[5 May 2014]
The latest album from Sweden’s Truckfighters is full of crunchy stoner metal riffs. This should come as no surprise to those in the know; the band has been around for a decade and counts sun-soaked desert rock king (queen?) Josh Homme as an ardent fan. The trio plows through a septet of tracks here, and each one comes with a satisfyingly fuzzy guitar/bass hook. Everything on Universe is solid, but after a while, the unrelenting distorted assault gets a bit old. Counter-intuitively, the record’s two longest songs, “The Chairman” and “Mastodont”, manage to stand a bit above the rest. The former has a nice clean guitar groove in sections that set off the crunchier bits. The latter is a titanic 14-minute track that is somehow perfectly calibrated to stick mostly to a central pair of riffs without feeling repetitive. Truckfighters don’t seem interested in making a long, complicated piece of music. Instead, “Mastodont” sounds like the band found a couple of riffs that they loved and figured out how to jam around surprisingly effectively by placing clean guitar variations and guitar and bass solos in just the right places.