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Album Review: Wolfgang Van Halen – Mammoth II

3 min read

Wolfgang Van Halen had already enjoyed a stellar performing career up until the founding of his own solo band, performing with the likes of the legendary Tremonti and Iron Maiden, and of course with his father Eddie Van Halen from 2006 until his tragic passing in 2020. After a very successful first album Mammoth WVH, Wolfgang comes back with yet another stomper of an album in Mammoth II, proving not just his ability to consistently produce pounding rock anthems and nasty guitar riffs, but also his ability to switch it up with varying dynamics and creative songwriting tools.

WVH comes swinging out the gate with the pounding Right?, a song which immediately shows off his impressive vocal range as he croons over the top of smoking hot guitar riffs and skull rattling drums. It’s not just an average energetic rock song though, with its inclusion of clean arpeggiated guitars in the verses that give it an entirely different feel to what you might expect. Leading on from this is Like a Pastime which sprinkles a surprising but well-done element of indie rock, as well as a very catchy chorus containing plenty of hooks and crowd-pleasing gang vocals. The lead single Another Celebration at the End of the World is easily one of the best songs on the album. The attitude shines through with visceral guitar riffs, a shrieking and dynamic guitar solo and an anthemic chorus that is sure to be a crowd favourite with his fans (not to mention a groove that will kick your teeth in).

Miles Above Me provides a slight respite from the high-octane rock that has carried the album so far and utilises different chord voicings to change the feel of the guitars in a way that separates the track from it’s peers without alienating it. Nowhere is WVH’s grasp of dynamic songwriting showcased better than on Take a Bow, the longest track on the album but it for sure doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Containing everything from soft, clean guitar to truly disgusting guitar riffs, everything that makes this album great comes together in this song yet never clashes, and it is truly the most epic track on this list.

One way in which this album stands above most modern rock records you might hear these days, is in its mixing, and the drums are the best example of this. In the song I’m Alright the snare resounds throughout the piece, and whilst the playing might be slightly stripped back compared to the other songs it fills the space without dominating it and drowning out the rest of the band. Bringing the energy right down is the classic power ballad Waiting, showcasing WVH’s softer lyrical side as well as his full vocal range, as the album reaches it’s most heartfelt and sorrowful peak.

Despite his extensive and impressive resume, Wolfgang Van Halen’s career would still appear to be in it’s early stages, but if his first two solo albums are anything to go by, we are looking at a future mainstay and icon of the hard rock scene, and surely we can expect much more to come from this incredibly talented songwriter.