"Boxriff" (Meteor City; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Criminally underrated New Jersey trio The Atomic Bitchwax may have lost its most prolific member in Monster Magnet's Ed Mundell, but the band has never sounded leaner, meaner, and ultimately, better.

Thanks to the addition of Core main man Finn Ryan, this juggernaut brings new meaning to the term "power trio" and it's all documented in a few different forms on "Boxriff." For starters, a tasty four-song studio EP recorded by underground rock guru Jack Endino sets off this 17-track excursion the right way, as "STD" kicks it into high gear from the get-go. Rounded out by Ryan's former outfit's trademark tune, "Kiss The Sun," getting the 'Wax treatment, it'd be enough to stop right here and make this a kick-ass EP, but the group thankfully goes the extra mile. 

Throwing in thirteen live cuts from their Seattle stop and an accompanying DVD of the aforementioned concert, "Boxriff" goes from being solid to essential, especially after hearing white-hot live versions of songs like "Ice Pick Freek" and "The Cloning Chamber."

Meaty, gritty, down and dirty, and groovy, bring home this disc and crank it loud and your faith in the lost art of rock'n'roll will be reaffirmed.

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"II" (Tee Pee Records; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The music of The Atomic Bitchwax would probably fall under the "stoner" category because of its fuzz-heavy guitar. But records like "II" are the reason that categorizing (and sub-categorizing) music sucks. Labeling "II" "stoner rock" will keep too many people away from it. And that's truly unfortunate.

"II" is what Rob Zombie might sound like if he slowed down just a little. It's full of heavy, sometimes nearly psychedelic guitars, pounding rhythms and laidback vocals (okay, maybe Zombie would have to slow down a lot) that combine to create a strangely mesmerizing sound that still kicks you solidly in the ass. The songs are feisty little rockers that - while they don't go zipping by at light speed - move at a perfect pace to keep your toe tapping and your head banging.

It's truly the guitars of Ed Mundell who are the stars here. With those fuzzy, chunky chords and blistering lead riffs (and blistering is the key word here, folks), Mundell's axes give the Atomic Bitchwax a lively punch. A couple instrumentals on the CD give ample proof of that.

The Atomic Bitchwax is: Keith Ackerman - drums & percussion; Chris Kosnik - Fender bass, vox; Ed Mundell - guitars. Also appearing are Warren Hayes - lead guitars on "Smokescreen" and Jordan Shapiro - organ on "Play the Game."

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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