Wolfgang Van Halen toys with polyrhythms on anthemic new Mammoth WVH track, Like a Pastime

Wolfgang Van Halen performs with Mammoth WVH at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, Georgia on October 23, 2021
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Wolfgang Van Halen has premiered Like a Pastime, the second single (and second track) from Mammoth II, the sophomore full-length album from his Mammoth WVH project. 

The follow-up to the album's tapping-heavy lead single, Another Celebration at the End of the World – which dropped in March – Like a Pastime takes the Grammy-nominated outfit's sound in intriguing new directions. 

Like a Pastime "centers around a 4/4-time signature, but with a polyrhythm on top," Van Halen explains in a press release. 

"I was teaching my fiancé what a polyrhythm is, and I stumbled upon this idea. The kick drums are accentuating it. It’s certainly one of my favorites and a completely different vibe than anything on the first album.”

Indeed, the propulsive track has an almost-U2-like feel in its more atmospheric verses, before it explodes into an anthemic chorus.

You can give it a spin below.

Stretching Mammoth WVH's sound, Van Halen told Guitar World in an interview earlier this year, was an integral part of his plan for Mammoth II when he began recording the album last October.

"I think on this current material, you can hear me challenging myself a bit more," Van Halen explained to GW. "I’ve gotten more confident and I know what the project is now, rather than trying to figure out what it was from the start, like on [Mammoth WVH's self-titled 2021 debut album].

“On the debut there was this width of what the project was – on the left you had songs like Distance and Circles, those softer vibes, and on the right you had tracks like Stone and The Big Picture. In the middle, there were songs like Mammoth or Epiphany and stuff like that. What I want to do with this album is widen what that breadth is. 

“Further left, for example, there’s a song that’s all on piano... so it has more of a softer vibe. But on the right, there’s some really heavy shit in comparison to the debut! That’s what I find really exciting, it’s fun to stretch the definition of Mammoth on both sides.” 

Mammoth II is set for an August 4 release via BMG Records, and can be pre-ordered now.

For tickets and more info on Mammoth WVH's forthcoming 2023 North American and European tour dates, visit the band's website.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.