As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. Well, Flint Michigan's Givensix has sown many a heavy metal seed and finally it is time to Harvest! The band's first full length CD shows that creativity is not dead and there is still musical gems out there. What a shame that music this good cannot find it's way onto the airwaves and a band of this caliber is still relatively unknown outside of Michigan. Harvest may change that fact as it shows a band on the brink of greatness. They show a diversity and intellect that is lacking in most of the music today.
Lyrically their songs are brain candy which challenge the listener as much as the music. With a wit and intelligence these guys will test your ability to think as well as the dexterity of your neck muscles with a thought provoking message wrapped in some thunderous metal anthems. The closest band I can think of to compare them to is Avenge Sevenfold but it would be a real disservice to Givensix if I limit them to this genre as they tread on ground that many bands of similar irk would never attempt to traverse. You have to give them massive kudos for creating their own path for others to follow.
The first thing you hear when this CD starts in a thumping bass line which sets a tone for what can only be called a very metal dance track titled "It'll Do". The impossibility of staying stationary is only heightened by the unique vocals of lead singer Jamie Taylor who exhorts all to rise and pay homage to the metal gods. Taylor is a talent and without question a singer/showman who cannot be compared to anyone. He has a vocal style that seduces but can also melt the outer epidermis when it is fitting. His bark is as dynamic as his bite and he uses both with equal amounts of passion. Look no further to find the definition of rock star.
There is something dark and yet playful about the music of Givensix. It reminds me of watching Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman expound on the virtues of Huey Lewis and the News while donning a rain coat and pulling out the axe to give his friend Paul a splitting headache. Givensix uses this kind of juxtaposition to perfection as they create a tension in their music that is the ultimate version of good vs evil. Using such tactics as the circus calliope in "Barrow Wight" as Jamie tells of pulling out a hammer and what use he might have for it is a prime example. Then there is the moment when Julie Andrews collides with Alice Cooper in the song "These Are A Few Of My Deadliest Deeds". This disc reminds me a lot of the mindset Cooper had with his release Along Came A Spider as you feel that you are traveling through the thought process of a serial killer. Sometimes creepy but always entertaining. It is like passing the car accident and trying not to look but you can't help it.
The thing to remember about this band though is they are about metal. With all the side trips down other paths they still return to where the metal meets the road. Anthems like "Burn", Genocide" and the trippy funkish "Freak It Out" are the basic ingredients needed to produce blood letting mosh pit behavior. For a more progressive and melodic touch the band gives you one of the most terrific examples of what this type of metal should sound like with the powerful "I'd Suffer Your Silence". Along the same vein with a nightmarish theme Givensix drops "Underneath Your Bed" on you like a voyeuristic view of headbanging. Jamie tells you to keep your lights on in this one and you might want to heed his advice!
The centerpiece of the album though is the song "Victim" although there are no weak spots on the disc, with this song you have something very special. The first words you hear is "I have knife/will cut". With a heaviness that expounds the idea you are inside the brain of a killer, Givensix gives you a glimpse of what might be going on inside the mind of just such a warped individual. Not since Peter Gabriel gave you goosebumps with "Family Snapshots" do you get the feeling that you are there pulling the trigger or plunging the knife. This is the metal version of a slasher movie and you will have the heart palpitations that go along with it.
As fitting as can be the disc ends with the song "Credits". As Jamie sings "Roll credits, roll credits roll" you will have the feeling that there should be a list of all the actors in this play and those that helped make such a treat possible.
Givensix has given the metal world a breath of fresh air even though you might think they want to snuff it out too! This has easily been one of those albums that I continue to play and play. Each time I find something new and with each discovery I think, here is is a disc that needs to be heard by the masses. This band has something to offer and I think that everyone will be hearing of them very soon.
1. It'll Do
3. Underneath Your Bed
5. I'd Suffer Your Silence
6. Little Pic (Exposed)
7. Barrow Wight
8. Freak It Out
9. These Are A Few Of My Deadliest Deeds