Serious rock fans always anguish over whether a band with dueling guitars, thunder drums and snarling arena rock vocals are being ironic or are actually dedicated to the trashy trappings of hair band authenticity. RTX is that kind of conundrum with ex-Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema pushing the Guns N’ Roses-like sexu-growl so far you can feel the flashback to sweatbands, slashed jeans and ratted bangs.
The band’s sophomore effort wields gems like “Last Ride,” which is about as pumped with false harmonics and metallic gore as any Gang Green effort, and “Wo-Wo Din,” which employs a swift pummeling of death metal riffs. The glam-rock current of Western Xterminator is a respectable wrangling of several different oft-heard styles, and if you’re seduced by such pageantry (as I am) it’s an easy sell.
Still, Herrema’s processed vocals seem muted by production, glossing over any potential for real vocal grit. And the molten, rock flute-infused meandering of the opening title track isn’t an appropriate intro to an otherwise livewire affair.
But whether RTX is tongue-in-cheek or not is irrelevant. Western Xterminator is a sturdy chunk of sleazy flair, and analyzing intent only sours the fun. (Erika Fredrickson)
RTX plays with Open Choir Fire and Southerly at the Badlander Saturday, Nov. 17, at 9 PM. $5.