Album: Eternal Blue
Location: Vancouver, Canada
FFO: Make Them Suffer, Currents, Jinjer
The time has finally come for the debut Spiritbox LP "Eternal Blue". It feels like forever since Rule of Nines came out as a single (even though it's not included on the record), It's when I discovered them. I did know of Courtney and Mike from iwrestledabearonce back in the day but that band never really peaked my interest, especially not like Spiritbox does. I don’t know if these guys were pushing things back because of 2020 or if they intended for it to take this long because they were trying to find a label (as they are now on Rise), possibly both, either way, all of that is behind us now and it's finally out.
Spiritbox has so far proven themselves to be a powerful force in the metal world with single after single...after single, over the past couple years, steadily growing at a rapid rate throughout 2020 and into 2021. Each song is a new stand out for the band every time one is released. Not to mention each song being very stand alone. They all fit well together on the album, but they were all different enough to where I wasn't as bothered by the multiple singles as I usually am. It's not like it was just the same metalcore song over and over again. This band offers so much more dynamics in the sense of style and story telling. Some more groovy, some softer with mostly singing, harder with only screaming, a bit more poppy, etc, but all still very much Spiritbox no matter the direction, and very much fun to listen to. The flow of the album is practically flawless how one song goes into the next. That combined with the pacing and structure of each individual song makes this 43 minutes go by quickly, but feel so full at the same time.
I really want to just highlight the members of this band because they are all very talented. Courtney is obviously fantastic. It’s songs like Sun Killer or The Summit to name a couple that really show her singing ability. The way in which she pronounces and carries certain words and vowels. Her own unique flow within the music makes me imagine a koi swimming through a current. With inspirations like The Weeknd and CharliXCX, it makes sense. Mike is a killer guitarist that knows how to blend the super heavy with the more progressive riffs. He pulls off a melodic ‘djent’ style without going in the direction of only playing open notes. But also knows when to slow it down and write something light and beautiful. Bill on bass is a huge key factor in this group too. I love when a bassist stands out so much. Much like the guitar, he can go from super groovy to just hard hitting when need be. Him and Mike play off of each other so nicely and it’s honestly half of the fun listening to Spiritbox. ‘Secret Garden’ is a great example of all the members shining for some of their best moments on the album. The title track is another. I really love the synth in the background of that one too; it really adds something special to it.
While we are talking about tracks, I may as well go ahead and mention a couple more. ‘We Live In A Strange World’ is probably the most stand out one here in terms of how different it is compared to the rest. Very poppy and danceable. I am glad they didn’t try to turn it into a heavy track by the end and just left it with a similar vibe throughout the whole thing. They let it be different. The Sam Carter ft in “Yellow Jacket” started off fine, but I didn’t really like the chorus all that much. It feels awkward and forced the first time around. The second time it hits feels better, and the rest of the song overall is really cool. I like the dynamic between Courtney talking and then giving her lowest screams I’ve heard from her. So overall a solid track, I’m just iffy about that first chorus breakthrough right now. And of course they end the album with ‘Constance’. A song that originally put a lot of eyes on them, and those who already knew about them, fell more in love with the band. A very intense way to end the album.
I never paid too close attention to the lyrics in Spiritbox’s work, but I definitely did with this LP and I gotta say I really like the writing. When I can feel something from words and a story I haven’t heard before, that’s rare and makes the music even better. It’s hard enough to write a verse that someone can genuinely say “I’ve never heard someone say that in this way before”. Some songs are also written in a way where you could grab multiple meanings from it, which I think is yet another level of talent it takes to write in such a way. Powerful, but not too direct in the message so people can have their own interpretation, and not vague enough to be completely lost. Some lyrical themes I caught onto were toxic relationships, loss, fear of losing your success, and romanticizing depression.
After over 2 years of waiting for this LP, I am far from disappointed. They started with a really good sound in 2018 and ‘19, but have truly found themselves over the years to make what is now a great, unique, solid foundation. The type that can be recognized within a few seconds of one of their songs starting.
Spiritbox’s debut album Eternal Blue is filled with big, dramatic tracks that all have their own personality. It’s packed with content but somehow feels like there’s so much breathing room for everyone to completely shine. This is a group that is only starting. They have achieved so much well earned success but I know they have a lot more to gain. I’m excited for the future at the Spiritbox camp.
Strongest Song: Hurt You, Secret Garden, Silk In The Strings, Circle With Me
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/eternal-blue/1566679952