CD Review

The Atomic Bitchwax – "3"

By Marcus Pan

3Cranking out of my own home town, baybee, The Atomic Bitchwax have parted ways with Mundell of Monster Magnet and dragged in Finn Ryan, previously of Core. "Finn can actualy sing," says bandmate Chris Kosnik and drummer Keith Ackerman. They've spent the past year "gelling" across Europe and America and then went into Trax East Studios, which is right down the street from my house, to record 3.

3 is the fourth release from The Atomic Bitchwax, one of very few stoner rock bands that has attained some level of mainstream success. The Captain Dog of NJ, The Atomic Bitchwax are writing up a four month two continent itinerary to support this release. Fans of older Atomic Bitchwax will still find those sudden solos, crunchy guitars and smack-your-momma-in-the-teeth aggression you remember, but 3 has a much more refined sound with tighter hooks and a mature sound – still garagey, but well produced garagey.

Right from the start The Destroyer blows the speakers off our stereo with its rivetingly fast pace. You Oughta Know is almost pure guitar solo. Maybe I'm a Leo is straight stoner grunge with solid playing and we can see here why Kosnick insists that they have a singer now and they are going to use it to their advantage. A guitar solo as good as any on record slices through the center of the track – this is guitar rock at its best.

The Passenger is load up your muscle car music if ever there was, reminiscence going as far back as old fashioned Steppenwolf. Finn's vocals is touched with just a slight bit of reverb to give it that speed-laden rush. Just hit the highway and go. Half as Much closes the album with a healthy dose of the surreal and gives Keith Ackerman a chance to shine.

All rock fans – from metal to thrash to stoner – will kick it with 3. It's really good music and done with a flair for the original. The Atomic Bitchwax are one of the most energetic bands to come slamming out of Jersey and their recordings have that live feel and ballsiness. There's really only one question to ask this trio – are you going to play South River's Cruise Night this summer or not? Because if you do, I might actually drag myself out of the house to walk down.

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