Alrighty, I’m gonna come straight out of the gate on this one by saying, if you’re not a fan of “I-Want-To-Kill-Myself-Core” (i.e. VILLAINS, SWORN IN, BARRIER) then put this album down right now, because Shitlife, the debut full-length from GIFT GIVER is not for you. In my experience, if you don’t like it, move on and get over it with something you DO enjoy, now onto the music itself.
The album emerges its nasty snarl with an electronic intro piece that volleys right into the title track “Shitlife”. Now, most of these bands like to focus on very aggressive breakdowns that comprise most of the albums, and while I am an avid fan of something I can slaughter a small village to, it gets quite monotonous in this day and age. Thankfully GIFT GIVER avoided the SHIT out of that concept. They have some lovely downtempo sections, but all in all, these boys throw out some instrumental parts that are quite off the beaten path of things. From spastic and choppy rhythm breaks, to eerie atmospheric leads over partially rapped vocal lines, this band covers a rather large amount of musicality in a semi-short amount of time.
I’ve heard a few albums released recently that incorporate rap vocals in the heavier side of music, but it’s mostly as an after-thought; GIFT GIVER embraces the concept as an integral part of the band’s overall dynamic. This is evident in tracks like “Hellhound” where it starts out with a creepy, slow, and deliberate vocal delivery, that morphs into a quick set of lines that have to do with violence against someone who has evidently fucked with the vocalist a time or two. Honestly, that’s pretty much what the whole album is about, but it’s still pretty damn awesome. Now, I would like to see some lyrical variance next time, but shit, there are whole albums out there that revolve around one incident that happened one time in that one place with that one person, and albums about fucking vampires and shit (Looking at you The Curse-era ATREYU) so at least GIFT GIVER put their own panache on the whole thing that really brings it out in front of the pack.
Overall this is definitely something you should jam with your buddies if you’re feeling like fighting an entire shanty-town of homeless people on a Saturday night when you’re bored as hell. Keep up the good work GIFT GIVER; you boys are going somewhere. Shitlife comes out April 21 on Century Media Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Bastard”, “Scumbag Pt. 2”, “Money Shot”