You are worthless. You are not fit to be alive. You were born to die. Demons whisper these thoughts—and countless other, more sinister ones—into your head, letting them invade your brain and corrode your thoughts. Slowly, the gun in your hand begins to look more inviting, and the darkness in the night sky looks more like home than the apartment you spend your days and nights restlessly pacing. Slowly, you’re losing your sanity to depravity and bitterness. This is the feeling the listener becomes immersed in during “Death Wish,” the latest single by Ann Arbor’s Gift Giver. Already established as a relentlessly heavy and sinfully soul-devouring act, the band are back with a smash hit of a single which pits looming, pounding drums against dissonant, catchy riffs and lyrics with a vocal delivery so convincing, the listener can practically feel the bitterness of the track in the air around them.
Opening with a catchy, bouncy drum line and a lacerating riff, “Death Wish” casts its hooks in the listener’s ears early on. As the song develops and the bass grows louder and snappier, and the fretwork begins to fill out more and more, the listener quickly learns that even such a short time after the release of their debut EP, Daddy Issues, Gift Giver have matured and grown exponentially. The instrumentation throughout the entire track is nothing short of superb. The riffs cut deep and hard into the sanity of the listener, while the percussion absolutely pummels them, kicking them in the gut and socking them in the nose. While the listener is busy being subjected to those two attacks, the bass bounces and pops just beneath them, providing a constant, rumbling low end which makes every hit hurt a little more, and every slice cut just a little bit deeper.
Gift Giver have not just matured instrumentally, however. The vocals–aided by the appearance of Sworn In’s Tyler Dennen—are diverse and boisterous, constantly in the listeners face and never letting up. Whether it’s Gift Giver’s infamous half-chant half-scream (“I think I’m dying at the age of twenty-three…”) or the full range of piercing highs and deep, visceral growls, “Death Wish” is a source of incessant vocal ingenuity. This vocal creativity is mirrored by the sheer brilliance and immersive qualities of the lyrics, which tell a tale of depression, anger and bitterness, done as only Gift Giver can do it. “Death Wish” has lyrics so catchy and a vocal delivery so intense, that, at times, the listener doesn’t just find themselves simply liking them, but getting caught up in them, and feeling that same anger and misanthropy grow and take shape inside their own head.
If you thought Daddy Issues was the peak of the pissed-off spectrum, then buckle your seatbelts. “Death Wish” is a single that shows an already mature and talented band growing and refining their sound even more. Gift Giver have produced a track so captivating and enthralling that it is just the push the listener needs to look down the barrel of the gun and put it to use. Whether it kills them or their demons is another story entirely.
For Fans Of: Sworn In, Barrier, Tormentor Absolute, Immoralist
By: Connor Welsh