WILD WILLY’S GANG – Camouflage

WILD WILLY'S GANG - Camouflage


Release date: 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Drummer “Wild” Willy Bendiksen is one of Norwegian Rock’s grand old men. When he teamed up with his friend and guitarist Ronni Le Tekro (TNT) some years ago, they most of all wanted to have fun. Through numerous performances playing cover songs, the jolly two and their fellow musicians have sure spread the joy. A while back, they figured with all the fun they’ve had so far, why not write some originals? … and so it was. The baby is called Camouflage and features 9 original songs and 1 good old cover.

The album offers a diverse mix of styles. The people making up this band all have CV’s to prove their skills in ditto styles, and it seems they have come together to pour from their vast experience to serve up a jolly good album for at least all familiar with the individual members of the Gang itself. Still, the album is mainly in a Classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal flavor.

First act out is “Goliath.” It has a strong Tekro identity with its super tight and heavy main riff. This identity also colors the solo, which has that typical Tekro “twang.” Other than this, the song is somewhat like a “Yellow Submarine,” suffering from over-repetition of not very interesting themes.

With “Burn The Puppet,” the intensity is kicked up a notch. The main riff is mighty cool! The arrangement also adds a neat dynamic texture to the verse, which would have been anything but dreadful without this! Most of all, the duet style vocals by main singer Jan Thore Grefstad is incredibly annoying in the long run. With the vocals mixed somewhere into the background, one is tempted to think the producers were not happy with the vocals either …

Title track “Camouflage” almost sounds like Jimi Hendrix joining Thin Lizzy, because of its slow and laid back kind of groove. Once again, the vocals are mixed somewhere behind, even if this song has a lot more to offer than its predecessor.

The fast and intense style of “Collision Course” also has something to offer, in spite of a weak melody and the drums (surprisingly!) sounding a little scanty. The album’s definite highlight comes via “Break Down,” much thanks to Tony Harnell’s soulful (sic!) contribution. Thanks to Harnell, the weaker verse and stronger chorus is lifted up to a respectful level. The song is pretty much down the TNT street, although the drums are mixed way up front again.

The TNT feel is carried on in “Time Alone,” however, with a less convincing outcome. The vocals are thrown into the back again and much is left up to the slightly funky guitar riff. Knock on wood: isn’t Tekro actually over-riffing here? Anyway, with “Just Another Antichrist” they slow down into some Black Sabbath goes Doom riff, where the muddy and distorted vocals leaves a certain Spinal Tap feel to the song. The more up-tempo solo is unmistakably Tekro, but with the drums sounding like Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), this track becomes “just another song.”

The album’s second peak comes in “Joinin’ The Crowd,” a 33-year old Norwegian Rock classic by Aunt Mary, featuring singer, songwriter, and guitarist Bjorn Christiansen from Aunt Mary itself! The sound is much darker than on the original, but the guitar solo and wrapping is otherwise very respectful. It also proves Aunt Mary’s good sense of melody and how well it has withstood their third of a century of existence.

Concluding Camouflage are “Peacock Dandy” and “Good Monkey,” where the first is another Yellow Submarine (in spite of its simple and efficient main riff) and the latter is a heavy piece that might work well live, but on the album makes 4 minutes seem like a very, very, very long time (… bad monkey!).

Wild Willy and his Gang show excellent skills in individual instrumental handling on Camouflage. Even the collective chemistry matches from time to time, but after several spins this album never really takes off. If forced to put just one word out on this album it has to be disappointing. One should expect creme de la creme of Norwegian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to come up with something better than this. But then again, it takes more than stars and stripes to make a flag and that’s why Camouflage becomes “just another album” …


Willy Bendiksen – drums
Ronni Le Tekro – guitars
Jan Thore Grefstad – vocals
Sid Ringsby – bass
Bernt Bodal – bass
Igor Gianola – guitars
Bjorn Christiansen – vocals “Joinin’ The Crowd”
Tony Harnell – vocals “Break Down”


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.