RTX Western Xterminator

Breaking it off creatively and romantically with Neil Hagerty in 2000, Jennifer Herrema managed to not only hold onto Royal Trux’s acronym afterwards but also do it justice with 2004’s uneven yet engagingly bonkers Transmanicon. Her first work sans Hagerty, the album was a triumphant announcement of her ability, putting to rest the talk that much of Royal Trux’s ramshackle brilliance was her partner’s doing. Western Xterminator continues the foray into classic rock outlines coloured in with ’80s speed metal riffage, fantasy-based folk and noise rock fragmentation. Again, it feels like Herrema and her band can’t quite determine which way is up, moving from song to song in disarray, but if we’ve come to learn anything from this underground icon it’s that cleanliness is not her strong suit. The impulsive digressions, though a tad indulgent at times, leave ample room for the band to explore their eccentric sonic curiosities, both successfully (i.e., the hallucinogenic "Knightmare & Mane” would fit nicely on the Trux’s Accelerator) and unsuccessfully (the off-putting death metal gagging on "Wo-Wo Din”). Truth be told, it sounds like one big Venom-worshipping, shroom-chomping cluster fuck by wasteoids that wear their denim too tight, and that’s meant as a compliment. A jarring experience that will likely never grow on you, Western Xterminator is, nevertheless, some cool shit that might just be a little too cool for its own good. (Drag City)