At the time of this writing, Spiritbox is reeling in almost 2.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. They’ve just finished up opening for Papa Roach and Shinedown on a tour that’s quickly garnering them attention from a new fanbase. And despite Ronnie Radke’s best efforts to target their fanbase (earlier this year, labeling them as “awful” after Spiritbox dropped a tour supporting them), they’re currently experiencing another rapid escalation of their fanbase as they’re preparing to release a new EP on November 3rd. Their two most successful songs to date, “Holy Roller” and “Circle With Me”, could end up with Gold certifications by the RIAA in the near future. What’s more is that many rock and metal publications actually ignored Spiritbox and their 2017 debut EP – at least until they started gaining attention with a handful of subsequent singles. This leads one to wonder – how much bigger can Spiritbox actually grow?
To answer this question, you have to go back to the beginning. Forming out of the ashes of the dissolution of Iwrestledabearonce (specifically, vocalist Courtney LaPlante and guitarist Mike Stringer – yay husband-wife teams!), Spiritbox quickly began work on their 2017 self-titled debut EP. While well-received (thanks to songs like “The Mara Effect, Pt.1”), it was with a handful of subsequent single releases that they started building a fanbase. The first five were eventually released as the Singles Collection, and it was during this time (from 2018-the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) that attention was drawn to them at a rapid rate. The drip-feed strategy of releasing another song just as the previous one was starting to decelerate was a smart one, as it’s turned out to be effective in the changing musical climate we now find ourselves in.
The singles all showed growth, too, regardless of in what sequential order they may have been recorded (compared to when they actually released). “Perennial” kickstarted their momentum into high gear in 2018, with a running theme of musical creativity arguably becoming their calling card. Vocally, Courtney LaPlante’s talent and range are both jaw-dropping on many occasions, with “Perennial” and the bouncy energy of “Electric Cross” both having massive hooks that seem, well, effortless. Meanwhile, Belcarra’s ending riffage and turn-on-a-dime songwriting abilities show that Spiritbox are anything but one-dimensional.
It’s this balance of heavy and melodic that’s become their signature. Not because it’s exclusive to Spiritbox, but specifically because of how they make it work. For example, pre-Eternal Blue single “Rule Of Nines” compiles everything Spiritbox in a sub-4 minute package – a menacing, groovy guitar crunch, unexpectedly violent (moreso if you’re unfamiliar with the band) and heavy outbursts, a huge and catchy chorus, and a theme that ties it all together. While there’s not necessarily a huge correlation between lengthier songs and musical excellence, packing everything you need in a 3:30-4:00 song is a skill that many heavier bands aren’t always adept at.
Where things really exploded for Spiritbox before the release of Eternal Blue was a trio of singles – namely “Rule Of Nines”, “Blessed Be”, and “Holy Roller”. The latter’s Midsommar-inspired video paired well with the unsettling and violently heavy nature of the track, and needless to say, it took the music scene by storm. Yet, the other two aforementioned tracks likely helped “Holy Roller”, because by comparison they’re a lot more palatable. Blessed Be’s heartfelt storytelling and underrated lyricism combine with serious emotional impact to create something truly awe-inspiring, while Rule Of Nine’s THICC bass tone and oscillation between the heavy and melodic is, well, ridiculously well-executed.
Spiritbox also has some unexpected pop and electronic influences that make the heavier side of the band more palatable. They appeared rather quickly in their music, even being evident on their self-titled debut EP, but really came to the forefront on Eternal Blue. Whether it’s the subtle pings and electronic textures on opening track “Sun Killer” (seriously, what an intro!) or the title track’s post-rock and electronic touches, it’s little touches like this that make it hard not to be impressed by almost anything Spiritbox releases, with atmosphere that’s striking even upon first listen.
Barely two years have passed since the Eternal Blue debut full-length arrived, and with both the Rotoscope EP (in 2022) as well as The Fear Of Fear out November 3rd, how much bigger can Spiritbox realistically get? What’s their ceiling? If you ask them, they probably don’t have a musical ceiling, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this is the year (well, for early next year) that they’ll get a Grammy nomination for their song “Jaded”. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the likes of Bad Omens or even Knocked Loose reeling in a nomination, though the Grammys are notorious for actually giving the award to things like cover songs. Seriously. However, even getting a nomination is a prestigious thing, no matter how one might feel about anything surrounding the Grammys. And who knows? Perhaps we’ll see Spiritbox headlining their own arena tours in the near future. Oh, and if you think they’ve gone “soft” (whatever that means), just listen to newest single “Cellar Door”. Holy. Shit.