By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — Iconic stoner rock acts like Kyuss and Fu Manchu have inspired a legion of similarly styled amplifier worshipers throughout Europe, but perhaps nowhere more so than Sweden. Back in the early ’90s, fuzzed-out, down-tuned Nordic disciples like Dozer, Lowrider, and Spiritual Beggars proved Joshua trees and dry heat weren’t required to create compelling, psychedelic stoner grooves.

While powerful Swedish trio Truckfighters didn’t form until 2001, in the 15+ years since Oscar “Ozo” Cedermalm (bass, vocals) and Niklas “Dango” Källgren (guitar) founded the band, the band has established itself as one of the genre’s most tuneful purveyors of thunderous, psychedelic heavy rock. A pair of self-released EPs led Truckfighters to be signed to American imprint MetorCity Records, which put out the band’s full-length debut Gravity X in 2005.

With each successive effort, Truckfighters have continued to deliver a compelling combination of guitar heft and spacious jams that never skimp on memorable melodies. Heavy touring and a steady rotation of drummers led to a five-year between albums before finally releasing Universe in 2014. The stellar mix of urgent, riff-driven anthems and intricately layered epics like 13-minute album closer “Mastodont” proved the disc was well worth the wait.

Truckfighters return to the Bay Area this weekend on it’s current tour promoting last year’s mellower but still hard-hitting effort V released on the band’s own Fuzzorama imprint in partnership with Century Media. With its latest drummer Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson providing propulsive beats, the band brings touring partners and legendary desert rock pioneers Yawning Man (featuring founding members Gary Arce and Mario Lalli on guitars) and headbanging local openers War Cloud, a powerhouse quartet whose line-up includes current and former members of Saviours, Hell Fire and Wild Eyes. DJ Rob Metal spins heavy music before and between bands.

Friday, March 17, 9 p.m. $15
Bottom of the Hill


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