Written By: Noam Asulin
Album review - Spiritbox - Eternal Blue
Release date - 17.9.2021
Record company - Pale Chord Records
Genre - Metalcore / Electronic / djent
Metalcore is a genre that is already quite difficult to innovate in. The sound often contains the same motifs in all kinds of bands. Lots of guitars and distortions, lots of growls and a nice addition of some breakdowns in the middle of the song to close the formula.
"Spiritbox" is a Metalcore band, but with a little twist. The band incorporates electronic motifs into the sound, the growls and the general structure of an average metalcore song.
So who are "Spiritbox"?
The band comes from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The current lineup of the band includes Courtney LaPlante (vocals), Mike Stringer who is Courtney's partner (guitars), Zev Rose (drums) and Josh Gilbert (bass) (ex- "As I Lay Dying"). The band was founded in 2017 by Courtney and her partner, when at the end of that year they already released their first EP called "Spiritbox".
The band started working on their first full album (the reviewed album) back in 2018, but during 2019 took a short hiatus and released another mini-album called "Singles Collection". The Covid-19 epidemic forced the band to further delay work on the album, which was originally planned to be released in April 2020. In the end, the band moved to Joshua Tree, in California, where they completed the songwriting process, finishing the recording of all 12 songs in February 2021.
"Eternal Blue" is a captivating and powerful journey into the intricacies of modern metal. It presents the extraordinary musicianship of the band members, the catchy and fascinating melodies and the uncompromising power. From start to finish, "Eternal Blue" is a kind of school for combining heavy and aggressive elements with electronic and atmospheric music, wrapped in exciting lyrics.
One of the outstanding features of this album is Courtney LaPlante's amazing vocal performance. Her versatile and dynamic range shines throughout the album, moving effortlessly from "horrifying" growls to "angelic" clean vocals. LaPlante's ability to convey emotion through her voice adds another layer of depth to the already moving lyrics.
The songwriting on "Eternal Blue" is exceptional, with each track offering a unique sonic experience. From the overwhelming heaviness of "Holy Roller" to the atmospheric beauty of "Constance" and the infectious "hooks" of "Secret Garden", "Spiritbox" demonstrates their versatility and ability to create a wide range of moods and sounds. The band's ability to seamlessly blend elements of metalcore, djent and alternative rock is certainly impressive, resulting in a cohesive and unique listening experience.
The production on this album is amazing and allows every voice and instrument to shine while maintaining a balanced mix. The guitars provide a combination of strong riffs, complex melodies and spectacular solos, while the rhythm section provides a solid foundation with strong and steady drumming and thundering basslines. The atmospheric and electronic elements are skillfully combined and add to the overall atmosphere and flow of the music.
Lyrically, "Eternal Blue" addresses themes of introspection, emotional struggles, and personal growth. Courtney LaPlante's poignant words delve into topics such as mental health, self-discovery and moods. The depth and vulnerability in the words create a truly immersive listening experience, allowing the listener to connect on a deep emotional level.
The opening song "Sun Killer" starts with an atmospheric electronic section and after a while Courtney enters with her clean voice. The song begins calmly, but at its peak Courtney turns to growling and conveys the sharp and clear message that we did not gather here to listen to elevator music. The next song - "Hurt You" continues the line where the previous one ended. It starts with a really infectious guitar-keyboard riff and powerful drums that always make me stomp my feet, as if I'm some kind of glorified drummer myself. The third track, "Yellowjacket" features a collaboration with "Architects" vocalist Sam Carter. I have to say that for my taste, Sam doesn't add much to the song. Collaborations should, in my opinion, yield some added value, otherwise what's the point? And in this case the duet doesn't really bring anything that Courtney couldn't provide herself.
The fourth track "The Summit" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, among other things because it has a very addictive and fun chorus. There is something very interesting in the song "Secret Garden". When I first heard the song, the bass rang in my ear all the way through
The verses, the feeling was that he was not quite in sync with the beat. After several listens it became clear to me that it is indeed not in tune with the other instruments, but this is intentional and the more you listen to the song the more you get used to it and even begin to like it. The theme song "Eternal Blue" is in my opinion one of the weakest on the album. He's just not interesting enough.
Another song that I really like is the first single released from the album "Circle With Me". The chorus is super addictive and the song has a very atmospheric vibe that feels very appropriate for the moment when you dive into the depths. A feeling that might be a little hard to explain.
You can even say that the album cover quite corresponds with this feeling.
In conclusion, the debut album of "Spiritbox" is a very intriguing album, which, unlike other Metalcore albums that sometimes tend to be banal, maintains interest and relevance, precisely because it is different from traditional Metalcore. The electronic tunes that are found in every song on this album make it stand out from the rest and make it fun to listen to for a long time without him getting tired. It's an extraordinary album that showcases the band's incredible talent and artistic growth. With its powerful vocals, captivating songwriting and superb production, "Eternal Blue" is suitable for modern metal fans and anyone looking for a deep musical experience. There is no doubt that the album creates anticipation to know what else "Spiritbox" will release in the future.