CD review: I
By: Tj Fowler
GIANT X “I”
Release Date Europe: January 21st, 2013
Release Date Germany: January 18th, 2013
Release Date USA/Canada: January 22nd, 2013
Label: Steamhammer / SPV
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!