Pure cathartic energy.
Admittedly, mere days ago, I had never heard of Giver. I have never heard any of their previous music and still have yet to hear any of the band’s other material - my venture into their art is completely new and fresh. However, when I stumbled across a post about their new album ‘Sculpture of Violence’ via Facebook, I said to myself “huh, that album artwork looks interesting.” I certainly wasn’t expecting to enjoy the band’s material, let alone be extremely impressed by it, but that is exactly what happened once I took the plunge into this socially-conscious, philosophical, melodic hardcore record. From the moment I first listened to the album’s lead single and titular track, I knew there was something special about this band. Then, after my next few following listens through ‘Sculpture of Violence,’ my suspicions were fully confirmed; I was an absolute idiot for not having discovered this band sooner.
‘Sculpture of Violence’ is a furious explosion of cathartic energy, tacked with an onslaught of emotions and rage. Not once during this album’s runtime does Giver allow you a proper moment to breathe. It feels like you are being hit with gut punch after gut punch as the record rages onward its final moments. Beginning with the anthemic and bouncy ‘Night Season,’ Giver makes it clear that they deserve your attention. As the listener transitions into the blistering circle-pitter that is the titular rally-cry about personal agency and living independently as one's "own creation", ‘Sculpture of Violence,’ their hardcore energy makes itself even more known. This track is pissed to high hell, with its chaotic guitars and vein-popping vocal shrieks. This trend is continued with arguably the heaviest track on this album, ‘The Same Stream,’ which features steamrolling BPMs and a breakdown that might even reduce some venues.
Elsewhere, GIVER displays an incredible amount of emotion in the instrumentals of songs like ‘New Gods’ and the immaculate penultimate track. ‘Longing for Death.’ ‘New Gods’ even features subtle nods to black metal, showcasing evil-sounding baritone bass guitar harmonies that make for a surprisingly incredible highlight on ‘Sculpture of Violence.’ On the other hand, ‘Longing for Death’ has noticeable twinges of doom metal, with its atmospheric chugs and astounding ending section which features an incredibly cool buildup and subsequent breakdown. This is one of the most well-written and intricate songs on the album and showcases Giver's knack for setting a clear, defined mood on a song.
I could talk forever about why I love each individual song on ‘Sculpture of Violence,’ but I should really mention how ridiculously solid the musicianship is across this thing. Every single member of this German band is firing on all fronts, brimming with a cohesive style that meshes together into something great. Their vocalist damn near steals the show on each song, sounding like an odd combination of Drew York of Stray From The Path and Jami Morgan of Code Orange. He most impressively shows his talent on the more emotionally powerful songs on this record, such as ‘New Gods’ and the group-chant filled ‘Every Age Has Its Dragons (Like an Empire).’ The guitars are particularly noteworthy, too, like on the pummeling, heavier tracks such as absolutely stunning ‘Imitation Dreams.’ Elsewhere, ‘New Gods’ shows off some killer bass guitars, as well as booming technical drum work, a common theme throughout ‘Sculpture of Violence.’ Every member of the band is quite obviously extraordinarily talented, creating their own niches within the overall sound of Giver.
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Unfortunately, there's the odd downfall to ‘Sculpture of Violence’ that just slightly holds it back from being a near-perfect melodic hardcore album for me. For one, I absolutely cannot fathom why Giver chose to end the record with the slightly underwhelming ‘Built in the Difference,’ as opposed to the absolutely immense penultimate track of 'Longing For Death.' While I do enjoy ‘Built in the Difference’ for what it is, it's also my least favorite track on this record. It feels and feels like a rehashed version of any of the earlier songs heard in the tracklisting, and doesn’t present any new ideas or wrap up the album in a satisfying, climactic way. In contrast, ‘Longing for Death’ seems like it would have been a damn well perfect note to close out ‘Sculpture of Violence’ on, what with its apocalyptic, hopeless atmosphere that drives it to a gratifying conclusion. An odd stylistic choice for sure, Giver.
Another factor that began to wear on my enjoyment of this album is the fact that there isn’t a large amount of variation between these ten songs. The songs have a clear difference in tone, but the guitar work can very much bleed together at times. This becomes especially apparent towards the tail end of the record, with songs like ‘Evil Is’ and ‘These Words are Rain’ becoming a blur of fast-paced riffing and pounding drums. While these tiny flaws are few and far between when it comes to the mighty melodic hardcore songwriting behind ‘Sculpture of Violence,’ they are still definitely noticeable.
I am very glad that I just so happened to randomly stumble across Giver. For even with its minor flaws, ‘Sculpture of Violence’ is one of the most intense and interesting melodic hardcore releases that I’ve personally heard (and connected) in a long time, being surrounded by the many snoozers of their peers. This German outfit has certainly proved that they are a burning force to be reckoned with this new album, and I’m sure that they will only continue to build upon the magnificent sound that they have built with ‘Sculpture of Violence' moving forward. This album is filled to the brim with blistering blast beats, chaos-riddled hardcore guitars, and surprisingly deep lyricism about the self and the world, and it doesn’t ever let up nor give in. ‘Sculpture of Violence’ makes its presence known, and will easily ear-worm its way into any competent melodic hardcore fan’s playlist for years to come. Please take my recommendation and give this album a shot; I have a feeling it just might end up on quite a few year-end lists for this inaugural year of the new decade.
Sculpture of Violence
Every Age Has Its Dragons (Like an Empire)
The Same Stream
These Words are Rain
Longing for Death
Built in the Difference
'Sculpture of Violence' is out now: