It probably was easy to dismiss the debut album from Mammoth WVH. Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, the chubby kid who replaced the beloved Michael Anthony on bass in Van Halen’s latter days? Releasing an album under the name Mammoth, which was the name of an early version of his father and uncle’s band? You’d assume he’d try to ride his late father’s coat tails.
And you’d be so fucking wrong. Wolfgang Van Halen wrote, played and recorded every note on this record. It’s all him, and it sounds great. Recorded at his father’s 5150 studio, the album is a solid rock record that draws a lot from bands of the last 25 years and pretty much nothing from his father’s music. His musicianship is solid all the way through without ever reaching for any sort of acrobatics, and he plays with the appropriate gusto and sincerity that makes this instantly likeable. And Wolfgang has shown himself to be a cool headed, well adjusted guy, who’s easy to like, as he’s settling in his role of keeper of his father’s legacy.
If there’s anything disappointing with the album, it’s probably that his voice, as strong as it is, isn’t particularly memorable, and that there are no hooks that really stick with you. But the songwriting is strong, and I find myself sucked into the album every time I play a song. It’s definitely one of the best rock records of the last few years.
If you like modern rock, listen to this record. It’s been 8 years in the making, and it’s worth it.