ARTIST: MAMMOTH WVH
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4TH 2023
REVIEWER: ANDREW TREADWELL
Album number 2 for some artists ends up being referred to as the sophomore jinx, where it doesn’t match the success of the first album. Wolfgang Van Halen made sure that the jinx was not only broken but shattered into a million pieces with the second Mammoth WVH outing appropriately titled II
Once again Wolf is the one man band playing all the instruments on the album and doing all the vocals, and like the first album, the new one was produced by now Mammoth Family Member. Michal “Elvis” Baskette at 5150 Studios. While some things remain the same, there is one thing that stands out on II for me. The power! Not that the debut album wasn’t powerful, hell, it was my album of the year in 2021, but the new album just steps it up with power and aggression.
The album opener “Right?” kicks you right in the teeth and you know Wolf has not come to play. He means business and wants you all to know it . “Like A Pastime” is up next and another aggressive track but the one thing in this one is how amazing Wolf constructs a melody, not just on this track but the whole album.
“Another Celebration At The End Of The World ” is a damn mouthful to say but Wolf takes it all in his stride with a song that mixes pop, punk and rock into one for me, and seriously has one of the greatest videos ever made for a song. You should all check it out (when you finish reading this review of course)
“Miles Above Me” is one of my standouts on the album with the vocals soaring to a higher place and a melody that will never leave your brain, and it shows Wolf’s true vocal ability as the clean tones in his voice really shine through on this one.
“Take A Bow” is the ultimate guitar hero song, where Wolf flexes his muscles a bit, but like anything he does he plays for the song. The whole album (and the first album for that matter) is like this. The song is king and always will be.
“Optimist” has a dark dark vibe, the riffs in this one are just huge. You cannot escape the guitars on this one, it’s a sledgehammer waiting for the stage, as is the next song and my favorite on the album “I’m Alright”. This song has a set opener spot written all over it and while it’s a lot simpler than the other songs on the album, that is what makes the song so great. It’s a damn fun track which will have crowds from clubs to stadiums the world over singing along in no time.
“Erase Me” has that 2000’s power pop vibe which Wolf does to perfection, which shows that Wolf has no desire to stay in any lane or be molded to suit what people want from him or think he should be doing
“Waiting” is just that epic ballad we all know and love, with Wolf singing to a loved one over bright and wide guitars. The song brings a lighter air to the album and its a fantastic step back from the more powerful songs, which is certainly the album closer “Better Than You” which kicks you in the ass on your way out the door
Wolf and his talent has proven it stands on his own, and yes there is a rich family lineage but if you haven’t realized the shear talent in this dude, that is all of his own, you clearly listen with your eyes, or your keyboard warrior fingers. I can see this album being close to my top for 2023 just as the debut was in 2021, and I know Wolf is eager to hit Aussie shores next year, and I for one cant wait.