Spiritbox – ‘Eternal Blue’

By Dave Stewart

If you’re reading this review, I won’t waste your time by detailing and explaining who Spiritbox are and why we’re so excited to get our mitts on this record. You’re likely here reading this because you share the exact same level of enthusiasm. One of the most exciting metal acts to have emerged in recent years, fusing elements of djent and nu-metal with dashes of so many tastefully-placed influences, releasing a debut record that fans and peers alike have been dying to hear for what feels like forever. Well, the wait is over, ‘Eternal Blue’ is here, and you are NOT going to be disappointed in the slightest.

This album is a real tour de force in diversity, and it has so many more sides to it than simply being a heavy record. That age old saying of “there’s something for everybody” gets thrown around a lot, but the way this album is paced really accents how many different layers it has. It’s aggressive, cathartic, melancholic, beautiful, terrifying, seductive and so, so much more. To cover so much ground on a debut yet manage to still sound so convincingly clear is formidable, and that word perfectly describes exactly what Spiritbox are.

The record kicks off with the suspenseful ‘Sun Killer’, playing the role of a siren luring you into danger with its song. Riddled with industrial electronics that weave in and out of the spotlight, vocalist Courtney LaPlante dramatically drapes her luscious vocals over the music in the most hypnotic way, pendulously swaying back and forth before violently snapping you back into consciousness. It’s already too late though, you understand. One song is all it takes for this album to completely envelop you.

Every single shred of the ensuing magic is faultless, each track steering you down a different path as it flaunts its many charms. On the heavier side of the tracks you’ll find ‘Silk In The Strings’, a riff masterclass courtesy of guitarist Mike Stringer that oozes with groove, menace and pure pit potential. There’s also the ominous ‘Halcyon’, a mostly melodic track with a gigantic storm cloud hanging over it that cascades in one colossal outpour in the closing moments. There’s also their crushing singles like the gigantic anthem ‘Hurt You’ and incessant bruiser ‘Holy Roller’ that shine a blinding spotlight on LaPlante’s brutal side, but this goes far deeper than the heaviness.

There’s an ever-so-slightly lighter edge to this record that almost sits in metalcore, full of singalong verses, soaring choruses and more sweet melody than a symphony orchestra. ‘The Summit’ is like a soundtrack to a mountain climb, beautifully capturing the feeling of space and majesty to then take you on a flight through it in the chorus. The title track is a dreamlike voyage, LaPlante maintaining a softer vocal approach throughout to provide cushion against the thrashing waves of Stringer’s guitars. From the electronic RnB influenced ‘We Live In A Strange World’ to the infectious allure of ‘Secret Garden’ and ‘Circle With Me’, the whole album is just diamond after lavish diamond.

The whole album plays out like a highlight reel, but there are some standout moments that shine a little brighter than the rest. One of those moments is ‘Yellowjacket’, which features UK metal hero Sam Carter of Architects on vocals. His spot on the song isn’t really a guest spot but more of a collaboration, balancing his unmistakable vocals alongside LaPlante’s to create one of the most goosebump-inducing heavy hitters of the year.

The biggest, though, is album closer and emotionally combustible ‘Constance’. Bursting with uplifting melodies and powerful chord changes that are all laced with a subtle underlying darkness, its harrowing and heartbreaking ode to LaPlante’s late grandmother stirs a grief that so many of us have felt and closes the record beautifully. It starts forcefully, it finishes elegantly and it touches on everything between on its way there.

This is about as triumphant as a debut album can be. It feels perfectly timed, having defined their sound before launching into this calculated yet eclectic journey and confidently telling anyone that listens exactly who they are and what they came here to do. The production is crystal clear too, allowing you to hear every layer and feel every single decibel of the mix. The thing that hits hardest about this album, though, is the connection that grows with each listen, and it’s a really heartwarming feeling.

There’s something so inherently pure about ‘Eternal Blue’ that it speaks to you, and that kind of bond is hard to diminish. The colour blue feels like it plays a role throughout the record rather than just being the title of the album, be it the sorrow and pain in the lyrics or the spaciousness they surround the ambient moments with. Everything they’ve done allows you to submerge yourself deep into the record, and you won’t want to come back to the surface for a very long time. If there’s anything that this album proves, it’s this; Spiritbox are going to take over the world.

DAVE STEWART

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