Wolfgang Van Halen returns with his follow-up album to his 2021 debut, Mammoth WVH. Mammoth II not only delivers a second offering of modern rock, but, quite impressively, establishes Wolfgang as a dynamic figure of virtuosic musicality as everything heard, front to back, on this sophomore release was recorded by Wolfgang himself.
Mammoth II opens with an absolute whirlwind of three songs. “Right?” kicks off the record with an electric riff and thunderous drums, followed by a monumental chorus while “Like A Pastime” plays with dissonance at breakneck speeds. The conclusion of this opening trio, “Another Celebration At The End Of The World” is an absolute banger of a modern rock track with a relentless pace that is pure adrenaline. With these opening songs, Wolfgang takes a classic tone of the last two decades – something very reminiscent of The Foo Fighters – and makes it entirely his own.
Without necessarily reinventing the wheel of the last 20 years, there are moments of greatness on Mammoth II that see Wolfgang find a refreshing take on the modern rock genre, often through an organic and constantly growing sense of songwriting while tastefully indulging in elements of classic rock. The bridge and solo section of “Take A Bow” is a fantastic example of how Wolfgang uses dynamics, space, and time to slowly layer growing tracks to create an impenetrable wall of sound. The brutal riff and off-beat pulse of “Optimist” and the closing, larger than life and momentous sway of “Better Than You” further demonstrate Wolfgang’s proficient voice as both a songwriting and performer.
Wolfgang Van Halen simultaneously continues to live up to his namesake while further demonstrating his own validity as an artistic powerhouse worthy of acclaim, praise, and excitement all on his own. If Mammoth II proves anything, it is that we no longer need to reference his father when introducing him, rather, Wolfgang has created his own context – something damn near impossible given the massive eruption that his father was to both popular music and the guitar — on a strong sophomore record that soars far past that benchmark he set on his debut record.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: MAMMOTH WVH – MAMMOTH II