13 essential SPIRITBOX songs: unveiling the sonic realm of alt-metal’s burgeoning heavyweights
In the vast realm of heavy metal, few bands have captured the attention and admiration of the global metal community as swiftly and intensely as SPIRITBOX. This Canadian metal outfit, formed in 2017, has rapidly ascended the ranks, garnering praise for their distinctive sound, emotionally charged lyrics, and captivating performances. In this comprehensive exploration, we won’t only list what we believe are 13 essential songs from the band, but as well delve into the origins of SPIRITBOX, examine the group’s lineup, dissect their significant musical releases, and explore the growing impact they’ve made within the heavy metal genre.
Origins and Formation
SPIRITBOX traces its roots to Vancouver, British Columbia, where the band was formed in 2017 by husband-and-wife duo Courtney LaPlante and Mike Stringer. Both seasoned musicians with experiences in various projects, LaPlante and Stringer set out to create a musical endeavor that would serve as a creative outlet for their artistic visions.
Courtney LaPlante, known for her powerful and versatile vocals, had previously fronted the band IWRESTLEDABEARONCE. Her distinctive voice, capable of seamlessly transitioning between ethereal clean singing and guttural screams, became a defining element of SPIRITBOX‘s sound. Mike Stringer, who has a significant background in music, which included a stint in IWRESTLEDABEARONCE with his future wife and band mate, brought his skillful guitar work to the mix, laying the foundation for the band’s intricate sonic landscape.
Debut EP: “Spiritbox” (2017)
SPIRITBOX made their initial mark with their self-titled debut EP in 2017. The release served as an introduction to the band’s multifaceted approach to heavy music. Tracks like “The Mara Effect, Pt. 1” and “The Mara Effect, Pt. 2” showcased the band’s ability to seamlessly transition between atmospheric, melodic passages and intense, heavy moments. The EP’s reception hinted at the band’s potential, earning them positive reviews and setting the stage for what was to come.
Continuous Innovation: Singles and EPs
What followed was a series of singles and EPs that demonstrated SPIRITBOX’s commitment to continuous innovation. The release of tracks like “Perennial” and “Electric Cross” further solidified their reputation for crafting emotionally charged and sonically intricate compositions. The band’s willingness to explore unconventional song structures and experiment with different musical elements set them apart within the metal scene.
Membership and Evolution
In 2018, Bill Crook, previously of the pop-punk group LIVING WITH LIONS, assumed the role of permanent bassist for SPIRITBOX. Shortly thereafter, they welcomed Ryan Loerke, a drummer with roots in the Kelowna-based band SHREDDY KRUEGER, into the lineup. Jason Mageau, former manager of IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, established the Pale Chord label, facilitating the release of SPIRITBOX‘s music through a distribution deal with The Orchard. Advising a strategic approach, Mageau suggested the band focus on online promotion for two years instead of embarking on an expensive touring regimen. This decision allowed the group to steadily expand their fan base.
During this period of growth, SPIRITBOX marked their musical journey with the release of a five-song EP titled “Singles Collection” on April 26, 2019. Throughout 2018 and 2019, the band dedicated their efforts to composing the majority of the songs intended for their debut album.
After Loerke left the band in 2020, SPIRITBOX‘s lineup expanded with the addition of Philadelphia-based drummer Zev Rose. Zev‘s rhythmic prowess and dynamic drumming style complemented the intensity and complexity of the band’s compositions.
The band’s evolution was characterized by a commitment to experimentation and a refusal to be confined by genre norms. SPIRITBOX embraced a sonic palette that seamlessly blended elements of metalcore, djent, post-metal, and progressive metal. This amalgamation of influences allowed them to carve a niche in the metal landscape, captivating listeners with their ability to navigate through diverse musical territories.
The band’s music soon began to resonate with a global audience, earning them critical acclaim and recognition from both fans and industry insiders. Notably, their 2020 single “Holy Roller” became a viral sensation, amassing millions of streams and catapulting SPIRITBOX to new heights of popularity.
Debut Album: “Eternal Blue” (2021)
Amidst heightened anticipation, SPIRITBOX released their debut full-length album, “Eternal Blue,” in 2021. The album was a culmination of the band’s artistic evolution, featuring both previously released singles and brand-new tracks. “Eternal Blue” showcased the diversity of SPIRITBOX‘s sound, ranging from the aggressive and relentless energy of tracks like “Circle With Me” to the atmospheric and emotionally charged “Secret Garden.”
The album’s lyrical themes delved into personal struggles, mental health, and existential reflections, offering listeners a deeply introspective journey. LaPlante‘s lyrics, delivered with raw sincerity, resonated with many fans who found solace in the band’s cathartic expression of complex emotions.
2022 would see another change within the band’s ranks with Bill Crook departing SPIRITBOX and eventually replaced by former AS I LAY DYING bassist Josh Gilbert the following year. The band would go on to release “The Fear Of Fear” EP that same year to massive critical acclaim. Showcasing such powerful tracks as “Jaded” and “Cellar Door“, the new EP even further solidified the group as a powerful, growing force in metal.
Impact and Legacy
SPIRITBOX‘s impact within the heavy metal genre in such a short amount of time cannot be overstated. Their ability to seamlessly blend disparate elements, coupled with their fearless approach to experimentation, has contributed to the genre’s evolution. The band’s willingness to tackle emotionally charged subjects with vulnerability and authenticity has connected them to a broad and dedicated fanbase.
As SPIRITBOX continues to tour and captivate audiences worldwide, their legacy within heavy metal solidifies. They have proven that innovation and emotional depth can coexist within the realm of heavy music, and their influence will likely resonate for years to come.
The group’s rapid ascent within the heavy metal landscape is a testament to their musical prowess, innovative spirit, and emotional resonance. From their early days in Vancouver to becoming global sensations signed to Rise Records, the band has navigated their journey with artistic integrity and a commitment to pushing boundaries.
We have put together a list of 13 essential SPIRITBOX songs, which can be found below. Whether you are just discovering the band or have been an avid listener since the beginning, this list tries it’s best to encapsulate the overall diversity and sound that SPIRITBOX have continued to deliver in such gloriously sonic, yet at-times brutal, fashion. Let’s begin with number 13.
13 – Ultraviolet
“Ultraviolet“, from “The Fear Of Fear” EP, is an absolutely stunning song. Everything from guitarist Mike Stinger‘s crunchy punch to Courtney LaPlante‘s soaring vocals, “Ultraviolet” is a prime example of the absolute sonic-beauty that SPIRITBOX relentlessly deliver in spades.
The track is only complemented by it’s accompanying music video, featuring a surreal visual experience featuring vocalist Courtney LaPlante donning a striking outfit adorned with mirror shards, all the while surrounded by enigmatic dancers in a weathered room.
12 – Rule Of Nines
“Rule of Nines” opens with a pounding riff that drives it’s punch with purpose. Coupled with LaPlante‘s gentle tones, which seamlessly slip into an all-out guttural vocal attack, this track is a prime example of SPIRITBOX lulling you in with an almost tender bludgeoning, building to an absolute bombardment that maintains the song’s auditory beauty, yet in such an aggressive and extreme way.
This single, released in 2019, is a definitive pounder, encapsulating the essence of SPIRITBOX‘s ultra-sonic delivery of absolute, pure metalcore with a slight twist.
11 – Blessed Be
An absolute banger of a tune from this Canadian alt-metal collective. Guitarist Mike Stringer‘s signature layers of elegance, which meld to become pounding, jackhammer riffs with an absolute ease, support the almost lullaby vox of Laplante. Once pulled in to the sweet embrace the song offers with it’s hypnotic and insanely catchy hook, you are swiftly pulverized with SPIRITBOX‘s signature, crushing blows.
The final attack is relentless, inciting the all too familiar high that metal lovers endlessly seek and crave from their music. A great introduction track to the savagely beautiful world of SPIRITBOX.
10 – Eternal Blue
The title track to the band’s celebrated debut album is a mix of crushing guitar riffs, air-tight drums and soaring vocals. Another fine example of almost trance like beauty growing into a crunchy, riff-heavy audio experience.
“Eternal Blue” stands among the LP’s other tracks as a stunning blend of metalcore, djent, and atmospheric elements. It pulls you in and in typical SPIRITBOX fashion unloads a barrage of swift, aural aggression that leaves the listener wanting more.
9 – Hurt You
Once more, “Hurt You” serves as a testament to the band’s skill in delivering weighty rhythmic riffs, grounded in a pulsating energy further enhanced by eerie and otherworldly synth elements, creating a musical dynamic that tugs and propels.
Guitarist Mike Stringer says “Hurt You‘ was penned prior to the onset of the pandemic, crafted in the early months of 2020 during a snowstorm.
“We were stuck inside,” he said, “and couldn’t go anywhere, so this song flowed out of myself, Courtney and our producer Dan pretty quick. The subject matter of the song explores toxic codependency, and the feeling of knowing that something is doomed to fail, but making the choice to go down with the ship.
The video, directed by Dylan Hryciuk, is a horror-inspired experience which depicts love in four different acts. Stringer adds: “It’s the first video we’ve made where we do not make an appearance, and allow the story to be the main focus.”
8 – Rotoscope
A song which excellently displays the sonic evolution of the band.
The track features a captivating chorus with LaPlante‘s vocal execution coming off truly enchanting. Her voice seamlessly blending with the musical arrangement in a manner that enhances the overall experience.
The transformation of SPIRITBOX‘s distinctive sound into a digital realm is remarkable, positively emphasizing the band’s collective strengths rather than exposing any weaknesses.
7 – Circle With Me
An absolutely stellar tune which perfectly showcases LaPlante‘s vocal range and her astounding abilities as a singer. The track is perfectly delivered in a touching, gentle way overtop thick power chords which almost seem to blend into a vast soundscape.
That being said, the bridge of the song is an all out extreme, audio feast which firmly showcases the group’s uncanny ability to just crush listeners into a pulp. Also a glaring example of just how aggressive this band can be when it chooses to be. Which thankfully is quite often.
6 – The Void
A strait-up banger, “The Void” doesn’t waste time and gets right to the crushing, beguiling point. Courtney LaPlante‘s stunning voice alongside Mike Stringer‘s relentless guitar punch reveal one of the band’s most incredible listening experiences.
This track from “The Fear Of Fear” EP encapsulates SPIRITBOX‘s ethereal and familiar sonic delivery, giving it a rightful place among the cuts on this list.
5 – Constance
“Constance” is heartbreaking song inspired by Courtney LaPlante‘s grandmother Phyllis who suffered from dementia. The track is an emotional listen which stirs up feelings of grief and loss yet remains a powerful testament to the band’s ability to almost stun listeners with waves of beautiful sound.
Regrettably, as the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic intensified, travel restrictions were implemented, depriving LaPlante of a final opportunity to share precious moments with her grandmother.
“Due to border shutdowns, I was not able to say goodbye to my grandmother Phyllis, to whom the song is in tribute, or attend her funeral,” said LaPlante. “I always promised her that I would sing at her memorial service, because she always requested a ‘pretty song with none of that scary screaming.’ I hoped writing this song with no ‘scary screaming’ in it would help me find a sense of closure.”
4 – Yellowjacket
“Yellowjacket” is one of many musical collaborations that SPIRITBOX and it’s members would partake in. Featuring Sam Carter from ARCHITECTS, the tune comes off as a pure metalcore auditory experience complete with stunning breakdowns and a killer back and forth between both vocal talents.
An unadulterated bludgeoning of a track which grows to an incredibly aggressive peak and then seems to simply end, leaving the listener curious for more.
3 – Jaded
In “Jaded,” the band skillfully weaves their distinctive blend of eerie harmonies and dynamic instrumentals, creating an experience that is both haunting and explosively charged. The track’s unfiltered emotion and high-octane energy form a captivating whirlwind that holds the listener’s attention from beginning to end.
Exploring themes of disillusionment and personal strife, “Jaded” strikes a chord on a profound and relatable level. Courtney LaPlante‘s vocals take center stage, expertly translating her emotions into a cathartic musical journey.
As SPIRITBOX relentlessly pushes the boundaries, redefining the contours of modern metal, “Jaded” stands as a testament to their steadfast dedication to their art.
2 – Cellar Door
In the quest to artfully navigate the extremes of sensation, SPIRITBOX emerges as a fitting contender. “Cellar Door” stands out as an embodiment of this skill.
Here, the raw dissonance of Courtney LaPlante‘s fervent screams intertwines seamlessly with the group’s distinctive melodic approach to metalcore. This juxtaposition within “Cellar Door” showcases the band’s prowess in harmonizing the visceral and the melodic, creating an auditory experience that is both intense and melodically nuanced.
1 – Holy Roller
In contrast to some of their other compositions, “Holy Roller” is a tightly woven narrative, yet the tone takes a noticeably darker and more violent turn, all encapsulated within a concise three-minute package.
While many other SPIRITBOX tracks typically feature a blend of atmospheric elements, ethereal vocal melodies, and their signature djenty, metalcore heaviness, ‘Holy Roller‘ stands apart.
The band deliberately abandons melodic luminosity and pleasantries, opting instead for a sonic landscape that is the densest, bounciest, and most dynamically volatile—a few minutes of music that can be deemed some of their heaviest and most intense to date.
In the symphonic tapestry of SPIRITBOX‘s discography, each song is a brushstroke contributing to a masterpiece of sonic innovation. From the haunting melodies of “Rule of Nines” to the explosive energy of “Holy Roller,” and the emotionally charged depths of “Constance,” these 13 songs represent the pinnacle of the band’s artistry.
SPIRITBOX has transcended boundaries, seamlessly blending atmospheric nuances, ethereal vocals, and djenty, prog-metal heaviness into an immersive journey. With each track, they have etched their indelible mark on the modern metal landscape. As we traverse the realms of darkness and light within their music, one thing is certain—these 13 songs by SPIRITBOX stand not only as a showcase of their musical prowess but also as a testament to the enduring power of their sonic storytelling.