Thursday, December 20, 2012

Giant X-I

Steamhammer / SPV

Giant X is a new side-project/musical collaboration featuring the pair of "Rock´n`Rolf" Rolf Kasparek (vocalist/guitarist of Running Wild) and Peter J. Jordan (guitarist of Running Wild). While Peter J. Jordan might just be known as the guitarist of Running Wild (he signed on with the Running Wild crew in 2005) there is much more to him then most could possibly know. Not only has he worked as a studio-guitarist/live musician (his own band Peek-a-Boo having supported artists like Joe Cocker and David Bowie), but he's also worked as a songwriter, composer, arranger and producer. He has worked with a variety of artists such as Tim Bendzko, Patti Russo (Meat Loaf), Francis Buchholz (ex- Scorpions), Thorsten Wingenfelder (Fury In The Slaughterhouse), Christina Stürmer, Klaus-Peter Matziol (Eloy) and Fair Warning. Now, if your wondering what all of that information has to do with the album at hand well, we'll get to that soon enough. shortly. In the meantime it is worth mentioning that this is not the first time these two musicians have stepped outside of Running Wild to create a different sound. The pair of Kasparek/Jordan first came together on EMI Production Music’s "Rock/Metal" album with the cut well-received cut "Burning Wheels". In fact it was after receiving heaps of praise for the song "Burning Wheels" (most of which was worthy) that the pair decided to put together Giant X. With a 12-track album album already in hand (with the intro "The Rise Of The Giant X (Intro)" it is 13 tracks, but who counts intros anyway?), which incidentally only mentions the two of them in regards to musicians who played on the release, the pair went label shopping before settling with Steamhammer/SPV. The fact that the label had previously released the latest Running Wild album obviously helped that decision along and the rest is history. Right up front the pair is letting everyone know that Giant X is not Running Wild and that much is clearly obvious after hearing the project. Whatever you choose to call the latest version of Running Wild (power metal? thrash?) the fact is Giant X is more hard rock then anything. And since the pair needed some legroom in which to explore other musical ideas it's a wise move to go with a different name. All of that brings us back to guitarist Peter J. Jordan and his many talents from songwriter to producer. Judging by the wide variety of music offered on this album it would be logical to assume that all of Peter's past experiences have really helped out when it came to this project. "On A Blind Flight" might open the album in a fairly straight-forward fashion (it's traditional heavy metal meets light weight European power metal), but then you have a cut like "Don`t Quit Till Tomorrow" that sounds more like British hard rock then could reasonably be expected from someone like Rolf Kasparek. Then you have a number like "Badland Blues" which comes off as a loving nod towards blues-based hard rock bands like Cinderella. There is a ballad ("Nameless Heroes"), a Kiss-like rocker ("The Count") and even a bit of Thin Lizzy love in "Soul Survivors". Listening to this album it's hard to fathom that here you have two guys from Running Wild playing music that is more born out of an equal appreciation for the likes of Kiss, Queen, Billy Talent, Thin Lizzy and Van Halen then Running Wild's unusual brand of pirate metal. That's not to say it's a bad thing. Far from it actually. In a song like "Rough Ride" those other influences (seventies rock in this case) really work together to create a unique listening experience. There is some heavy metal to be found ("Go 4 It" features some nice heavy metal riffs), but on the whole this is more of a straight-forward rock/hard rock album. As long as people know what to expect then there shouldn't be any issues. Running Wild fanatics won't be able to hear that familiar brand of pirate metal, but I'd still say to give this one a chance. In the end this is some stellar rock/hard rock. With a healthy dose of real talent and enthusiasm behind the music it's a LP that is easy to listen to and enjoy.

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