RTX

RaTX

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RTX's second album, Ratx, has been called the heaviest album released by Drag City. While that gives short shrift to RTX's debut, Transmaniacon -- not to mention the output of the mighty Fucking Champs -- there's no denying that this album is dedicated to fist-pumping, headbanging, driving around with the top down rock. As with Transmaniacon, on Ratx Jennifer Herrema hones in on the tough, brittle, cleverly sleazy rock she and Neil Hagerty subverted on late-period Royal Trux albums like Veterans of Disorder, this time varnishing it even more heavily in an '80s metallic sheen. After opening with the witchy, acoustic "Western Exterminator," Ratx gets down to business, delivering attitude, riffs, and solos that don't let up until "Knightmare & Mane," a brilliantly slurred power ballad that doesn't let words get in the way of its emotions. "Balls to Pass" and "Black Bananas" reflect the album's poppy side, pairing RTX's alternately chugging and squealing guitars with plenty of hooks, and the sludgy "Money Will Roll Right In" shows off Herrema's infamous raspy perma-sneer at its finest. "Wo-Wo Din" is another, aptly named highlight, displaying the band's shredding and grinding guitar heroics; it's very likely the single heaviest song that Drag City has released. While Transmaniacon had more breadth and depth, Ratx is a gleeful testament to the liberating powers of unrepentantly excessive, heavy rock.