NEVER SAY DIE
Released in January 22, 2021 (Frontiers Music Srl)
Wig Wam were a band that I became aware of in a round about way. There was a band named Lordi, who may well still exist but I’ve checked out after a few duff records following their real solid debut album. That band got famous for being an unapologetic hard rock or heavy metal band on a Eurovision American Idol style show and made enough waves to reach me in the United States. A few people said if I liked them, another band did something like that but with more of a glam metal vibe a few years before. That band? Guess who? Wig Wam! And, they were right.
Wig Wam are much more in my wheelhouse when it comes to their approach to music. Quietly, over the past few years, I’ve become a big fan of their stuff with Non Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll becoming my favorite album by these guys. They broke up as bands do and singer Åge Sten Nilsen formed a fantastic band called Ammunition who released two albums, one from 2014 called Shanghaied that blows my mind and which is virtually impossible to find in tangible format but is online free for streaming legally or illegally with minimal effort, and a 2018 self-titled effort that just blows. I’m kidding. It isn’t as good as Shanghaied but that was a high mark to meet though it does have fantastic catchy hard rock songs that should be heard.
In 2019, Wig Wam reformed and they put out the first video in 2020 called “Never Say Die”, the title track to the new album. It is heavier than their prior efforts but with the same pop metal appeal. And, such is the whole album! Some highlights on the album include the title track “Never Say Die” which gets a lengthy intro that has its own track on the CD. The lyrics are great and oddly fit the current political climate in the United States. I will let you work that one out for yourselves. Politics divide and I’d like you to keep reading my material.
“Hypnotized” is the next track up and it has a very Whitesnake vibe. I could easily have heard a song like this on one of the 21st century Whitesnake albums such as Good To Be Bad or Flesh & Blood. “Shadows of Eternity” is next. Very grooving rhythm section here with some awesome guitar hooks. The song has a European power metal vibe to it in my estimation but has pretty catchy lyrics. I really like this track. “Kilimanjaro” is next and it is the second single I heard off the album put out on YouTube. When I heard it, I wasn’t a huge fan. But, on the album, in the sequence it appears, I must admit I like it. It has a modern country vibe which often times is more rock and roll than what is considered rock and roll these days. “I never did coke, I never did grass, but that never stopped me from being a jackass.” Yeah, pretty much sums me up. Great track that sincerely grew on me after my initial uncertainty about it.
Musically and vocally, “Where Does It Hurt” is the most brooding song I’ve ever heard Wig Wam do. Menacing, down-turned guitars at times and Åge‘s delivery, especially during the song title of the chorus, is almost sinister. I like it in a vacuum. I wouldn’t want this to be the band’s sound all the time. But, just as “Kilimanjaro” fits in the sequence of the album, so does this track. “My Kaleidoscope Ark” is a ballad that stays a ballad and doesn’t suddenly become a banger. It is a very well written song with touching lyrics and great vocals. I keep searching my musical memory banks because I am sure aspects of the hooks on the song remind me of another song from history. But, to this point, I’ve failed to pinpoint what it kind of sort of sounds like.
“Dirty Little Secret” has heavy guitar and punches you right in the teeth when you first hear the music of it. The lyrical content is a little more in the realm of the Scorpions during their ’80s, early ’90s best. Very glam metal delivery here that really has all the cock rock swagger of Cinderella, the Scorpions, and Mötley Crüe in their youth. “I don’t want to be your Dirty Little Secret, satisfy your needs of a heavy metal lover boy!” I have to say, I think this may well be my favorite track on the album! “Call of The Wild” continues on from where the last track left off. With vocals that almost sound like Faster Pussycat at times mixed with a chorus that Crazy Lixx must be jealous of, this one is truly special. A hair metal song to give us hope for a great 2021! “Northbound” is an instrumental. It is solid. Not quite as powerful as my favorite hard rock instrumental, Dokken‘s “Mr. Scary.” But, it’s a nice change of pace.
“Hard Love” is up next and it has a bluesy vibe with the heavy sound of the rest of this album. Just as “Hypnotized” sounded a bit like something Whitesnake would put forth, so does this track but it has more of a classic Whitesnake vibe back to their bluesy, pre-1987 days. It isn’t quite as catchy as some of the other songs but if it was on a weaker album, this would stand out even more than it does here. “Silver Lining” is the final track and is a little bit of a ballad but I get flashbacks to the greatness of The Beatles here. It has that dynamic sound with powerful lyrics but a melody you could hum in the shower going for it. It really exemplifies just how awesome this band is and is the right way to end this album.
All in all, Wig Wam‘s latest effort is a fantastic rock and roll album that is unapologetically glam metal with an edge. If you are a fan of more modern, new wave of hair metal (if that is a phrase we’re still using) bands like Crashdïet or Crazy Lixx, you should be a fan of these guys. I do find that when I talk about Wig Wam with fellow rock fans, there is a hesitance to admit they dig them too from the other side. Not quite like admitting you like Winger after Beavis and Butthead unfairly eviscerated them in the mid ’90s. But, perhaps because they are a band that made its name due to a typically pop driven reality TV show contest, there is a feeling like they’re not as legit as other bands? I don’t know how to explain how others feel about them. I certainly don’t feel that way. These guys are a very talented group of musicians who make music that is exactly what I’m looking for. So, put aside any of that bias stuff and listen for the material and you might find you really like it. I did.
01. The Second Crusade (intro)
02. Never Say Die
04. Shadow Of Eternity
06. Where Does It Hurt
07. My Kaleidoscope Ark
08. Dirty Little Secret
09. Call of The Wild
10. Northbound (instrumental)
11. Hard Love
12. Silver Lining
Åge Sten Nilsen aka Glam — vocals
Trond Holter aka Teeny — guitars
Bernt Jansen aka Flash — bass
Øystein Andersen aka Sporty — drums
Wig Wam‘s “Never Say Die” video:
Wig Wam’s “Kilimanjaro” video: