15 years is a substantial achievement for any band, line-ups may change from time to time but the true core of the band is never different. With some fresh blood back in the mix in the form of El Danno (Daniel Israelsson) working the drums TRUCKFIGHTERS are ready unleash V; their fifth studio album. It’s only been a tad over 2 years since Universe was bestowed upon us, it received great reviews and was a welcome relief to fans that had been waiting the 4 years since Mania. Soon we’ll the release of V – guitarist Dango states it will be no surprise to those who’ve listened to their earlier work whilst still being a tremendous step forward in the bands direction.
Firstly, V is huge, it is a common term to describe scale of sound and breadth of soundscape but V will take that to the next level. Consistently through the tracks the ears are pummelled with immensely punchy drums and just the rawest guitar and bass. Whilst this sound pelts the listener the often haunting vocal styling’s of Ozo are gracefully laid over, this transforms tracks into experiences – visions almost.
Calm Before the Storm kicks the album off, this is V’s longest track and it is a trip – the intro is similar to Mania’s Last Curfew. A very proggy, very TOOL introduction, setting the scene for what eventually turns into a smooth first section – at these calmer point the sound is lovely, easy to listen too only to fall into a fuzzy chaos. When this track picks up, it picks up fast, progressively and in a very accelerated manner. The pre-chorus is haunting and builds up beautifully to a chorus that knocks you flying, the bass of Ozo is so thick and supports the guitar Dango sublimely during the solo and higher range sections.
Hawkshaw follows with an awesome bass intro with drums following, guitars join after a few licks and then with a massive crash the attack is heavy, all to fall into a calm verse. Each end of this track is a huge contrast, and the bass once again stands out as a massive factory in the grand scale the soundscape has. The perfect amount of fuzz to complement the guitars and not drown the drums out, it is very much a carrying feature in the track as the drums are sporadic, giving the track a beautifully kinetic feel to it.
Another line-up shift greets us for track three, The 1, Peter Damin takes the drums for this song. The difference in styles is very subtle between El Danno and Damin. In this track at least there is a greater focus on cymbals, which is saying something for TRUCKFIGHTERS, cymbals are generally a dominant feature in the bands sound. The 1 is classic TRUCKFIGHTERS, mildly distorted/compressed vocals, an easy going riff before shifting to an audio assault for the chorus. The 1 certainly is a contender for best track on V, for the sheer amount of power behind it this track is so full of energy, similarly to Hawkshaw there are two contrasting sides to the track.
Gehenna is fuzz from the git go, after a nice country-esque riff the instruments collapse in to a repetitive riff with the most satisfying rolling drum beat behind it. This is classic TRUCKFIGHTERS at it’s best, the trio have done an astounding job of turning back time – it is almost like listening to Gravity X all over again. The verses in this are quite proggy, filtered and layered vocals, beautifully paced guitar overlaid with bass just holding it up beautifully.
The Contract takes us over the halfway point of V, the crashing intro of bass vs. drum that assimilates in to the two trading off whilst a gorgeous palm muted riff plays over. After the track builds up the track gets properly heavy, the string tones are thick and fuzzy, the drums have that chaotic craziness to them once more. The Contract is certainly more prog than fuzz, but it is a such a vast angle that blows such a huge amount of noise over the listener – TRUCKFIGHTERS fuzz/doom/stoner/prog style oozes from this track and it is a belter.
The penultimate track on V is Fiend, there is an awesome air of mischief to this track, the pacing is odd from the beginning with all instruments playing to an odd rhythm with an odd riff. More rolling (and oh-so satisfying) drums come in for the verse, Ozo’s vocals have been on point throughout this album, but Fiend really demonstrates his range and versatility. As the song draws to a close the scale of the sound to increases and fills up the space around more and more, drums, vocals, everything steps up giving the song a hug ending. Storyline is wild, the aforementioned shifts in sound and style are very much apparent here too. The vocals are a lot more dominant in this track also, a lot more strained and have a great sense of rawness about them. In parts Storyline winds down into a easy and relaxed, they are genuinely calming parts that cool the listener down until they are thrust back into the utterly shaken into oblivion by the chorus. The diversity in Storyline isn’t exactly refreshing, the parallels in sound have been a really nice factor in V, but this track is a fine example flexibility these musicians have.
For a sound that is essentially 15 years old, that desert rock music style, TRUCKFIGHTERS can return to their roots and still make it sound as current and modern as anything else – and then some. Their style is so rock and roll that it is timeless, inexplicably cool, and suitable at any time. V is a testament to the singularity the band share, regardless of the line-up changes, TRUCKFIGHTERS are a creature that overwhelms the senses with fuzz and riffage.
V is set for release on September 30th via Fuzzorama Records and Century Media Records.
Like TRUCKFIGHTERS on Facebook.