album is even better than I expected it to be. Highly recommended.

Fear Is A Cruel Master is out on Friday, October 21st through Magnetic Eye Records in the accustomed forms. Don’t wait if you want any of the physicals because they might not last very long. Links below.

Band photo by Don Vincent Ortega.




Magnetic Eye Records,

© Wayne Edwards

Ruby The Hatchet, Fear Is A Cruel Master (Magnetic Eye 2022)