You know the drill. I’m going to cover the whole album and place Spiritbox at the number two spot for SteveForTheDeaf’s favourite records released in 2021. Admittedly I’m bowing out 8 weeks early (to avoid the rush) but I can safely say while Eternal Blue was one of the most hotly and heavily anticipated rock/metal/WhatInTarnationIsThis? albums of the year… Boy Howdy! Yeah. It delivered.
Sun Killer starts like Trent Reznor is killing time with a piece of old tech on a laidback sunday morning. You get a PrettyHateMachine vibe before things go somewhat Deftones (with a sort of agitated Beth Gibbon (but not) on vocals). The almost orchestral nature of Courtney’s voice swoop in early and setting a high tone for high tone places. This is high end racket. It’s more prog/pop than VERYHEAVYMETAL for the opening three minutes. Sure those guitar lines throb like heavy power tools. The drums clatter like Slipknot and the breaks for the whispered “Sun. Kill. Er. Sing. Me. To. Sleep” ending to the first three minutes then shreds out into fuzzed tones and that famous death metal growl. Fuck Me! Talk about a sucker-punch.
Hurt You did business as a single before the album got to us. In context after Sun Killer and before Yellowjacket it works as a combined sonic barrage. The production on this record is faultless and the songs flow into one another in a beautifully complete way. Yellowjacket is clearly going to be a live favourite. Proper intense and Nu-metalish it’s a duet between Courtney LaPlante and scene hero frontman Sam Carter of Architects. It’s immense. This is the sort of thing metal clubs go gonzo for. A grand pairing of two band who represent the vanguard of ThIs SoRt Of ThInG!
That muscular outburst is followed by the almost poppy pop of The Summit. It ain’t The Climb but in comparison to some of the more metallic moments it’s a smooth and melodic digital bath. This doesn’t feel cynical or commercial in any way. Especially when they’re leading with their more visceral stuff.
Secret Garden is next and it’s an urgent and tense bit of pop halfway between The Summit and the intense heavy screamathon Holy Roller in sound. However! Playlist wise halfway between those two is the track of the day. The one we have come to thumb.
Silk In the Strings is almost Linkin Park in places. Slipknot in others and a tad Korny. It wears its millennial heritage proudly on its chest. The track is a plethora of genre staples but also a showcase for Corklez to do her best growls, frantic verses and full on Death Metal shit. This songs a crash course in brain surgery. This is the whole of the Spiritbox USP in one song. Nu-metal meets death metal meets 21st Century Feminism and Math Rock. At once.
Holy Roller is one of the songs the band built their reputation on. The oldest track on Eternal Blue by far. There is already more than one version of the song online. First of all the bands old seven inch release and then cross over guest version with Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake were both heavier and faster and more furious than each other. Now we have the polished full blown album take. It’s a metal anthem. It deserves to sit alongside the greats.
Title Track Eternal Blue is another atmospheric slow doom meets ambient prog wash of rich noises and metallic tones. Almost hypnotic in it’s melody it softens you up for the song most likely to get a Post-Everything R&B remix on the album. We Live In A Strange World is all echos and spacious techno blips. It doesn’t even pretend to be a rock song let alone metal let alone Screaming Death Metal. It’s more like Massive Attack meets Let’s Eat Grandma back in an industrial club.
Halcyon carries the industrial beast through in it’s intro but the down tuned guitars return like a drunken murder of middle aged long married crows back from the pub. Courtney is still in melodic mode while the msuic behind her broils with the desire to open up a pit.
The crowning glory of a preview single Circle With Me does everything I said it did back in May before their epic anthem Constance closes things with tears and lumps in throats. Not to mention a deep and sweaty respect for heavy metal in its 2021 configuration. This band are headliners Baby!