Truckfighters have always been a bit of a stoner rock curiosity. Despite the fact that they are from Sweden, they have so expertly interpreted the warmth, fuzz and expansive groove of the California desert that they’ve essentially made the genre their own, and established themselves as one of the best stoner rock bands around. Even Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme memorably called them the best band that’s ever existed.
On their fifth album, the appropriately titled V, they don’t stray too far from their proven formula. On this one, they stick to what they know best: layered fuzzy riffing, memorable melodies and superb vocals.
They prefer to polish and perfect rather than break new ground. Normally that wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing, but when he band is a good as Truckfighters, more of the same is always appropriate.
V opens with “Calm Before the Storm,” which, at more than eight minutes, begins with a slow, ominous groove, which provides an expansive canvas for guitarist Dango for flittering riffs and vocalist/bass player Ozo’s soothing vocals. About midway through the song, they launch into a full-on fuzz-laden freakout, permeated with Dango’s trademark riffage, which provides a solid preview for what’s to come.
The album hits its stride on the third song, “The 1,” which features some of the album’s most melodic riffs along with a great head-bobbing rhythm. About midway through, the song builds into a steamrolling wall of fuzz with a wah-drenched crescendo. They follow up “The 1,” with “Gehenna,” which includes some of Dango’s most intricate riffs.
The album’s highlights are the one-two punch of “The Contract,” and “Fiend,” two labyrinthine songs that progressively build layers upon layers of psychedelic fuzz and include some of Ozo’s most expressive vocals. V ends with the mid-tempo “Storyline,” which contrasts quieter, cleaner melodies fuzz, and echos “Calm Before the Storm.”
(released September 30, 2016 on Century Media Records)