Review Summary: Fuzz. Get some.
You find yourself walking one day, in a place you've never been before. There is a cool breeze on your face and a pleasant sun on your back. You pass by rows of destitute houses with dusty porches and boarded-shut windows. Somewhere, a rusty swing set sways in the breeze. Something catches your eye. On the side of one of the houses, someone had written "nowhere to go but anywhere" in black spray-paint. You stop for a moment to regard the phrase and then continue your casual journey through nowhere. You step over a crumbling curb into a dusty street. That's when you hear the noise. It’s coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once. It’s so loud that it shuts out everything else. So loud that you don’t even hear the horn.
and that’s when it hits you...
Sixteen wheels of fury hit you straight in the face and send you flying. Strangely, it doesn't hurt; it feels like you've been struck by a ten ton feather pillow. You hit the road and begin to skid, but its no longer a road, its a thousand mile long, shag carpet and you're lying on it, watching the world around you go black. Then you're falling, and the carpet is all around you, absorbing you, pulling you in. Its pitch black, and everything feels fuzzy. The words drift back into your mind... nowhere to go but anywhere...
Truckfighters is truly a unique band. Hailing from Sweden, Truckfighters is a hard rock/stoner metal outfit with a serious fuzz fetish and a surprisingly laid back feel. Phi, is Truckfighter's second release, and it's one hell of an album.
Despite having a vocalist, a decent chunk of Phi is instrumental. Were not talking thirty-second instrumentals throughout the song, were talking full-blown five minute instrumental songs and a nearly seven minute jam at the end of Chameleon. When the vocals DO come in they are blended seamlessly into the background and usually filtered through heavy distortion. The majority of the vocal parts sound as if they were recorded through a cheap walkie-talkie or an old radio. The clean vocals always sound warped and as if they were being heard from a distance, adding to the stoned effect of Phi.
Another thing that makes Phi unique is that it defies the standards of hard rock completely. Typical hard rock is made up of verses and choruses dominated by a vocalist, and broken up by intermittent guitar/bass fills and the occasional solo. The typical song from Phi is comprised verses dominated by fuzz laden guitars and broken up with short, stoner vocalist segments, in other words, the guitarists basically have control of the entire album.
As aforementioned, Truckfighters are a very fuzz heavy band, sporting a guitar sound similar to fuzz legends, Fu Manchu, and for the most part, the riffs are ***ing heavy. Despite having an extremely in-your-face tone, Phi is surprisingly smooth as laid back. The waves of fuzzy guitar almost feel as if they are slowly being poured into your ear. The bass, which is actually audible throughout the album, has a very similar feel. The nice rounded melodies of the lead guitar fused to the bassy rhythms create a clean and luscious atmosphere for the band to experiment with. The shining moment of Phi is without question, The Game, featuring a spine-tingling into and an uncharacteristically vicious chorus riff.
The perfect atmosphere of Phi is finished off with the drums. For the most part, the drummer avoids boring and formulaic fills, employing catchy rolls that rely heavily on the deeper sounding toms instead of the snare. Like the guitars, the drums are never too loud or intrusive, and they never infringe on the flow of the music. Many of the slower songs are capped off with excellently placed crash/ride hits that enhance the unbelievably smooth sound.
Phi is an excellent album, and an opportunity that any hard-rocker (or stoner) should take up immediately. That’s about all I have to say.
Look both ways before crossing the street.