On Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, there are vast oceans composed of liquid methane. Scientists speculate that these unexplored depths may be home to primordial, petroloid life-forms. If that’s true, they’re probably a little like Truckfighters. Bestial, butane-belching creatures who communicate only through fuzz-pedal gnarls.
On December 9th the Swedish desert-rock trio hit the stage of London’s O2 Islington to promote new album ‘V’. After support acts Dot Legacy and Deville had sludged the place up nicely, the scene was set for Truckfighters glorious arrival. The band took to the stage to the overture of ‘Altered State’ bathed in nuclear-sunset red, and wasted no time in blasting into first song ‘Mind Control’ like the full-throttle rasping of an exhaust stack. Truckfighters are a band whose name perfectly suits them. They’re three fuel-injected fuzzstronauts with a sound thick enough to shake a freight truck off the freeway.
Their sound is anchored by vocalist/bassist Ozo. His surging basslines are the diesel that Truckfighters run on; organic, intricate and thunderous as the stomach-rumbles of an exogorth. With Ozo mostly confined to the mic stand and drummer El Danno delivering factory-piston percussion from the back, this left guitarist Dango to take charge of showmanship. He took this duty seriously: in a feat worthy of some post-apocalyptic Olympian, the bare-chested fuzzgod filled his time with manic star-jumps, solo-moshes and leg-kicks, barely able to stand still for a hamster’s heartbeat. Gawking over the crowd with full-moon eyes and a stuck-out tongue, he was like Shaggy’s Swedish cousin who chose crude oil and rocket fuel over Scooby snacks.
The first half of the set was full high octane. The industrial likes of ‘Gehenna’ sent sprawling sections of the crowd fist-pumping and foot-stomping. Things sagged for a time for the spacier ‘Calm Before The Storm’ as if the band had dropped down to cruise control. But they whacked the throttle back down hard for the surprising inclusion of ‘Mexico’, a fuzz-blues gas-guzzler from the very start of their career. After a brief drum-solo from El Danno, they followed up with the equally head-bangable ‘Atomic’. Dango’s energy levels hit critical; he skipped about the stage like a frenzied shaman in a lightning storm, and slammed his fist into his guitar like it’d been rude to his mother. Ozo was the perfect foil, courting hysterical roars from the crowd with just a wry grin and the wag of a finger.
For their encore (if it can really be called that), Ozo asked the loaded question ‘Do you guys like long songs?’ With an answer in the form of yet more berserk cries, Truckfighters performed the musical mammoth that is ‘Mastodont’. Fourteen minutes in the studio, here stretched to a brain-squelching thirty-two. There were highs, lows, softs, heavies. Dramatic pauses, and earth-shattering returns. It was a Desert Rock odyssey, and Truckfighters were the sweat-soaked bards. They closed the night off with biggest hit ‘Desert Cruiser’. Ozo didn’t even bother to sing by this point – the crowd had that covered.
You can get very lyrical about Truckfighters’ unique sound. Some have spent years studying their pedals, amps, and gear to try and hone in on that sweet energetic sludginess. But ultimately, Truckfighters are not hard to sum up. They are the fuzziest thing known to human-kind. They’re heavy, they’re hefty, and their live shows will make you feel like an oil-slick reveller in some post-apocalyptic engine cult. If that’s your idea of a good time, then look no further.