By Gruesome Greg
This Swedish trio is one of the hardest-working bands in stoner rock. Though it’s taken a little while longer than expected to get their fourth album out there, they’ve made up for it by touring and playing pretty much anywhere… except for Canada, that is.
Universe gets right down to dishing out those sweet stoner grooves that Sweden is known for (among those in the know, anyways). Of course, these guys are one of the reference points for Swedish stoner rock, right there with Lowrider and the Hellacopters, so to say it sounds like the Truckfighters would be a sufficient explanation for some. Spaced-out riffs, big, fuzzy choruses, soaring vocals—y’know, the whole nine yards.
“The Chairman” holds court for nearly eight minutes, and offers a dash of funk with its fuzz, though it’s mostly a laid-back desert rocker. The equally lengthy “Get Lifted” is even more mellow, wallowing in the mire for a while before delivering some hard-pounding, distorted downstrokes come chorus time. The album culminates in 14-minute epic “Mastodont,” which comes grooving up slowly, picking up the pace progressively to a type of amplified prog not unlike the band they’re mocking in its title. But there are still plenty of Nordic desert grooves here, adding a bit of a lighter feel in between some downright doomy passages. Basically, it still sounds like Truckfighters.