Release Date: 7th February 2020
Record Label: Holy Roar
For Fans Of: Birds In Row, Have Heart, Dead Swans
It’s almost getting boring now, the amount of quality bands Holy Roar are bringing to the masses. Come on, guys, give another label a chance! In the meantime, we’ll have to stick with their latest offering for us, in the form of Sculpture of Violence, the new album from German quintet Giver.
A follow up to their debut album When The Cycle Breaks released two years ago (also through Holy Roar), the band bring to mind the sound of melodic hardcore prevalent in the 2000s – think Dead Swans, Have Heart, Modern Life Is War. A sound that isn’t as commonplace in the modern hardcore scene, with most bands tuned to drop infinity and utilising non conventional rock band instrumentation such as samples and electronics, Giver manage to fill the gap left in the market due to the disbandment of many such melodic hardcore acts, and boy do they fill it well. Incorporating that dark filter exhibited by bands such as Oathbreaker and Birds In Row that can only be described as ‘European’, Giver’s Sculpture Of Violence adds an extra dimension to the melodic hardcore sound, while still retaining anthemic scream-along moments in droves.
With ‘Night Season’, Converge’s You Fail Me is brought to mind, opening with a single guitar passage, expansive and drenched in reverb – almost as if playing in free time, acting as a warning call before the ensuing battle that is the album. It isn’t long before the tempo boosts into typical melodic hardcore territory (i.e. very bloody fast) and we’re treated to some vocal passages begging for crowd participation. Maintaining the energy with the following track (the record’s title track in fact), the groove is thrown back and forth, launching unexpectedly into blast beats reminiscent of the stylings of Birds In Row, and makes one question why this dark hardcore sound seems reserved to continental Europe and hasn’t made its way to the U.K. and U.S.
Singles ‘Every Age Has Its Dragons (Like An Empire)’ and ‘New Gods’ demonstrate the issues the band wish to address, tackling sweatshops and excessive consumerism respectively, with the line ‘What’s one to do about her living hell? I sigh, put on a Gildan shirt in L’ sure to have an impact on many hardcore fans. Tracks ‘Evil Is’ and ‘Longing For Death’ showcase the band’s heavier moments that will remind listeners of Converge during their slower moments (that’s a big compliment for you there, Giver). The latter track would serve as a strong album closure, but is unfortunately the penultimate song on the record. ‘Built In The Difference’, the actual finale to the album, is by no means a bad song, but a simple reshuffling of the running order may have been more effective.
Sculpture Of Violence displays phenomenal energy from the band which one hopes will translate live, as these tracks will sound powerful with a crowd screaming along to the gang vocals. With solid production and a good balance of darkness and singalong choruses, this is a strong second album from Giver, albeit lacking in the innovation of some of the aforementioned bands. Yes there is a good blend of influences, and this reviewer can hardly complain about more bands that sound like Birds In Row, but it does feel like the band are yet to find a sound that is truly their own. Still, with the trajectory the band are following, album no.3 will no doubt be a turning point for Giver.
Recommended Tracks: Longing For Death, Night Season, Every Age Has Its Dragons (Like An Empire)
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