V is, as you've probably already guessed, the fifth album from Swedish stoner/desert rock combo Truckfighters, not exactly a band that has been overly prolific seeing as their career dates back to 2001, but they've consistently gone for quality over quantity, and V is no different. With seven tracks at just under 50 minutes, it's a lengthy ride the band are asking us to hop on, and for the most part it's well worth the time invested. The bands penchant for melodic, crooning vocals drifting over fuzz-toned heavy guitar riffs, melancholy atmosphere, and the occasional prog/psych freakouts are on display as always, and with a new drummer on board (yet again!) the rhythms remain solid. Lengthy opener "Calm Before the Storm" does exactly as the title suggests, starting off rather tranquil before the heavy riffs bust in, then all things settle down again. "Hawkshaw" is much more upbeat, the soothing vocals soaring over heavy riffs & grooves, while "The 1" kicks up the fuzz a bit on the guitar & bass but also injects some killer vocal hooks for an instantly memorable tune, and one of the albums best. That warm fuzz also permeates the rocking "Gehenna", a tune also awash in psychedelic guitar noodling and wah-wah, which gives way to the mountainous "The Contract", another track with tremendous bass & guitar riffs. "Fiend" plods along like a long lost cousin to Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, though despite its wall of fuzz it lacks variety, yet the closing "Storyline" rectifies that with some powerful, lumbering riffs that give way to gentle crooning and gorgeous finger picked guitar strains, eventually succumbing to fuzz laden bombast before the tranquility prevails yet again to take the song out to its conclusion.
Strong stuff overall, as V shows that there is still plenty of life left in the desert rock style for these veteran Swedes.
1. Calm Before the Storm
3. The 1
5. The Contract