Gift Giver is a band with something to say, and it will not be said quietly. From the opening riff, Daddy Issues is a lesson in anger and aggression, full of driving rhythms, squealing guitars, and droning bass layered behind vicious howls set on taking down everyone who ever crossed the path of Gift Giver.
The quintet from Ann Arbor, Michigan launches into a twenty-two minute sonic raid upon the listener’s eardrums, not pausing for breath, unless to throw in spine-crushing, earth-shaking breakdowns. The first thing that becomes immediately obvious on Daddy Issues is the phenomenal guitar tone; “Scumbag” and “Daddy Issues,” the standout tracks, have tones that fit the heavy riffs and thunderous breakdowns like a glove. Each note on the guitar and bass are clearly heard, but they intertwine together to form a brutal symphony. The drums are filled with double kick escapades, pounding backgrounds, and intricate fills, without ever missing a beat or going soft on the listener.
The vocals on Daddy Issues really separate Gift Giver from the pack. Roaring over the cacophony of stringed assault and drum masterwork, vocalist Justin Johnson makes no bones about the issues he has with anyone and everyone who has ever double crossed him; Johnson’s anger is truly palpable as he calls out who we can only assume is the father who did him so wrong on “Daddy Issues.” The anger that is so freely expressed on Daddy Issues truly separates the EP from the pack.
Gift Giver has truly created a masterpiece of modern metal that has not seen an equal in many years. Daddy Issues has every element that an album needs to take it to the next level. The guitars are beautifully toned and blissfully dirty, the bass packs enough punch to be heard loud and clear on every track, the drumming is absolutely relentless, and the vocals can only be described as vicious. Gift Giver may have just entered the dog eat dog world of metal with Daddy Issues, but they are clearly the biggest dog of the pack. Daddy Issues is easily the best metal album in recent years.