Wig Wam - Wigwamania
Napalm Records
Melodic Hard Rock / Party Rock
12 songs (45:03)
Release year: 2006
Wig Wam, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Mike

Wow, don't judge a book (or CD) by it's cover, eh? These guys don't exactly have a stylish look, but luckily that is no indication of the quality of the music inside. This Norwegian band is playing melodic hard rock / party rock in the 1980's style, but with the sound quality and energy provided by today's technology. As you can tell from the CD cover, Wig Wam has a crazy image much like another band, The Darkness. However, Wig Wam has a vocalist that actually sings instead of going over the top every single second of the record. Wig Wam has created a very fun album in Wigwamania, but it is also a very serious effort to create a classy, high quality product. The musical performances and songwriting on this album are simply fantastic. Anyone who owns a single Kiss, Poison, or Def Leppard album needs to hear Wigwamania! Fans of German melodic rock bands such as Fair Warning and Bonfire will surely gooble this one up as well.

The album blasts off with 3 uptempo rock anthems after an instrumental intro track. Notably, Slave to Your Love features an acoustic verse, but explodes into a huge chorus that hooks you instantly. Rock My Ride (the opener) and Gonna Get You Someday are simply big rocking anthems that are big on harmony vocals and hooks. Despite the galm-o-rific look of the band, Wig Wam are all about well played, big sounding melodic hard rock. The lead vocalist sound a lot like Dream Evil's Niklas Isfeldt, but in a hard rock environment as opposed to the heavy metal sound of Dream Evil. The harmony vocals and hooks take a page from the history of Def Leppard, as does the production and guitar tone at times. Speaking of the production, the sound of this album is very slick, but not in a sterile way that strips the emotion from the songs. We all know how big a part Mutt Lange was to Def Leppard's sound of the 80's. Wig Wam have captured the same top notch sound quality in this album, which goes a long way to make the songs hit the listener with even more urgency.

Let's get back to the music at hand. The power ballad, Bygone Zone provides a momentary breather after the three bombastic anthems that precede it. Full of passionate guitar playing and layered harmony vocals, this track would have been a big hit alongside all those power ballads from the 80's had it been on the radio at that time. Despite it being a ballad, the song is full of impact and passion. Dare Devil Heat pick things up again with another big, guitar driven rocking anthem. This track features another over the top harmony vocal display that you won't forget any time soon. But, if you're listening to an album like this, why would you want the songs to be forgettable? Some subtle guitar licks are really made to stand out by the superior production job on this album. I really appreciate the effort that was put into the sonics of this album; simply excellent! Kill My Rock 'N' Roll sounds a little like The Darkness' Dinner Lady Arms, but of course, without the way over the top vocals that The Darkness is known for. Again, Wig Wam gives us yet another hook laden, harmony vocal rich anthem to sink our teeth into. An instrumental The Riddle follows up, providing another momentary breather from all the anthemic rock we've been treated to thus far. The tempo is a bit slowed down on this track, but not by much. Some really impressive shredding is on display here, and again, the outstanding production amplifies the impact even more. The End of the Day is the album's other ballad, a decent one, but not as good as Bygone Zone. It's a fitting choice to balance the pace for the album, and for the number 9 spot on the album. A R 'N' R Girl Like You is a pure party rock track that would make Poison proud. While Poison is busy with their nostalgia tour instead of writing new music, it's nice to hear a newcomer bust out kick ass party rock like this track. Can't Get Her (Out of My Bed) and Breaking All The Rules are a couple of humorous tracks that round out the album. Although neither track is as catchy or hook laden as the rest of the album, they feature some cool guitar work and fun lyrics which make them worthy of listening.

Leave it to the Europeans to continue the trend of quality melodic hard rock that seemingly completely died in North America the day Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit debuted. Although there are some quality hard rock bands on the western side of the Atlantic, Wig Wam is just one of a growing number of quality melodic hard rock bands such as Brother Firetribe, The Poodles, and veterans such Bonfire and Fair Warning on the other side of the pond.

Killing Songs :
Rock My Ride, Slave to Your Love, Gonna Get You Someday, Daredevil Heat, Kill My Rock 'n' Roll
Mike quoted 89 / 100
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