Release date: May 17th 2016. Label: Fuzzorama Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl
Truckfighters: Live In London – Tracklisting
1. Mind Control
3. The Chairman
4. Last Curfew
5. Monte Gargano
6. Get Lifted
7. Manhattan Project
8. In search of (the)
10. Helium 28
11. Desert Cruiser
Ozo - vocals and bass
Dango - guitar
Enzo - drums
Reviewing is always a difficult task, especially when dealing with live stuff, against whom I am always a little doubtful. This is because trying to explain why one should listen, or buy, a live album is useless for the most of hardcore fans, and extremely difficult to explain to everyone else. Making a live album is like making a compilation of your favourite band, with few simple rules: choose the right songs and put them in the right place to capture the real essence of an artist. In my humble opinion a live album has only few simple tasks, one of which is to transmit the same feeling and experience of being under the stage, head-banging with other people. Of course, without skills and attitude the result can be more disappointing, making a live album just a ‘simple’ collection of songs.
Well, the new (and first) live release of the Sweden-based trio, Truckfighters, doesn’t betray any of my expectations, with 77 minutes full of fuzz, heavy riffs and energy in pure Truckfighters style. Fifteen years after the release of their first EP, Desert Cruiser, and ten years after their first album, Gravity X (Fuzzorama Records/Meteor City Records), Truckfighters have become one of the most instantly recognizable stoner bands in the world. A powerful and melodic fuzz-drenched tunes coming from big fuzzed-out riffs fuse with a masterful rhythm section sustained by big clattering drums and deep bass, with hypnotic and powerful vocals.
A major plus of this live album is, probably, the ability to propose old stuff in a different way, where the fuzz-oriented approach of the first releases fuse with a more stylish and lysergic sound. Indeed, we all know how stoner rock/metal (and its derivatives) can be repetitive and stereotyped by nature. Fortunately, through out their career, Truckfighters evolved a unique and specific sound that reached its maturity in the last release, setting aside for a moment their ‘fuzz-addiction’ for more original and open compositions. Truckfighters have undoubtedly made a significant jump from the beginning, while not neglecting their roots in the heavy stoner rock and a passionate love for fuzz. From Gravity X to Universe they have developed their own specific way of understanding music, working hard despite the constant changes in line-up.
The track list sweeps back and forth between their production, just enough to be loved by long-time fans and catch the eye of those who, so far, are not familiar with this Sweden-based trio. This, along with the choice of individual tracks from each album, helps the overall listening of the album, which flows fluid, powerful and exciting. The album starts with Mind Control, the open track of their latest release, Universe (2014, Fuzzorama Records/Sony Music Sweden), which marks a small turning point in their production, with a more psychedelic vein compared to previous releases.
In between, we can find (almost) all their production, with Atomic and Traffic from their second, excellent album Phi (2007, Fuzzorama Records/Poison Tree Records), an album dominated by fuzz laden guitar broken up by short, stoner vocalist segments. The album goes on, straight and powerful until the laid back track Last Curfew from their 2009 release, Mania (Fuzzorama Records/Rough Trade Records), followed by Monte Gargano. At the end of the album we find the classics, Manhattan Project and In search of (the) from Gravity X, followed by Helium 28 from their 2003 split with Firestone, Truckfighters vs. Firestone - Fuzzsplit of the Century (Fuzzorama Records). The album ends with Desert Cruiser, an anthem for all (including me) first-hour fans of Truckfighters. Only one flaw. The lack of one of the best track I ever listen from this band. Mastodont, a song able to include the essence of what Truckfighters were, are and will be.
Last April I was lucky enough to see these guys live at the Desertfest in Berlin for my very first time, and I was completely bewildered by their show. A perfect rhythm section masterfully supported by Axel ‘Enzo’ Larsson (drum) and Oskar ‘Mr. Ozo’ Cedermalm (bass), with tons of fuzz spewed by the ‘flying’ Niklas ‘Dango’ Källgren (guitar).
Just a little advice. Truckfighters must be seen at least once in life. So, no matter whether or not you have bought this album, if you have the chance, go to a concert, because only after having seen them live you will understand why they are called the ‘best live band in the world’.
Words by Bruno Bellisario
You can buy the album from the following link via Fuzzorama Records.