The Atomic Bitchwax – “Scorpio” (Tee Pee Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed in 1992 and featuring members of Monster Magnet, Raging Slab, Godspeed and Black NASA, The Atomic Bitchwax are another New Jersey underground legend who’ve released 7 prior albums and toured the U.S. and Europe multiple times over. Mixing stoner, hard rock and guitar driven rock ‘n’ roll, the trio of bassist/singer/songwriter Chris Kosnik, guitarist Garrett Sweeny and drummer Bob Pantella serve up a mixture of new songs and instrumentals on “Scorpio”, as well as a revamp of the first song the band ever wrote with vocals, ‘Hope You Die’, as a familiar opener to this hard rockin’ and groovin’ release. Bringing back all the memories of the 60s and 70s but with plenty of gusto in their balls to the wall playing, the trio sweat out the tightest of jams while keeping it catchy throughout, and all to the live sound. Needless to say, ‘Energy’ speaks for itself, as Kosnik’s deep bass rocks in with Sweeny ‘s grooving guitar to bring on a massive Monster Magnet chorus graced by Southern Rock hooks and teasing squeals that would make any rocker of any age just go mental – yeah, baby! Crunching in with plenty of kick drum on ‘You Got It’, the stoner wave propelled by Kosnik’s rumbling bass really pumps the groove as does Sweeny’s guitar which is just wild as he mixes it all up from hard rock, rock ‘n’ roll and more Southern love for Skynyrd on this 70s barn burner that could bring The Garden to its knees man. Wailing in on ‘Betting Man’, the tempo gets upped (as does your blood pressure!) as The Atomic Bitchwax shift up a gear with all their instruments chugging to bring on an intensity stoked by fast lead and backing vocals hammering the song’s title into your mind, before Sweeny serves up another rock ‘n’ roll and hard rock mix with his groovy solo – wow, talk about stoked! At a time when younger bands are offering a retro gimmick, The Atomic Bitchwax rock up after 1,500 concerts to play the real deal as only these NJ kings could.