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Giant X - "I" (CD)

Giant X - "I" CD cover image

"I" track listing:

1. The Rise Of The Giant X (Intro) (0:34)
2. On A Blind Flight (3:29)
3. Don’t Quit 'Till Tomorrow (3:57)
4. Badland Blues (4:30)
5. Now Or Never (3:35)
6. Nameless Heroes (4:16)
7. Go 4 It (3:42)
8. The Count (3:23)
9. Rough Ride (4:24)
10. Friendly Fire (3:27 )
11. Let’s Dance (2:59)
12. Soulsurvivors (3:52)
13. R.O.C.K. (4:00)

Reviewed by on February 22, 2013

"Giant X presents material for a much older metal audience, where Rolf can wallow in his love of Thin Lizzy and Kiss."

Since the announcement of the debut release from Giant X, it was inevitable that it would be a challenge for fans to separate the group from Running Wild. After all, Running Wild’s only permanent members, Rock ‘N’ Rolf and Peter Jordan, are the only permanent members of Giant X – a band formed after the original disbanding of Running Wild in 2009. Since the intervening return of Running Wild, Giant X has become the side project. Unlike Toxic Trace, Rolf and Peter’s hard rocking glam project, Giant X presents material for a much older metal audience, where Rolf can wallow in his love of Thin Lizzy and Kiss. This may be a “raw ride” to most Running Wild fans, however, what is undeniable is that the debut release “I” is a collection of highly enjoyable and catchy no-frills rock material. That is...if you can prevent your mind from “running wild.” After all, Rolf is metal’s James Gandolfini, you simply can’t picture him in any other role.

Of course, the challenge is easier said than done as right when “On a Blind Flight” starts, it is just too damn hard to shake off the similarities to “Raise Your Fist.” Yet at the same time, oddly, it feels fresh and uplifting. In fact, all the songs have a bit more energy than Running Wild’s “Shadowmaker.” I attribute it to the fact that Giant X doesn’t play by Rolf’s formulaic rules with his power metal stalwart. It’s a feat I never thought possible, Rolf writing songs where the chorus doesn’t always come after the second verse! Giant X likely won’t garner a whole lot of attention from the modern age of metal fans, as tracks like “R.O.C.K.” and “Go 4 It” will seem as fresh as the prince of Bel Air, but there are plenty of folks that like music played stripped down and bar ready.

As the album pushes forth, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the audacity of a “Running Wild album full of cover tunes” like Thin Lizzy (like in “Badland Blues”), Kiss (like in “Let’s Dance”) and even Gorky Park (like in “Don’t Quit ‘Till Tomorrow”). If this was a Running Wild album, it might have had the same profoundly negative affect as when I first heard Twisted Sister’s “Love is For Suckers” (which I came to admire more later in life). My initial thought of “I’ve heard all this before countless times” changed after multiple listens as I was left with as many complaints as I have with AC/DC records: none. Giant X may be just the rock outlet Rolf needs to bring some darkness back to Running Wild. Actually, future song writing for Running Wild can use the looming shadow of “big Giant X.”

Between the part of myself with a strong love of well played hard rock (“Nameless Heroes”) and that which craves power driven numbers (“Friendly Fire”), I was left with no choice but to declare “I” a win for the old school. That third part, the one with a complete fascination with innovation and limitless melding of styles in a quest for “genre-less” metal, was flat out “branded and exiled.” But hey, Giant X was precisely what I expected – happy go-lucky, bare basic feel good “r.o.c.k.” I’m sure Rolf and Peter intended it to be exactly that, an album where the decision is black and white - older fans will herald its arrival and the younger ones will simply cross it off the buy list with a Giant....red line. Gotcha!

Highs: Bare bones hard rock that has high appeal to old school.

Lows: Zero innovation that will not garner any new fans to Rolf's cause.

Bottom line: Rock 'N' Rolf goes back to his roots....but will fans simply "brand" and "exile" it with a Giant X?

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)