Throughout the years hardcore has taken many different forms, from the traditional New York sound produced by the likes of Agnostic Front and Biohazard to the more modern day aggressive nature we hear in bands like Jesus Piece and Candy today. For this reviewer, whose acquired taste of hardcore has always leaned towards the more melodic end of the genre, a sound very big in the early 2000s, Giver are a very exciting prospect. Indeed, when the German quintet announced their latest offering Sculpture of Violence, sighting influences such as Blacklisted and Have Heart, this writer’s attention was instantly piqued. However, this wasn’t going to be an easy win. As already mentioned, everyone has their preferred branch of hardcore, and this can often result in fans of the genre being some of its most critical.
What makes a great record in regard to melodic hardcore is passionate vocals, grooves that you can two-step to, gang vocals, and riffs that get your head banging. Luckily, Giver tick every single one of those boxes and do it by breathing new life into something this writer loved in his teenage years. Right from the opening riff of opener ‘Night Season’ it’s a familiar guitar tone which nostalgically recalls first discovering bands like Carpathian and if you’re a fan of the genre you know exactly where that is going to lead. Giver vocalist Robert Anderson has a rhythm to his voice which is perfect for the band’s sound and matching the excellent musicianship throughout.
Making ‘Every Age Has Its Dragons (Like An Empire)’ one of the album’s lead singles was a clever move, as those not too familiar with the band will find it a perfect introduction to their sound, as it comes complete with thumping drums, intelligent lyrics and those big gang vocals. However, it’s on ‘Evil Is’ and ‘These Words Are Rain’ where the band really show their growth within the hardcore genre, taking the influence from those who have come before them, running with it and taking it to fresh places. ‘Evil Is’ in particular shows a distinct level of maturity to the construction of Giver’s music; rather than it just be all-out aggression, there is also a tenderness to what the band have created here.
In Sculpture Of Violence, Giver have produced a record that perfectly blends melodies, rolling drums, massive downbeats and a strong, but at the same time torn-sounding voice which has resulted in a near-perfect ten track collection of relentless headbanging and fist pumping. For a sound that one may have thought sadly fallen by the wayside, it seems bands like Giver are still very much here to wave the flag for melodic hardcore.
Sculpture of Violence is out 7th February via Holy Roar Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck