The Atomic Bitchwax: Gravitron

New Jersey rockers return with a host of monster riffs

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The frantic opening salvo Sexecutioner sets the tempo for The Atomic Bitchwax’s sixth album, sucking us instantly into its infectious ebullience.

The trio’s last album, The Local Fuzz, was effectively a one-track riff tape, and while it was an audaciously minimalist diversion, the band here refocus their songwriting skills with 10 short chunks of exuberant rocking fervour, the breakneck pace barely dropping until the less satisfying mid-tempo final song.

Although it’s nice to have Chris Kosnik’s slacker drawl and doofus lyrics back, TAB’s trump card is always the riffs – and the ripping solo heroics of Finn Ryan, plus the chemical interplay between Monster Magnet rhythm section Kosnik and Bob Pantella – and Gravitron is stuffed with big fuzzy caveman riffs with firecrackers up their arses.

It’s tempting to say the best tunes are the instrumentals – Fuckface is a thrilling metal dogfight and turbocharged funk-shuffle Down With The Swirl ought to result in a thousand dancefloor hip injuries – but the whole thing’s a blast.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.