Wig Wam: ‘Out of The Dark’
OUT OF THE DARK
Released on February 10, 2023 (Frontiers Music Srl)
Review from Marcelo Vieira:
When the Peacemaker series opening credits introduced Wig Wam to a world beyond that hard rocker niche that knew them, I was seized by a protectionism as silly as the one that afflicted some Metallica fans during the last season of Stranger Things. It is likely that many of those who enjoyed “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” and even learned the choreography had no idea who was the performer, which country was he from, in which space-time was the song recorded. And you know what? Despite the typical old-fashioned jealousy, there’s nothing wrong with that. The more people, the better!
This sudden interest, whose main consequences were the Norwegian group’s debut on the US charts and their first tour of the country, may not even have been the predominant factor, but it certainly influenced Glam (Åge Sten Nilsen, vocals), Teeny (Trond Holter, guitar), Flash (Bernt Jansen, bass) and Sporty (Øystein Andersen, drums) to dedicate more time from their busy schedules to writing material and, riding on the hype, release their new studio album.
Sixth in the discography and second since the resumption of activities in 2019, Out of The Dark consolidates the good moment of the quartet, which dribbles the perverse majesty of age without seeming to be four old men with Peter Pan syndrome. What can be read between the lines is the legitimacy that is often lacking in musicians seen as glam veterans — Sporty, for example, started in the 1980s as the drummer for Sha-Boom — who make up themselves from head to toe as if the attire would bring them back the glories of the past.
This character spills over into the songs, and in this regard too, the boys are champions, even when they commit the “deadly sin” which is, from the point of view of the most purists, admitting influences from other styles in the sound recipe. The first of them is already manifested right away, in the title track, which is also the opening track: typically heavy metal guitars, both in the rhythm and in the lead, wrapped in a climate that borders on industrial metal. The music video, in this specific case, is far from working as a mitigating factor: despite containing an “involuntary bespoke humor”, the setting is unattainably sinister.
The balance continues to weigh more towards the metal side in the semi-autobiographical “High ‘N’ Dry”, which, like its predecessor, includes a clean and smooth passage by way of preparation to the last chorus. “Forevermore” sounds like a distant cousin — who plays RPG — of “Kilimanjaro”, one of the highlights of Never Say Die (2021). The half-southern, half-tribal intro is followed by a mid-tempo power metal structure from the 1990s that matches the lyrics worthy of motivating troops on the battlefield.
The first proper hard rock tune follows with the irresistible “Bad Luck Chuck” and its chorus sung in gang vocals, but “Uppercut Shazam” puts the record back on the heavy track. With very up-to-date lyrics about a common practice these days, “Ghosting You” recalls the most mocking beginnings of the quartet in content; in shape, it’s the hard ‘n’ metal of the present. Now here comes the ballad; and what a ballad! At first listen, “The Purpose” already projects itself beyond the grooves and claims a place among the best songs ever made by Wig Wam, which has not delivered such emotion since “Bygone Zone” in Wig Wamania (2006). In addition to Glam’s perfect and faultless interpretation, an outpouring of feeling in Teeny’s solo. Ear candy settings have been successfully updated.
Again in the realm of guesswork, the sudden interest of the American public may have inspired the hard-hitting roadster “The American Dream”. But the song is far from being a boastful ode to that country, sounding more like a dissection of the so-called “American Dream” that is dreamed of by many, but comes true only for a few. The reflective character, although different, is still manifest in the next track, the instrumental “79” and its very strong dramatic load. “God By Your Side” (and its main riff derived from Alice in Chains’ “We Die Young”), “Sailor and the Desert Sun” (punctuated by Zakk Wylde-esque guitar harmonics), arguably the weakest links in the chain, seal the audition.
I can’t deny that at first listens it was difficult to assimilate Out of The Dark. Whether due to high expectations or past benchmarks, it is impossible to say; maybe for both. But the truth is that, whether playing the hard party music for which it stood out at the dawning of the 2000s, or expanding its horizons towards heavier sounds, Wig Wam continues to do well and the resumption of its activities continues to be a reason for celebration and gratitude.
Review from wrestlingepicenter.com:
My first CD purchase of 2023 has arrived and it is the latest from the Norwegian band Wig Wam. I’ve been a fan of Wig Wam‘s for a little bit now after coming late to the party discovering them through a combination of Sleaze Roxx news articles and YouTube’s suggested videos. I reviewed their last offering, Never Say Die, so it should not be much of a surprise that I opened up Microsoft Word as I listened to the newest offering, Out of The Dark, and started making notes to prepare for this review. And, well, you’re reading it now. So, I’ve formulated said notes into my usual somewhat coherent review. Lets go!
The title track kicks off the album and there isn’t a big cinematic entrance. The crunching, heavy guitars kick in right away as Trond Holter shreds it. The first track sounds like it could have fit on Never Say Die. Catchy hard rock with an attitude and Åge Sten Nilsen‘s melodic sensibility. While I might have enjoyed a 30 second cinematic intro, we were off to a pretty bad ass start! “High ‘N’ Dry” is up next. I got in trouble with some for suggesting Chez Kane‘s last album had some country influences. WIll I get in trouble for saying this has country influences, especially in the chorus? Tell me you can’t picture a country gal in tight jeans and a cowboy hat swinging her hips on the dance floor to this chorus! In fact, let me ponder that for a few minutes…. All right! I’m set to continue. Great song though I don’t know if I dig the southern swing in it or not. Very catchy, though. Very indeed!
“Forevermore” is next. This was the first single I saw put up on YouTube. So, there’s a joke I’ll share here. A pirate captain is approached by one of his men, “Sir, we have an enemy ship approaching!” “All right! Bring me my red shirt!” “Why, captain?” “So if I get shot in the battle, you won’t see the blood and get worried about me.” A few minutes later, the same crew member approaches the captain and says, “Sir, there are five enemy ships approaching!” “All right! Bring me my brown pants!” Did you get that joke? Well, if so. These European bands should package every pirate sea shanty inspired song in a brown jacket. That goes for this one. That goes for Sabaton‘s “World War II” themed pirate song which makes less than any sense. That isn’t to say that the songs aren’t catchy. But, I don’t want to listen to rock songs that remind me of the boat rocking while on the Pirates of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Again, the song is catchy. But, eh. Not for me.
“Bad Luck Chuck” is next. This brings the album back to sanity! With a little bit of a Van Halen flavor and that Wig Wam swing from “Do You Want To Taste It”, this one is a sleazy, glam metal classic in its own time. It cooks, Daddy-O! “Uppercut Shazam” is up next and it’s very much in the same wheelhouse, more nodical references, of the title track. Good stuff that kind of has Åge starting to sound a little bit like the Scorpions‘ Klaus Meine. “Ghosting You” is next and it has that classic Wig Wam swing from the opening guitar to the last note. Great stuff. It is immediately followed up by “The Purpose” which is the ballad on the album. Oddly, the ballad is about as driving as Bret Michaels‘ new song “Back In The Day” which he considers a real rocker. I only bring that up because a few lyrics in this softer song have the same principles as the idea behind “Back in The Day” only this is a ballad and doesn’t stink on ice. Very nice song and one for the ladies. Sexist? Yeah, I’ll own it.
“The American Dream” is next. This song had an uphill battle for me as I’m a proud American and I would fight for her with my dying breath. While there are lyrics like, “Because I’m trapped inside the American Dream, This ain’t quite what it seems.” I don’t get the feeling that this is bashing the USA so I’ll continue with my review. Very catchy song, very cool song. Leave it to the European sleaze rockers to write songs about America as Crazy Lixx did with “Anthem For America” on Street Lethal and now Wig Wam have. The truth is this, folks. The “American Dream” is real. No one said it was a hand-out. No one said it was easy. The “American Dream” is your ability to bust your ass and get your just desserts. That concept has been bastardized by political parties, pop culture, and the like. But, at the end of the day, it is real. It is still there. And, if my country stopped living life believing what they are told and instead got off their ass and worked like the generations before us did… Well, we’d all be living the “American Dream”… If you will, baby. That last part is a shout out to my wrestling fans. Anyway, rant aside… Good song with good lyrics. Just hits a smidge close to home.
“79” is an instrumental. Catchy. But, not much to say about it. That is followed up immediately by “God By Your Side”. While this one has a more onimous approach and Åge‘s vocals aren’t in his trademark pitch, the song is really good. Oddly, this song has the most modern vibe to it yet I can’t help hearing Stephen Pearcy of Ratt doing a like song to this on either a new Ratt album or one of his solo releases. Very interesting that a song that modern sounding would invoke such a thought. “Sailor And The Desert Sun” wraps the album. The single should be sold in a brown label! That’s called a call-back, kids! Another sea inspired song…. I mean, it is catchy. So is the first one “Forevermore”. But, it just isn’t what I want to hear.
In the end, this is a good album with a few songs that miss the mark. I’d rather hear songs like this forever and a day than what passes for new rock on our radio dials. The production is so crisp and clean, I wish L.A. Guns would hire the producer! But, this is a good Wig Wam release. While the guitars might have gotten heavier and some of the messaging doesn’t exactly jive with me as much as prior offerings of Wig Wam, I’d still give this a solid 8 skull and cross bones out of a pile of pixie dust. Good stuff from a great band! Can’t wait for the next one!
01. Out of The Dark
02. High ‘N Dry
04. Bad Luck Chuck
05. Uppercut Shazam
06. Ghosting You
07. The Purpose
08. The American Dream
10. God By Your Side
11. Sailor And The Desert Sun
Glam (Åge Sten Nilsen) – vocals
Teeny (Trond Holter) – guitars
Flash (Bernt Jansen) – bass
Sporty (Øystein Andersen) – drums
Reviewed by Marcelo Vieira and wrestlingepicenter.com for Sleaze Roxx, February 2023
Wig Wam‘s “Out of The Dark” video:
Wig Wam‘s “High ‘N Dry” lyric video:
Wig Wam‘s “Forevermore” lyric video: