RTX

With her bohemian-friendly lineage and Rolling Stones sleaze-rock tendencies, RTX's Jennifer Herrema offered androgynous boy-girls the chance to borrow her balls for half an hour or so on last year's Western Xterminator. Starting things off with the title track's disarming acoustic incantation, fueling an almost freak folk-like fire, Herrema sings a slow, haunting dirge while flutes trill and brushes shuffle lightly over the drum kit; the only rock here is a thrillingly brief interjection of psychedelically swirling guitar. For the rest of Xterminator, though, RTX sets about systematically disemboweling you with sheer, unadulterated rock bliss. The astral-projected bodies of Bon Scott and friends are palpable in the late-'70s raunch of songs like "Balls to Pass" and "Dude Love." "Black Bananas" brings in some elegantly phasered guitar and a slower, more tuneful approach — until Herrema begins howling over the guitar's chugging crunch. "Wo-Wo Din" adds a touch of '80s metal mayhem to this already heady mix of hard-rock touchstones; the only moment of relent is "Knightmare and Mane," and even there the amped-up power balladry rivals Mötley Crüe's greatest achievements. If you're looking for the soundtrack to a night spent pounding Jack from the bottle, welcome home.

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Nicholas L. Hall is a husband and father who earns his keep playing a video game that controls the U.S. power grid. He also writes for the Houston Press about food, booze and music, in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. When he's not busy keeping your lights on, he can usually be found making various messes in the kitchen, with apologies to his wife.
Contact: Nicholas L. Hall