truckfightersFive albums into their career, “V” finds Truckfighters in fine form and obviously a band comfortable with their place in the world. The Swedes continue to blast away with their own style of fuzz laden, stoner metal that has earned them well deserved praise from many quarters.

The introduction is sombre and brooding. “Calm Before The Storm” has a Southern tinged edge that lies in wait. A smoking gun mood simmers awaiting the fuzzed up, gutsy wave of riffs. Rest assured, when those riffs come, they’re simply huge. This is an interesting opening track as it feels like there’s plenty in reserve and you know there’s something big coming. Shades of Audioslave emerge with soulful, rich vocals that are full of melancholy and tension.

“Hawkshaw” and “The 1” have no such restraint. There is a rhythmic swirl that churns in a trippy vortex, full of urgency and passion. Sudden turns toward delicate harmonies sooth the soul before momentous explosions of oozing, cosmic groove. A guest drumming appearance on the latter from one time Paradise Lost contributor, Peter Damin adds a new dimension that slots in nicely. There’s plenty of depth and texture perhaps not better displayed than on “Gehenna”. This is a mighty track full of swagger with bombastic bass lines and subtle Soundgarden flourishes. Bass guitarist and vocalist Oskar ‘Ozo’ Cedermalm is a powerhouse alongside the rich tones from guitarist Niklas ‘Dango‘ Källgren.

The second half of the album intrigues. The band start to explore some proggy leanings and a sense of total freedom washes over everything. “The Contract”, with gentle, almost late Beatles-esque vocals that hover over cool rhythms always threaten to ignite. There is no disappointment either; this is a master-class in stoner metal. The insatiable, full on driving force is a John Garcia-style belter that feels like a garage jam soaring with an overwhelming sense of joy. Although numerous drummers have passed through the band’s ranks, Daniel ‘El Danno’ Israelsson does a cracking job blending subtlety with raw aggression as the mood swings. “Storyline” bookends the album nicely. The droning, feedback soaked finale switches to reflective, acoustic moments that return to the sombre tones found on the opening track.

“V” feels like a complete body of work that creates a journey. With its’ seven tracks each clocking in around the 6-7 minute mark, there’s a uniformity and cohesiveness that’s satisfying and enthralling. No track could be classed as filler.  The song-craft, musicianship and production are at the fore throughout. “V” is a hugely satisfying listen for fans and newcomers alike.

(9/10 Johnny Zed)