Born into the royal bloodline of his father, the late Eddie Van Halen, Wolfgang Van Halen is ready to mold his own legacy in Rock with his solo project known as Mammoth WVH. After much anticipation, Mammoth WVH released the long awaited self titled debut album, Mammoth WVH, on Friday, June 11, 2021 via Explorer1 Music.
From a very young age, Wolfgang was surrounded by music through both his father Eddie and of course Uncle Alex Van Halen. Just barely out of High School, Wolfgang joined Van Halen in 2007 and would be Van Halen’s bassist for the remainder of their tenure. Just as impressive, Wolfgang would even play in projects for other well known artists such as Tremonti and Clint Lowery of Sevendust. Sadly, in October of 2020, Eddie Van Halen passed away from a long and private battle with cancer. Though music fans lost one of their idols, Wolfgang lost his father and someone who inspired him towards his own musical journey.
In 2015, Wolfgang would join forces with veteran Producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Alter Bridge, Slash) to begin building the new Mammoth project. A diverse Rock music fan himself, Wolfgang took inspiration via everyone from Van Halen, to AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, TOOL, and Jimmy Eat World. Working with Baskette, Wolfgang really found his own voice and this can be heard by his compelling lead vocals. More impressive, Wolfgang wrote all of the songs himself and plays every instrument on Mammoth WVH. In the young musicians own words, Wolfgang says: “You only have one chance to make a first impression, and I wanted to do so to the best of my abilities. Throughout the whole process, I was finding who I am musically and by the end, I got a pretty good handle on a sound I can claim for myself.”
A playlist of 14 Modern Rock tracks, Mammoth WVH kicks off with a big melodic Van Halen like solo on the opening track “Mr. Ed.” Right away you can hear Wolfgang’s fearless young voice attaching to your emotions. Having said that, the track “Don’t Back Down” comes off super dynamic with a melodic rhythm and a fun back beat from the drums. The buck doesn’t stop there, as Mammoth WVH has a number of catchy Rock tracks. For instance, the song “Mammoth” captures a highly addictive musical back drop and hearing Wolfgang sing the line “Anything is Possible” is uplifting. In addition, tracks like “You’re To Blame,” You’ll Be The One,” and “The Big Picture” showcase Wolfgang’s innate ability to hone well written Rock tracks that will make you want to listen.
Aside from big Rock tracks, Mammoth WVH offers a fare share of really nice ballads. Songs like the infectious uptempo ballad “Think It Over” and the somber “Circles” respectively gift lots of good feel and are both great ballads. Saving the best for last, “Distance” was released not long after Eddie Van Halen’s death as a really awesome music video featuring family home movies of Wolfgang and Eddie through the years. As a song, Wolfgang has penned an undeniably open and emotional tribute to a man who will forever be so much more than the greatest guitarist ever, his father.
After one listen, we can honestly say the apple did not fall far from the tree and the proof is on Mammoth WVH. A week after being released, Mammoth WVH was a smash hit right out of the gate. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock, Hard Rock, and Indie Rock Charts, hit No. 2 for both Top Album Sales and Current Album Sales, and lastly Mammoth WVH debuted at No. 12 overall on the Billboard Top 200 – a feet we rarely see in Rock these days. Debuting in a big way, Cryptic Rock awards Mammoth WVH 5 out of 5 stars.