Some people classify Van Halen as heavy metal. Others find their music to be more accurately described as hard rock. Either way, late guitarist Eddie Van Halen was one of the best ever at his instrument. Ever since Eddie’s son Wolfgang started playing music, his father raved about his talents. He called him a musical prodigy, playing drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and more.
Now comes the solo album debut of Wolfgang under the title Mammoth WVH. Wolfgang didn’t inherit the stunning good looks of his television star mother Valerie Bertinelli. He is a mammoth of a man. In fact, I’ve never seen a front man that big – but for Wolfgang it’s all about the music, and the music is damn good.
Wolfgang plays every instrument on his debut album. He also covers all lead and backup vocals. The album, produced and mixed by Michael “Elvis” Baskette, is a delight.
I would be inclined to classify Mammoth WVH as more hard rock than heavy metal, although Wolfgang does show some blistering lead guitar work on tracks like You’re to Blame that would make his father proud.
The song Distance is one of the chief standouts on the album. The bonus track was penned by Wolfgang as his father’s health deteriorated due to cancer. It is emotionally touching, and musically brilliant.
Other stand out songs on the Wolfgang Van Halen solo disc include: Don’t Back Down, Feel, and Think it Over. There is not a bad song on the album.
While some might think the name Mammoth WVH refers to Wolfgang’s size, it is actually a tribute to his late father. Before changing the band’s name to Van Halen and putting David Lee Roth on the mic, the group was originally named Mammoth and featured Eddie Van Halen as lead vocalist.
The Mammoth WVH debut album is a collection of songs that gets better with each listening. Every time I play the album, I hear little nuances that I didn’t notice before. It’s like music archeology.
Although Wolfgang played all the instruments on the album, a full band has been formed to tour. The lineup includes Frank Sidoris and Jon Jordan on guitar, Ronnie Ficarro on bass, and Garrett Whitlock on drums.
Wolfgang Van Halen’s Mammoth WVH is an album worth adding to your collection. Wolfgang has a surprisingly gentle voice and thrilling guitar dexterity for such a mountain of a man. You won’t be disappointed.
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