Ed Mundell – my choice for Guitar God 2001. Although Mundell, lead guitarist for Monster Magnet (his day gig) and the Atomic Bitchwax (his side gig), might lack name recognition, he certainly doesn’t lack in the chops department. And TAB’s sophomore CD, II, a rip-snortin’ riff rock juggernaut, is yet further proof of his prowess.
The Strat-lovin’ Mundell draws inspiration from Hendrix, Tommy Bolin, and Captain Beyond’s Rhino. His fluid style has flavored Monster Magnet’s power rock for six years. With the more grooving Atomic Bitchwax, the 31-year-old New Jersian gets to stretch out a bit – plenty of jams, solos and stop-on-a-dime changes. It’s an adrenaline-rush mix of ’70s blues-based hard rock with slices of punk, metal, and psychedelia. Providing a sturdy launch pad for said pyrotechnics is TAB’s amazing rhythm section; bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik – a truly killer rumbler on the four-string with a tough vocal snarl, and drummer Keith Ackerman, a feaked-out Keith Moon doing jazz (or something). The dynamic interplay between these three is head-spinning; everyone seems to solo at the same time, conjuring images of a fuzzed-out, more aggressive Cream.
As with the Bitchwax’s debut, II mixes high-torque instrumentals with straightforward rock nuggets. Warren Haynes provides greasy slide leads on the funk-o-fied “Smokescreen,” while the ’80s computer/robot voice from the band’s debut CD makes a return, along with Mundell’s always cool Echo-Plex manipulation. End result: another brilliant hard rock album. For more info, go to www.teepee records.com.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’01 issue.