REVIEW: Gift Giver - Daddy Issues

Genre: Deathcore/Hardcore
Label: Unsigned
Date of Release: February 14, 2013


Even though quartet Gift Giver is a relatively new band, it is quite clear that they care nothing for softness and subtlety. They formed in 2012 from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and their mission seems to be to deliver some of the most crushing and unkind deathcore that could ever reach peoples’ ears. This can be derived from their debut EP released in early 2013, eloquently entitled “Daddy Issues.” As the group’s first step into the scene, this six-tracked beast would prove to be a solid beginning for them.

Starting off, the musicianship is quite solid. The vocals are incredibly aggressive, boasting a good range and showcasing undeniable energy with every word the singer screams or shouts. They stretch from mid-pitch screams to hints of death metal-esque lower and higher-pitched vocals, and they are all done well with total force and vehemence. The guitars are performed excellently, as they also show their strength in which they have a great range. They tread along the line between brutal riffs that are typical yet still gripping for the deathcore genre overall and some surprisingly complex parts. They almost fall into the category of progressive metal in some of these riffs, and it actually does form sort of an identity apart from the rest of the deathcore and hardcore packs. On top of that, they are very engaging, as well as fitting in how energetic they sound with the rest of the music. Along with the vocals and guitars, the drums are solid as well, played with much vigor and some technicality to keep the audience invested, obviously parallel to the guitars in that respect. The sound production is also great, mixing the album in a way that gives it a bit of a resonant tone to it. In terms of both musicianship and production, Gift Giver fares quite well.

“Daddy Issues” is an EP that is composed of an angry cross between brutal deathcore and some pinches of punk-hardcore and progressive metal. Overall, while the formula is nothing too new in the metal and hardcore realm, it is executed greatly. One of the key aspects of this release that makes it so enjoyable is the energy behind it. It is rather impossible to picture the members recording these tracks without any enthusiasm whatsoever. Each track is quite distinguishable from one another, but the aggressiveness is the glue that holds it all together. This vigor makes the album more gripping and worthy of people banging their heads to, and even then, this investment is already established with some memorable hooks and breakdowns peppered throughout the EP. Even people who are not very familiar with the deathcore and hardcore genres could easily be wrapped up in some of the catchy riffs the album has to offer, thus showing that the release can appeal to a wider crowd outside of their own genre zone. The tracks themselves are well-built also, being somewhat unpredictable at times and making way for some strong breakdowns and hooks throughout. In terms of brutality and energy, “Daddy Issues” is performed rather strongly.

Accompanying this violent music is some violent lyrical content. As stated earlier, the band is not one for subtlety, and even the text reflects that. They are very straight-forward and trash-mouthed in their message, and they really fit with how aggressive the music itself is. Topics of these lyrics include what are referred to as ‘keyboard warriors’ who constantly make empty threats over the internet to other people, usually due to some disagreement (Bodysnatcher) and deceit (Lowlife). Even though they are incredibly typical in how they are written for the deathcore genre, complete with loads of swearing and degrading insults, they click well to the music in how vehement they are.

For a debut release, “Daddy Issues” is a very good start for this recent group. The musicianship and production are great in how they sound and are executed, especially in terms of the energy behind them. This can also be applied to the music itself, in its violent deathcore fusion loaded with great hooks, stellar vigor and speed. There is nothing very new or completely out of the box in terms of the genre for this album, but nonetheless, it is done well. Lyrically, the same can be said: While they are generic for the deathcore crowd, and on occasions do get a tad silly, they fit well with the potent music in how crude they are. All in all, this is a solid EP, and any fans of deathcore and hardcore should try it out, and is a great welcome release for newcomers of both genres. Gift Giver is a band to keep an eye on, because “Daddy Issues” is a solid album that loves to leave its bruises. 

Score: 8.5/10 (Great+)