Having a hit song is one thing, but backing up that success in a sustainable manner is something else entirely. Tales of bands eaten up and spat out by the music industry after failing to build on early promise are commonplace, and it’s that fear of failure, of not living up to the hype, that can crush artists and stifle their creativity before they’ve had the chance to truly blossom.
But that’s not the case for Spiritbox, a band who amassed 66 million streams before they’d dropped a debut album, growing that number to 155 million following the release of first LP Eternal Blue, which hit #1 on the U.S. and Canadian Rock and Hard Rock charts, and peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200. Formed in 2017 by husband and wife Courtney LaPlante (vocals) and Michael Stringer (guitar), Spiritbox are named after a device some believe is capable of communicating with the dead. There’s a gleeful sense of the paranormal running through all the band do, but despite their celestial stylings, this is a group of artists who are very much brimming with life and creating something remarkable with their music.
The release of the single “Holy Roller” by the Canadian metal four-piece in July of 2020 was a runaway success, scoring the band – Courtney, Michael and drummer Zev Rosenberg – the No. 1 song of the year on Sirius XM and peaking at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot Hard Rock chart. And with Eternal Blue now out in the world, Spiritbox continue to usher in accolades. Gracing the cover of esteemed rock outlet Kerrang! – who, in a perfect 5/5 review, labelled Eternal Blue “the debut of the year” – Spiritbox are spreading their unique brand of metal far and wide, also appearing on the covers of Revolver, Poll Star, Metal Hammer and Rock Sound, and garnering support from the likes of Loudwire, Forbes, Billboard, AltPress and Spin.
The elements that make Spiritbox such a special band – fierce intensity, unwavering emotion and technical splendour – are present across Eternal Blue, but the formula is never once repeated. Whether it’s the anthemic metal of “Circle With Me” – which reached #15 on the Sirius XM ‘Biguns’ 2021 countdown and #1 on Sirius XM Liquid Metal 2021 (making Spiritbox the first act to top the chart two years in a row) – or the ambient melodies of album closer and single “Constance” (#15 Billboard Hot Hard Rock chart), each of Eternal Blue’s 12 tracks bring something fresh to the table.
The reviews agree. In a four-and-a-half star review, Metal Hammer called the album “a staggeringly brilliant record that resoundingly delivers on the hype;” Distorted Sound, meanwhile, declared Eternal Blue “a masterpiece of modern heavy music” in a flawless 10/10 write-up.
As for the band themselves, it’s their love of experimentation and flamboyant songwriting that makes Spiritbox stand-out from the crowd, according to vocalist Courtney.
“The experimental aspect of our music is a key part of Spiritbox,” she explains. “We’re very open with our approach, and in some ways, we’re still figuring ourselves out. All we do is make the music we feel compelled to create – there’s no grand plan here. We go with our feelings; if I'm pissed-off or I'm mad, we run with that and see what happens.
“In previous bands I’ve been in, the genre fluidity was almost formulaic, like a novelty,” she continues. “But that’s not what Spiritbox is about. We’re very self-aware with how we do this, and that’s attracting open-minded people to our music. With Eternal Blue, we want to get even more people like that on board.”
The wild abandon of the music reflects Eternal Blue’s imaginative theming. Inspired by a computer virus to which the album owes its name, the phrase ‘Eternal Blue’ took on a new life and conjured all manner of images in Courtney’s mind, which in turn inspired the songs.
“It very much became its own thing for me,” she says. “It’s like, yeah, I feel eternally blue, and sometimes I feel like I'm in a totally depressed world. Hearing the words ‘Eternal Blue’ made me think of a world where the sun had died, and the planet was slowly dying with it. From there, an array of images formed in my mind, and the songs grew into something bigger.”
Having topped the rock charts in the United States and Canada, broken the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the U.K. and Germany, the impact of Eternal Blue’s powerful imagery and spectacular songwriting continues to send shockwaves across the globe. But it’s the connection the songs have made with so many, rather than Spiritbox’s myriad achievements, that fills Courtney with the greatest sense of pride.
“What we have with Eternal Blue is something I hold dearly,” she concludes. “I’m incredibly passionate about what we’ve created, but becoming the biggest band ever isn’t my aim. For people to find hope and comfort in this music is far more important. As long as this album continues to find its place with people who truly connect with it, I’ll be happy.”