I was really looking forward to this record, having heard their twisted demolition job of Papa Roach’s anthem “Last Resort” and also their Daddy Issues EP. However, with a title like Shitlife, I should have been more prepared for the crushing onslaught that awaited me as this album kicked into life.
Gift Giver, for those who don’t know, play that style of deathcore that doesn’t really have much to hook you in, and that’s the problem I have with Shitlife. It’s so soul-crushingly bleak and heavy that it really is a test of endurance. Put it this way, when the title track thumps into life and vocalist Justin Johnson screams “I just can’t take any more, I got a gun in my mouth with my head on the floor,” you know full well that this isn’t going to be a fun listen.
And it’s not. From there it gets darker and more negative with the likes of “Bastard” and “Grudge” really sounding as spiteful as their titles hint at. Taking a leaf from the darker nu-metal bands of that genre, Shitlife has an unnerving aura similar to that of the first few Korn albums and, with that brutal, punishing deathcore element added in to it, you’re left wondering how close Gift Giver, more specifically vocalist Johnson, are to the brink of really losing their shit.
Gift Giver sit somewhere between the fun, partycore of Attila and deathcore scene favourites Emmure and, if Shitlife is anything to go by, just imagine them sitting there running a blade up and down their wrists. Speaking of Emmure, Frankie Palmeri puts in an appearance on “Loose Cannon” but, for the most part, this album is an exploration of whatever negative, unhealthy rage is going in Justin Johnson’s mind and, on the evidence of Shitlife, it’s not a nice place to be.
05. Loose Cannon
08. Scumbag Pt.2
09. Death Wish
10. Money Shot
Run Time: 33:02
Release Date: March 30, 2015
Check out the song “Cursed” here