Ruby The Hatchet, Live At EarthQuaker (Magnetic Eye Records 2022)

Ruby The Hatchet drops a 7-inch teaser – Live At EarthQuaker – anticipating a new album later this year.

Love at first listen is the way I would describe what I think of Ruby The Hatchet. The first music I heard from the band was Valley of the Snake (2015) and it sent me down the rabbit hole to find everything else that existed by them. The music is lush psychedelic rock, heavy and smooth and soulful. Jillian Taylor’s vocals are haunting and unforgettable, and the guitar-driven environment is one of a kind. The most recent long-player was Planetary Space Child (2017) and that one also still gets heavy rotation at the Shardik Media offices, I can tell you.

The new record has three songs. Two of the tracks are early versions of songs that will be on the upcoming album emerging later this year, and they were recorded live in Akron, Ohio at EarthQuaker Devices – that’s the maker of the pedals Ruby The Hatchet and so many other bands use for tone and effect. The third is a cover of the Uriah Heep standard “Easy Livin’.”

“1000 Years” opens quietly and has a steady build with endearing plateaus. The guitar line is a somber affair, urging drama toward the end. “Primitive Man” is a trippy number that lays on the smooth and rolls up a few rapid punches for you, too. Apparently, these are initial versions of songs that will be on the upcoming album, but they sound finished to me – more great Ruby The Hatchet music.

“Easy Livin’” popped up in 2019 as a stand-alone single. You know the song and, while you can probably imagine what it might sound like when Ruby The Hatchet sings it, the real thing is even better. It is nice to have this take wrapped in with the two new tracks.

Live at EarthQuaker is out now through Magnetic Eye Records in CD, vinyl, and digital. Ruby the Hatchet is on a mini tour right now, bookending with shows opening for Candlemass. See them whenever you can, and make sure you get to Las Vegas this year for Psycho Las Vegas as their performance is certain to be a highlight.

Links.

Website, http://www.rubythehatchet.com/

Bandcamp, https://thehatchet.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/rubythehatchet

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.net/us/Artists/Ruby-The-Hatchet/Ruby-the-Hatchet-Live-at-Earthquaker.html

Ruby The Hatchet at EarthQuaker, https://www.earthquakerdevices.com/ruby-the-hatchet

© Wayne Edwards

Ruby The Hatchet, Live At EarthQuaker (Magnetic Eye Records 2022)

AC/DC Back In Black Redux ~ The Best Of AC/DC Redux (Magnetic Eye 2021)

Two new AC/DC tribute albums are out from the venerable Magnetic Eye Records.

Magnetic Eye Records continues its Redux series with a couple of tribute albums celebrating the iconic Australian band AC/DC. I grew up listening to AC/DC, and their albums were drinking music for me. I love them front to back, all the way through Back In Black, and I have continuing abiding affection for the ones after that, too. A tribute album (or two) makes sense because of the legions of fans.

We all know the songs from Back In Black, right? OK. So, with that as a baseline, how are things different on the tribute album? First up: Red Fang has a completely shifted take on “Hells Bells.” It is a sour twist and very different. It would take you a minute to recognize it if you just heard it playing the in the background. It shook me a little. Howling Giant is a bit more linear with “Shoot To Thrill,” rubbing a little stank on it while circling the goal posts. Supersuckers wag a bluesy rendition of “What Do You Do For Money Honey” and Smoking Lightning doom down “Giving The Dog A Bone.” AC/DC’s beautiful ballad “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is given a tender treatment by Heavy Temple.

Side 2. Besvärjelsen gets the title track. Their version made me want to listen to the original. Jakethehawk offers up a psilocybin take on “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Unexpected. “Have A Drink On Me” is slowed down to a crawl by Whores. My favorite track from the album is Early Man’s “Shake A Leg.” This one slaps. The closer was never my favorite song from the original Back In Black, but I do really like the Earthride version of “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” With this tribute, well, you’ll like it more if you weren’t counting on faithful reproductions. All the bands infused a good deal of themselves into these classic metal tunes, and a tribute was offered by all.

The set list was fixed for Back In Black, but for The Best of AC/DC Redux, the producers could have picked anything from the catalogue. Most of the songs come from the Bon Scott era with just a couple later entries, and a few of them are real surprises. Here is the list. “Sin City,” Witchskull; “It’s A Long Way To The Top,” Kal-El; “What’s Next To The Moon,” Bob Balch & Tony Reed; “Bad Boy Boogie,” Kryptograf; “Walk All Over You,” Blue Heron; “Overdose,” Supersuckers; “For Those About To Rock,” Riff Lord; “Whole Lotta Rosie,” Solace; “If You Want Blood,” Red Mesa; “The Razor’s Edge,” Ghost Ship Ritual; “Dog Eat Dog,” Caustic Casanova; “High Voltage,” Electric Frankenstein; and “Night Prowler,” Domkraft.

I’ll just mention a couple of the new renditions of my favorite originals. Witchskull absolutely kills it on “Sin City.” I have always loved this song and the new version smokes. One of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs is “Whole Lotta Rosie.” I only saw AC/DC play this song live once, and I’ll never forget it. God damn. The new Solace version does right by the legend. Electric Frankenstein tears down the house with “High Voltage” and Domkraft walks “Night Prowler” into the doomlands, but it was right next door, anyway – an exceptional interpretation.

I am a big AC/DC fan and I like both these tribute albums. If I had to pick only one, The Best of AC/DC Redux has the edge. Recommended.

Links.

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/

Bandcamp, https://reduxrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-ac-dc-redux

AC/DC Back In Black Redux ~ The Best Of AC/DC Redux (Magnetic Eye 2021)

Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The first long-player from Philadelphia Psychedelic Doom band Heavy Temple is a rumbling juggernaut that will roll you flat.

Heavy Temple is a trio that creates memorable and full-bodied music for your mind. Working with guitar, bass, and drum, they are able to establish and pursue complex ideas in a way that soaks into the listener in the most appealing ways. Lupi Amoris is their first full-length album, and they have also released two EPs in the last few years, Heavy Temple (2014) and Chassit (2017), as well as a split with Wolf Blood. The music and performance are languid, and Heavy Temple is a band you will surely be hearing a lot more about in the months and years to come.

The first song is “A Desert Through The Trees” and it starts up with a penetrating pulse that is soon joined into a rollicking jaunt that turns toward heavy burbling psychedelica. “The Wolf” has a way of being spacier while still bringing forth the big, heavy guitar sounds. “The Maiden” closes the half with a rambunctious telling.

Side B is “Isabella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” and “Howling of a Prothalamion.” The first song is the longest, nuzzling up to ten minutes. It unfolds slowly and surely and walks the earth with power and care. The lead guitar parts to me are the most memorable, particular the dual approach. “Howling” has a broad range with some segments that are rolling, rambling riffs and others that are ethereal and quirky. It is an unexpected and very strong closer.

Over the course of these five tracks told in about thirty-three minutes there is an enveloping experience few other bands could create. It’s a trip. Recommended.

Lupi Amoris is out tomorrow, Friday June 18th from Magnetic Eye Records. Explore the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com/album/lupi-amoris

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/magnetic-eye-records/heavy-temple-lupi-amoris.html

Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The third full-length album from Sweden’s Domkraft is an inflexion point for Doom Metal music.

I first heard (a recording of) Domkraft play live as part of the Day of Doom event put on by Magnetic Eye Records at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, November of 2019. It was a killer bill and Domkraft gave an amazing performance. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting any new music from them. The band is Martin Wegeland (bass and vocals), Anders Dahlgren (drums), and Martin Widholm (guitar). They play heavy, measured doom metal that can shake the rivets lose in a seismograph.

There are seven tracks on Seeds: three long, three medium, and one transition piece. I usually look out for the longer songs because I like the way you can feel transformed in the drawn out expansive space so the first two tracks, “Seeds” and “Perpetrator,” running as they do about eighteen minutes together looked like the perfect launch pad. And they definitely are, both having gigantic, crushing riffs and relentless rolling rhythm. I was immediately taken back to the live recordings and the contemporaneous experience mixed together with my memories of what I had heard before, generating something bigger.

The three tracks in the middle are shorter, but they hit me just as hard, especially “Into Orbit” which I came back to a couple times after the first run through. The anchor song is “Audiodome” and it starts out at full blast, arguing that turning the power down is not an option. The arch toward the vanishing point is subtle and deliberate. There is nothing to do but hold on. When it is over, you are right where you want to be. Every time I listen to Domkraft I like them even more. Highly recommended.

Seeds is out on Friday, April 30th, and is available through finer discerning retailers.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://domkraft.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/domkraftband

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/magnetic-eye-records/domkraft-seeds.html

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The Day Of Doom (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

The tenth anniversary celebration of Magnetic Eye Records was captured live and is available now in a deluxe package.

In November 2019, Magnetic Eye Records held a concert to honor ten years of music with nine of their roster artists performing. The four headliners – Elephant Tree, Summoner, Horsehunter, and Domkraft – were recorded for posterity and that music has now been released. You can get the full sets separately, but I recommend the big hardcover art book version that includes four CDs, one for each set. Here are some tech specs: Elephant Tree, seven songs, 40 minutes; Summoner, seven songs, 38 minutes; Domkraft, six songs, 45 minutes; Horsehunter, four songs, 45 minutes.

It is a colossal amount of Doom and all four performances are exceptional. I have not seen any of these bands live, but I am a big Elephant Tree fan from their studio work so that is what drew me to this set initially. I have listened to all of them twice now and they are going to be spinning again in the office here before too long. Highly recommended.

Bandcamp links are below for each separate band. The art book version is available directly from Magnetic Eye. Some versions might be out of stock or sold out, but you can always get the digital. And these sets are also on streaming services (I know Spotify has them for sure) so you can listen there first if you want to get a better idea of what it is all about before dropping some coin.

Links.

Magnetic Eye, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/artists/various-artists/various-artists-day-of-doom-live-book-4-cd.html

Horsehunter, https://magneticeyerecords.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Summoner, https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Domkraft, https://domkraft.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Elephant Tree, https://elephanttreeband.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

The Day Of Doom (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

Zakk Sabbath gives us a welcome reminder of the pivotal album Black Sabbath, and an exploration of its timelessness.

The band is Zakk Wylde, Blasko, and Joey Castillo. I first saw Zakk Sabbath a couple years ago at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus and I was completely blown away. I’d seen Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society, of course, and with Ozzy Osbourne, but I didn’t know what to expect from what looked like a tribute band from the billing. What I saw and heard was jaw dropping. An absolutely amazing performance. I tried to find some recordings, but at the time there wasn’t much. Now there is some video, and Zack Sabbath has “live bootlegs” up on their Bandcamp page (for free, by the way – there is actually a lot there so go check that out at the link below). No studio recordings, though. So when I heard Vertigo was coming out, I was on board immediately.

Every metal fan knows about that first Black Sabbath album, and most have heard it more than once. Some of us have listened to it so many times we know it by heart. So while listening to Zakk Sabbath commemorate the album, we are going to hear anything that is different from the original. And of course it is different. This is not meant to be a note by note recreation. It is celebration of the music and the seminal nature of the compositions on the album. There are extensions and bending and warbling variations throughout. The tempo matches the original very closely. Wylde’s vocals are extremely well suited for this music, and the musicianship is absolutely impeccable. At the same time, this is not a tribute album like, say, the Nativity In Black releases, so the new recordings do not reimagine the music. The songs included are the ones on the original US release, meaning that “Evil Woman” is not here and instead “Wicked World” is (on the standard CD).

If you are still wondering what this is all about, then grab a couple of those free live downloads from Bandcamp or check out a few videos of Zakk Sabbath on YouTube. It is clear that the band has great admiration and respect for this music. For me, Black Sabbath was one of the first bands I started listening to when I was a teenager and their music had a massive impact on me. It still does – not a week of my life has ever gone by without me listening to Black Sabbath. As a result, I won’t tolerate any fucking around with their music. With all that said, I really like Vertigo. Go get it now. Highest recommendation.

You can pick Vertigo up now from Magnetic Eye Records either at their website or through another retailer but there are no downloads. Physical versions only.

Live photo from the band’s Facebook site by @bilakos_thrash.

Links.

Zakk Sabbath Bandcamp, https://zakksabbath.bandcamp.com/

Zakk Sabbath Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/officialzakksabbath/

Label website, https://en.merhq.spkr.media/

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)