Saturday 10 September 2016

Truckfighters - V (Album Review)

Release date: September 30th 2016. Label: Fuzzorama Records and Century Media Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

V – Tracklisting

01. Calm Before The Storm
02. Hawkshaw
03. The 1
04. Gehenna
05. The Contract
06. Fiend
07. Storyline

Band Members:

Ozo (Oskar Cedermalm) - vocals and bass
Dango (Niklas Källgren) - guitar
El Danno (Daniel Israelsson) - drums


Only a few months ago I was putting on paper the review of the first live album of Truckfighters, the band of which (it is useless to hide) I am a fan from the very early years. Personally, I was always fascinated by the ability of the band to bring in a personal key the paradigms of stoner and desert rock, bringing the Palm Desert groove directly to Örebro. What really surprise me in their live album was the ability to propose old stuff in a different way, where the fuzz-oriented approach of the first releases fuses with a more stylish and lysergic sound.

Well, in their fifth studio album, titled V (Fuzzorama Records and Century Media Records), Truckfighters continue this evolutionary path through (to my opinion) their more mature release. Nevertheless, this album deserves more than a listening and It should be listened carefully and with a mind free from judgments and prejudices.

In 7 tracks and over 47 minutes, Truckfighters display their ability to fuse grunge, heavy metal and psychedelia, where the voice of Oskar ‘Ozo’ Cedermalm is at its peak and the guitars of Niklas ‘Dango’ Kallgren and the rhythm section of Danial ‘El Danno’ Israelsson (yes, yet another, the eighth, drummer) create the conditions for a wraparound album.

V starts with Calm Before The Storm (title fits perfectly), a song that starts with an intro that closely resembles TOOL (this will not be the only similarity with the Los Angeles quartet), in a crescendo of atmosphere that ends with tons of fuzz in pure Truckfighters style. It follows Hawkshaw, where a powerful bass and drum intro opens the way to the fuzz blow. In this song the alternation between most relaxed moments to sudden acceleration gives the track a beautifully kinetic feel.

The next song, The 1, signs another line-up shift, with Peter Damin taking the drums for one of the powerful songs of the album, where the vocals are mildly compressed and an easy going riff introduces the fuzzy assault for the chorus.

With Gehenna, the fourth track, Truckfighters go back to the sound of Gravity X, where the filtered vocals perfectly overlaid with the riffing guitar and bass. Exactly half of the song, a break in pure TOOL style, both for the use of the riffing and vocals, introduces the end of the song nicely displacing the listener. It follows the fuzzy/prog/stoner The Contract, a song where TOOL meets Truckfighters. The amazing palm muted riffing intro of ‘Dango’ masterfully alternates with tons of fuzz and a tight and massive rhythm section.

With Fiend, our journey into V arrives near the end. In this song, Ozo’s vocal comes out in all its versatility and everything in this track mix perfectly to give the song a huge ending. Storyline is one of my favorite songs. Here, the vocals are a lot more dominant and the song goes straight in all its complexity, constantly varying in all its complexity. Definitively, Truckfighters could not have chosen a better song to close this new album, as it is a fine example of their flexibility as musicians.

It is always difficult to give a judgment on the work of someone when you are a fan, as I was always been fascinated by Truckfighters since my first listening. The risk, too often, is to overestimate the work or to be disappointed because it does not correspond to what the band has played over the past 15 years (something that I personally feel as a real close-minded by fans). The truth, as always, lies in between.

To be honest, it took me a very long long time to metabolize this new work of Truckfighters, as it is unlike anything you would expect from the band. To my opinion it represents the most mature and complete album released so far by the fuzzy Swedish trio, where does not shine only a single characterizing element as in some other past productions. In this work we perceive the care with which Truckfighters have rewritten some of their paradigms (e.g. the obsessive use of fuzz that has always distinguished their sound) in a more structured way.

It is never easy for a band, especially after 15 years, playing different but at the same time maintaining their roots. You just have to be patient and listen to this work carefully, perhaps through headphones to appreciate every nuance, and you will realize that, in the end, it may be different from Truckfighters while remaining Truckfighters.

Words by Bruno Bellisario

Thanks to Fuzzorama Records for the promo. V will be out available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Fuzzorama Records and Century Media Records - US.

Truckfighters Links