REVIEW: Spiritbox – Eternal Blue

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SPIRITBOX is really something else. I know there are many other bands that promote their music as being different, or unique, or with a special twist than the rest, but SPIRITBOX really manages to deliver on these accounts. It’s not for nothing that their mixture of metalcore, post-metal, djent, alternative metal, and progressive metal – evident from the singles and EPs released so far – took the metal scene by storm. On September 17th, 2021, this Canadian outfit released their debut album, “Eternal Blue,” through Rise Records.

With a title like “Eternal Blue,” one would expect a calm and relaxing sonic experience, but SPIRITBOX is no MORCHEEBA. It’s more like a mixture of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and JINJER. Still, the twelve tracks that appear on this album are both deeply melancholic and yet quite heavy. The melancholy/ethereal aspect comes from Courtney LaPlante’s melodic delivery, which stems from the fragility of her vocal timbre as well as the airy quality of her singing style, while the aggression comes from the fierce guitars as well as her intense growls. The previously released singles, “Constance,” “Circle with Me,” and “Secret Garden,” have a certain melancholy feel to them, while “Holy Roller,” “Yellowjacket,” or “Silk in the Strings” display a high level of heaviness. The added growls from Sam Carter (ARCHITECTS) on “Yellowjacket” make the song feel all the more aggressive and brutal.

However, their music is more nuanced than that, as opening track “Sun Killer” reveals an electronic overlay that combines quite well with the underlying drum beats and delicate vocals. The way this track twists from mellow into harsh in the last minute of its playtime is an indication of not only the band’s songwriting skill, but also its predilection for such meandering compositions. Who else would end a rather pleasant song with a burst of screamed vocals and gritty guitars? I get heavy breakdowns, but this feels like something else because it segues well into “Hurt You,” a track that balances between ridiculously heavy verses and a serene chorus section. If “Hurt You” and “Yellowjacket” showcase the band’s potential for writing bona fide metalcore anthems, then “The Summit” and “Secret Garden” displays SPIRITBOX’s ability to create softer and more emotionally-driven songs. This in turn makes “Eternal Blue” come off as a well-rounded album with a smooth flow, with incredible peaks and beautiful valleys.

Elsewhere on the album, the title track is the type of track I would like to hear more from SPIRTIBOX, as it has a nice melodic edge coming from the instrumentals that keep things grounded, while a dream-like atmosphere invites wanderlust and daydreaming. The wonderful “We Live in a Strange World,” with its popish synths and savory vocals, makes you double-check you are still listening to the same band that minutes earlier delivered an unrelenting mix of electronica and fierce screaming with “Silk in the String.” As much as I love these types of atmospheric songs with soaring vocals, the band’s greatest strength resides in music that twists and morphs into something different with every bar played, and both “Halcyon” and “Circle with Me” prove this point perfectly. These tracks start out with a heavy part that is then followed by a more accessible sound, only for a nasty breakdown to come in and dismantle everything. The album’s most vulnerable moment comes with “Constance,” a dark lullaby dedicated to Courtney LaPlante’s grandmother and everyone else who suffers from dementia. This is such a wonderful closer for such an intense sonic journey.

In conclusion, “Eternal Blue” is hands down the best debut album to be released this year (and one of the best overall) from a band with a ton of potential for being the next big thing in the metal scene. If this is just the appetizer, imagine what the rest of the meal will look like. In all seriousness now, the hype around SPITITBOX is well deserved, as the level of musicianship in this band is incredibly high and the technical aspect is on point. Could this be the metalcore album of the year? Remains to be seen, but my gut says yes.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

1. Sun Killer
2. Hurt You
3. Yellowjacket feat Sam Carter
4. The Summit
5. Secret Garden
6. Silk In The Strings
7. Holy Roller
8. Eternal Blue
9. We Live In A Strange World
10. Halcyon
11. Circle With Me
12. Constance

Lineup

Courtney LaPlante – vocals
Mike Stringer – guitar
Bill Crook – bass
Zev Rose – drums

Label

Rise Records

Links

Website   |   Facebook   |   Instagram   |   Spotify