Category Archives: CD Reviews

Giant X CD Review: I

Giant X

CD review: I

By: Tj Fowler

Release Date Europe:                             January 21st, 2013
Release Date Germany:                          January 18th, 2013
Release Date USA/Canada:                   January 22nd, 2013

Label: Steamhammer / SPV 

Giant X


I recently was given the opportunity to review a CD of the side project of Running Wild’s frontman and founder Rolf Kasparek and fellow collaborator Peter Jordan, who has also worked with Rolf since 2005 in Running Wild and another side project of theirs, Toxic Taste.

I have been a big Running Wild fan for many years and actually consider them one my favorite bands.  When Rolf decided to call an end to Running Wild in 2009 (Though, Rolf just released a new RW album ‘Shadowmaker’ in 2012 and a new album is planned for 2013), I was a bit sad but also I could understand his reasoning.  It seemed like he was ready to try some new things and that maybe the subject matter of the songs in Running Wild was running its course for him at the time.

So what did Rolf and company have up their sleeves outside of Running Wild during this time span?  The first offering was a band called Toxic Taste with their CD Toxification which consisted of songs that were very punk rockfish/glam party tunes.  Which was a big departure from Running Wild pirate songs.  Next up in early 2013 we have Giant X with their debut album ‘I’.

So the questions here are, ‘Is it good?’, ‘Is it bad?’, ‘Is there anything that Running Wild fans have to look forward to here?’ and the all important question, ‘Is it hotter than Megan Fox?’.   Well the good news is, is that it’s not a bad album.  The bad news is, that it’s not hotter than Megan Fox…actually…maybe that’s good news too.  I don’t want to think of Rolf as Megan Fox.  Read on for my review!

‘I’, as an album, is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what works and what doesn’t.  You have songs that range from more of a hard rock serious tone, to songs that are more party oriented and two songs that are blues based.  There is even a ballad thrown in for good measure.  How does it all work?  Well let’s start with the Hard Rock tunes shall we!

The opening track of the album after the intro is ‘On a Blind Flight’.  To me this is by far the strongest of the hard rock tunes on the album, and one of the best songs overall on the album.   The guitar sounds good and Rolf’s voice has a bite to it that makes the tune stand out and grabs the listener’s attention.  This also is probably the closest song that would resemble a Running Wild song in terms of how Rolf is singing and the speed/heaviness of it.  This is also how I wished Rolf continued to sing on the rest of the album’s more hard rock tracks.  There is something in his voice on this track where he seems more energized in how he is singing.  In the other songs he by no means is singing poorly but it also seems like he is in more of a relaxed mood or his voice hasn’t got that same kind of bite and meanness to it as it does in this song.

Some other of the hard rocking tracks such as ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Friendly Fire’ have a good driving guitar and ‘Now or Never’ has a good upbeat chorus to sing along to also.

Now on the flip side of the coin we have the party anthem songs.  The album sports about 3 to 4 of these.  These songs is where I don’t mind Rolf having a bit of more relaxed and fun feel to his voice as it suits the songs well.  The song, ‘Don’t Quit Until Tomorrow’ is very obviously a crowd participation song with the “Oh Oh OH..” parts.  It also reminds me something of a song you would hear from a pop rock 80’s band and maybe even in a soundtrack from a movie of that time.  The other party songs like ‘The Count’ is a very catchy tune, though when they actually start to count in the song it kind of put me off at first but after a few listens it’s not too bad(Though I don’t want to think I am listening to a Sesame Street episode either).  ‘The Count’ is also one of the tracks that could have easily been on the Toxic Taste album as it has a sound that is very similar to the songs on there.  ‘R.O.C.K.’ is the closing song on the album and also a tribute/party/nostalgic song that references other bands in the lyrics and is actually a good song to close out with as it is fun to listen to and kind of a sign off.

‘I’ also sports two blues based tunes that according to Peter Jordan was Rolf’s creation musically while Peter said he came up with the more heavier guitar sounds on the album.  The two blues songs ‘Badlands Blues’ and ‘Rough Tide’ musically sounds fine, with ‘Rough Tide’ having a heavy Mississippi Blues intro.  As for the songs themselves, they are ok not bad but also not my cup of tea as I am not a big into the blues much.

So what does Giant X’s ‘I’ have to offer a fan of Running Wild.  Well honestly, if you are looking for a Running Wild offering go pick up 2012’s Shadowmaker and wait for the new Running Wild album in 2013.  This is not meant to be a Running Wild album and it shouldn’t be.  It’s a Giant X album.

Now, what does it offer someone looking for a hard rock/party album?  ‘I’ gives several strong songs for the listener to enjoy such as ‘On a Blind Flight’, ‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow’, ‘The Count’ and ‘R.O.C.K’ and a few others.  Then it offers up some other decent songs to listen to and pass the time with.  The album doesn’t have any BAD songs as they are all listenable, fun and enjoyable.  The production on the album is well done, though I do wish it sounded a bit grittier and not so polished in some places.

So if you are looking for something that if a bit of a departure from your normal listening habits, Giant X’s ‘I’ is a nice diversion that won’t disappoint.  But it’s no Megan Fox!! Sorry Rolf!


Bourbon Boys ‘Shotguns, Trucks and Cattle’ CD Review

Bourbon Boys

Shotguns, Trucks and Cattle CD Review

By: TJ Fowler

Release Date February 2013


                Recently, I photographed a Sabaton concert in Oulu, Finland that had the Swedish Industrial Metal band Raubtier performing as one of the opening acts.  As per usual, after I finished editing my photos, submitting them to websites and getting them posted.   I contacted Raubtier to inform them that their photos had been posted and gave them the information to check them out.

My success rate at being contacted back from bands has been a bit spotty as bands and their management can be busy, don’t care about the photos or just have better things to do than email back a unknown photographer.  Well, as it turns out I did hear back from the management from Raubtier telling me they will check out the photos and add me to a mailing list for any upcoming releases.

So, it was from this mailing list I recently got an email from Despotz Records informing me of a band named Bourbon Boys from Sweden who will be releasing their debut Southern/Country Rock album in February.  The email also included a link where I could listen to the entire album and also gave me an opportunity to review the album.

Being from Tennessee and living outside of Nashville, the home of country music, I was interested in hearing what a Country/Rockabilly band from Sweden would sound like compared to what passes for country today coming out of Nashville.  What I found was a nice little surprise and an overall fun, enjoyable album to listen to.

The album ‘Shotguns, Trucks and Cattle’ is first and foremost an album to drink to with mostly fast and catchy songs with some tongue cheek humor to boot.  The first thing someone will notice here are the vocals.  I think what will make or break someone enjoying this album will be the singers style.  Hulkoff has a very gruff style of singing and he does have a southern sound to his voice which at times does sound as if he may be trying a bit TOO hard to sound like a country singer.  For me, it didn’t matter that much.  I found the songs quiet entertaining and fun to listen to for the most part with only a few songs that didn’t really grab my attention.  Also, compared to what comes out of Nashville these days that is supposed to be country music, this band does a better job at playing country than Nashville based bands do.

If you know the criteria for the subject matter of country songs you will find them here. The songs subject matter on the album centers primarily about drinking, women (losing them and trying to get them) and hunting.  Some of the songs are a bit cliché’ in some areas, including the song the band picks for their single ‘Hillbilly Heart’ which is a good, slow to mid paced tune.  However, being from Tennessee I can’t recall from the top of my head that many country songs from the past or current that ever use the term Hillbilly in their songs or people referring  to themselves as such.  Mostly when I hear anyone referred to as Hillbilly is when someone is making fun of someone from the south or in the mountains somewhere with no running water.  I’m not saying there aren’t songs that use the term but I don’t find it commonplace.  I think part of difference in the lyrics in the songs you see here from a Swedish country band and from a band in Nashville is a bit due to the fact that Sweden is obviously a bit removed from the center of country music and there is going to be a bit of cultural influence as well in the songwriting.

Also, some songs on the album appear to have some good humor elements in them and not meant to be taken very seriously, such as the Bowhunting Song which actually reminded me a bit of the Swedish techno band Rednex with the humorous lyrics.

Most of the songs, as I stated earlier are catchy and tend to be a bit of a faster pace than you would typically find with most country songs, which I actually found to be a positive.  Some of the standout tracks for me were:

Beast of Bourbon


Hillbilly Heart

Cormorant Blues

Overall, I think ‘Shotguns, Trucks and Cattle’ is a good, fun debut album from the Bourbon Boys.  As stated earlier, I think the vocals will be the first thing listeners will notice and what will either keep them interested or not followed by some of the lyrics might strike some as too cliché.  But if you are looking for something to pop in your cd player or ipod, have a fun night with some friends and have good time together, this CD will fill that need in Spades.


Shotgun, Trucks and Cattle is due to be released February 2013

Bourbon Boys are:

Hulkoff – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Jonas Kjellgren – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Kenneth Seil – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Buffalo – Drums & Percussion

Official Website:

Hillbilly Heart Official Video