German hardcore crew Giver have worked fast to follow up on their 2018 debut Where The Cycle Breaks with a focused, tight, and socially conscious record, showing off their ability to make hardcore emotional without losing its punch.
Converge fans will find an immediate touchpoint in the opening notes of the record, but subsequently it takes you down a very different path. Giver’s style of hardcore is more distinctly European, employing gang vocals and cleans expertly. When Giver delve into the clean singing, it’s never super-clean or piercing, and it’s always backed up well with harsher vocals.
‘Every Age Has Its Dragons’ is the highlight of the record – managing to keep the intensity and power of the song whilst finding the pockets of melody shows an impressive level of songwriting skill. The only criticism here is that the band could have used more of these huge choruses on the record. The guitar leads throughout the track listing, from the chorus of the title track to the intro of ‘Built in the Difference’ which elevate the album’s melodic side, and create hooks to complement the vocals perfectly.
Twists of pace are an expertly executed element of this record, showcased best in ‘The Same Stream’, a song which jolts the listener between all kinds of punk grooves, and tops it all off with a riff that screams at you to start a pit. Lewis Johns’ production, as ever, nailing these parts and allowing the adventurous writing to be fulfilled.
Giver deliver on more than just a musical level, however, with the lyrical narrative on this album looking both outward in regards to social issues, and inward on a track like ‘Evil Is’. Giver can certainly be described as a political hardcore band, although their message is much more cloaked in metaphor than a band like Stray From The Path. Scratch the surface, and the lyrics reveal a band not afraid to critique themselves or the world around them. ‘New Gods’ is a perfect example, a criticism of consumerist culture, advertising, and the relentless nature with which we are told to buy things. Outside of this record, the band can be found taking part in activism themselves, further reinforcing that they mean it.
That Holy Roar were going to continue their near 15-year hot streak in 2020 was never in doubt, and they kick it off with Giver’s Sculpture of Violence; a powerful, scorching hardcore record with a perfect balance of politics, blast beats and riffs.
Sculpture Of Violence is out 7th February 2020 via Holy Roar Records.