WIG WAM – Never Say Die

WIG WAM - Never Say Die
  • 9/10
    WIG WAM - Never Say Die - 9/10


Frontiers Music
Release date: January 22, 2021

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Leaders of the old school Wig Wam return with their first album in eight years, Never Say Die. Their fifth album, Never Say Die is a potent brew of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and Eighties Metal via the Sunset Strip, played with a modern flair. The hiatus seems to have served the Norwegian quartet well, as there really isn’t a weak note among the twelve songs on the collection, which has the band checking all the stylistic boxes of a top-shelf Eighties-esque release–there’s a few hard rocking singles, a power ballad, a guitar driven-instrumental, a scene-setting keyboard intro, and an anthemic show-closer in “Silver Lining”. Despite the familiarity of the individual elements, Wig Wam avoid sounding trite or cliche through the excellence of their performance and song writing.

After the moody suspense set by the airy, post-apocalyptic keyboards of “The Second Crusade”, Wig Wam blasts into “Never Say Die”, deservedly earning the album’s title. Singer Åge Sten Nilsen kills on this track, providing an “Immigrant Song” background chant along with his typically strong, clear delivery of the main vocal. Wig Wam employs solid harmony vocals throughout the album to great effect, they shine particularly well on this lead single. “Hypnotized” follows, a track containing flashes of Whitesnake and Tony Martin era Black Sabbath. The cut features a great solo from Trond Holter, one of the hardest hitting on the album.

Wig Wam unleashes their inner Texans on “Kilimanjaro”, a good ol’ boy singalong somehow made nearly radical with the anti-drug lyrical sentiment. The track and follow-up “Where Does It Hurt” provide excellent examples of one of Wig Wam’s chief assets: their flexibility. One can pick out several antecedents on each track–there’s some George Lynch in “Where Does It Hurt”, a dash of Bon Jovi in “Kilimanjaro”, some Bruce Kulick here and there, especially in the solos–but just when you think Wig Wam will continue down a well-traveled road, they drive off in a parallel–but different–direction.

Åge powers much of this flexibility as he possesses an impressive emotional range, credibly handling the hard rocking tunes as well as the softer material like power ballad “My Kaleidoscope Ark”. Holter cuts loose on the instrumental “Northbound”, and, like Åge, one can hear a number of his reference points but he distinguishes himself through the blending of styles. One can hear inflections from the guitarists previously mentioned, along with Vito Bratta, Tracii Guns, and several others, but the combinations are fresh and new.

Despite being front -loaded with great rockers, the standout gem from Never Say Die is the poignant “Silver Lining” closing the album, an introspective slow building tune filled with hope and optimism, an excellent musical antidote to these poisonous times.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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