Contorted, distorted, six-string mayhem was the hallmark of Jennifer Herrema's previous group, the influential Royal Trux. Deconstructing guitar rock and putting it back together in oddly fascinating ways, Trux played with such a devil-may-care attitude that it didn't matter if its evocation of classic rock's excesses seemed like some kind of sublime joke. Royal Trux broke up in 2001, but Herrema re-formed the band without guitarist Neil Hagerty and has been releasing adrenalized records under the RTX moniker ever since. Western Xterminator, the act's latest disc, is chock-full of some of the most blatantly absurd and self-indulgent hard rock that's been made in years. While fans of Trux's older material will eat up the new songs up, they might strike newer listeners as '80s hair metal taken to the next level, indulging every uncool aspect of poodle rock's ridiculous bombast. Real rock and roll was made by people not looking for anyone else's approval -- people like Herrema and her crew.

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