Spiritbox

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Spiritbox
OriginVictoria, British Columbia, Canada
Genres
Years active2016–present
Labels
Associated actsIwrestledabearonce
Websitespiritboxband.com
Members
  • Courtney LaPlante
  • Mike Stringer
  • Bill Crook
  • Zev Rose
Past members
  • Ryan Loerke

Spiritbox is a Canadian heavy metal band from Victoria, British Columbia. Husband and wife duo guitarist Mike Stringer and vocalist Courtney LaPlante established Spiritbox in 2017. The band's full lineup comprises LaPlante and Stringer, bassist Bill Crook, and drummer Zev Rose. The band's metal style is difficult to pigeonhole into a specific metal music genre and displays an array of styles that draw from a variety of influences and incorporate electronic elements.

Dissatisfaction caused LaPlante and Stringer to leave their former band, Iwrestledabearonce, and they started Spiritbox, seeking artistic freedom. Both released a debut extended play, Spiritbox (2017), followed by a second EP, Singles Collection (2019), with the band's line-up completed. Spiritbox developed an approach to fanbase building focused on the Internet and introduced their music through acclaimed music videos. The band continued to gain popularity with several singles that reached the Billboard charts before releasing their debut album Eternal Blue (2021), which entered the US Billboard 200 at number thirteen. Their music is currently released through their own label, Pale Chord, via a partnership with Rise Records.

History[edit]

2015–2019: Formation and early years[edit]

Before co-founding Spiritbox, singer Courtney LaPlante and guitarist Mike Stringer were both in Iwrestledabearonce.[1][2] The couple, engaged for four years, nevertheless wanted to form their joint musical project since 2011.[3] In late 2015, they decided to quit the band.[2] LaPlante and Stringer had each replaced a previous member of Iwrestledabearonce, and were never comfortable with that status in the band; the two also desired to pursue a new personal and creative direction.[4] The couple decided to take a break from touring and return to their hometown to find regular employment. Throughout 2015, multi-instrumentalist Stringer presented to LaPlante demos of songs that he created diligently, displaying different musical styles. LaPlante and Stringer got married in 2016, and two weeks after the wedding, they began investing their money into recording the songs.[3] Stringer wrote the drum parts for a planned extended play, which were rearranged by their session drummer at the time, former Iwrestledabearonce bandmate Mikey Montgomery. The EP was recorded by LaPlante and Stringer in their home studio, along with their friend Tim Creviston. It was mixed and mastered by Dan Braunstein in Los Angeles.[5]

Courtney LaPlante left her previous band, Iwrestledabearonce, to form Spiritbox in 2015.

On October 9, 2017, the husband and wife duo announced the launch of their band named Spiritbox.[6][7] Spiritbox formed in Victoria, located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.[1][8] LaPlante explained that Iwrestledabearonce had made no statement regarding their situation,[9] and thus, she officially confirmed her departure from the band on October 25, 2017.[10] Spiritbox ultimately received a budget from FACTOR (the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records), funded by the Government of Canada and private broadcasters, to support investments required for recording and touring.[11] As Spiritbox, the couple released a seven-song self-titled debut EP on October 27, 2017, which followed a single, "The Beauty of Suffering".[12] Soon afterward, the project was paused for some time, finding themselves deadlocked in their efforts to play the songs in live performances without other musicians.[3]

In 2018, Bill Crook of the pop-punk band Living with Lions joined the band as the permanent bassist,[13] expressing esteem for their music and offering support through friendship.[3] Shortly after, they found a replacement drummer in Ryan Loerke, who also played in the Kelowna-based Shreddy Krueger.[14][15] Jason Mageau, the former manager of Iwrestledabearonce, founded the Pale Chord label, which was distributed via The Orchard in order to release Spiritbox's music.[1] Mageau (part of Roc Nation) and the band decided to promote and establish online music rather than spending money on small club tours. As a result, they opted not to tour for two years.[16] While Spiritbox gained a growing fan base, they released a five-song EP titled Singles Collection on April 26, 2019 through Pale Chord.[17][18] Throughout 2018 and 2019, the band composed most of the songs for their intended debut album.[19]

2020–present: Eternal Blue[edit]

Loerke left the band in 2020.[14] They subsequently recruited Philadelphia-based drummer Zev Rose (full family name Rosenberg[20]), who is twelve years younger than LaPlante and fifteen years younger than Crook. As of late 2021, Rose has not been photographed with the band, leading to speculation that he is not an official member, though LaPlante explained that this was because of travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented Rose from physically joining the band in Victoria.[21] They finally met Rose in-person two days before the band embarked on its first tour with him.[1][21]

The album's production and its scheduled release for April 2020 were interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] Spiritbox found critical and commercial success with the release of the single "Holy Roller" in July 2020. It debuted at No. 25 on Billboard Hot Hard Rock Songs.[22][13] The song's original version spent seven weeks as No. 1 on Sirius XM Liquid Metal's Devil's Dozen,[13] and was deemed the best song of 2020 by the station's listeners.[8][1] In September 2020, Spiritbox announced that they had signed with Rise Records, as part of the label's partnership with Pale Chord.[23][13] The band subsequently released a remix of "Holy Roller" in October, which featured Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake.[24] The "Holy Roller" remix version spent five weeks as No. 2 on Sirius XM Liquid Metal's Devil's Dozen.[13][22] In December 2020, Spiritbox debuted "Constance", a song about dementia that was dedicated to LaPlante's grandmother.[25] In the same month, a Kerrang! magazine reader's poll voted Spiritbox as "Best New Band".[26] The continued release of "super popular" music videos created anticipation for Spiritbox's forthcoming album.[1]

In January 2021, Revolver included Spiritbox's upcoming release in its list of "60 Most Anticipated Albums of 2021."[27] At this point, the band moved to Joshua Tree, California, to continue working on their debut album.[28] The deadline of April 2021 was set to have the album release capacity in the same year.[8] The third single from the album, "Circle with Me", was released in April.[29] In May, LaPlante appeared on her first major magazine cover, the May issue of Kerrang!.[2] later that month, the band released the single "Secret Garden",[30] which landed in the Top 40 of the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.[1] In June 2021, as part of their Collection: Live series, the Grammy Museum asked Spiritbox to perform and record a live acoustic version of "Constance" in a church accompanied by a string ensemble.[31] One final single, "Hurt You", was released in advance of the album in late August.[32]

At the end of August 2021, the band's songs surpassed 80 million streams across all global streaming platforms, and all physical release and merchandising items were sold out.[33] Reflecting on the anticipation for the album's release, it was described as the "most anticipated debut album of 2021" by Alternative Press, Kerrang!, and Metal Hammer.[34][2][35] Nearing the release of Eternal Blue in mid-September 2021, LaPlante revealed that drummer Rose was an official member of Spiritbox; however, mutual border restrictions resulting from COVID-19 had prevented him from appearing in the band's promo photos due to his residence in the United States.[21] The album was released on September 17, 2021, to positive reviews from critics.[36][37][38] LaPlante said she considered Eternal Blue as "finally, at age 32, the realization of my true voice".[2] Eternal Blue peaked at No. 13 on the US Billboard 200. The album landed at No. 3 on the Top Album Sales chart in the week ending October 2, 2021. It topped on both Billboard's Top Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts. The album peaked at No. 8 on the ARIA Charts and No. 19 on the UK Albums Chart.[39] According to Pollstar, Spiritbox's official merchandise store grossed $1 million from its opening in May 2020 to October 2021, with between $30,000 to $60,000 coming in per month.[16]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Spiritbox employs several heavy metal-based musical styles. Writing for Metal Injection, Max Morin wrote that attempting to pigeonhole the band to any particular music style is "pointless".[40] Critics have described their style as metalcore,[37][41] post-metal,[36] djent,[8][42] progressive metal,[42][43] and alternative metal.[44][45][46] They have also been labelled as "post-metalcore".[47] Bobby Olivier of Billboard wrote the band displayed aspects ranging from atmospheric to industrial.[48] According to LaPlante, the band's music was constructed out of a progressive metal foundation before being condensed for the final version of the songs.[49] Revolver's Eli Enis described the band's musical style as an arrangement of "alt-metal with elegant vocals and thunderous djent grooves".[46] LaPlante herself has defined the musical genre of Spiritbox as metalcore;[8] however, she also said that "My main goal with this band is fluidity".[3]

The band integrates electronic elements such as samples and programmed drums within their sound as distinctive characteristics, as part of a musical genre evolving through the artistic use of new technologies. Guitar World wrote that Spiritbox "successfully mastered the art of digitally infused metal" while "maintaining a sonic stamp that's completely their own".[50] The digital synthesizer appeared as a particular sonic aspect of the band.[51][52] Spiritbox combined electronic styles after deriving inspiration from the 1980s pop music scene, Nine Inch Nails, and early post-punk bands such as the Cure.[48] The band has acknowledged that the impact of 1980s dark rock and pop bands, embodied by uncluttered musical compositions through synthesizer minimalism in "airy" song structures, inspired Spiritbox's style and served as the backbone for their work.[48]

Spiritbox has credited Alexisonfire and Protest the Hero as early musical influences.[1] The band referred to Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears as particularly significant influences.[48] Stringer's guitar playing style includes the "Gojira-esque pick scrape technique".[50] LaPlante has cited Tesseract,[53] Deftones,[54] Kate Bush,[54] and Tool as influences;[49] and mentioned that Meshuggah was her "standard bearer" in heavy metal.[55] She has also expressed admiration for Gojira,[5] Björk,[55] Beyoncé,[55] and FKA Twigs.[8]

LaPlante's first experience with the death growl came from listening to Cannibal Corpse at the age of five, which developed into a marked interest in harsh vocals during her early adolescence while listening to nu metal. At the age of eighteen, LaPlante laid down her screamed vocals for the first time on a breakdown of a song written by her brother.[56] She said that it is necessary to push the boundaries of the metalcore genre by bringing modernity and diversity of vocal styles to stay relevant.[8] Her vocal phrasing based on her musical expression, primarily rooted in contemporary R&B, would become a distinctive feature; she has cited Doja Cat, H.E.R., SZA, and the Weeknd as influences.[48] LaPlante's singing has received acclaim from music critics. Morin called her "one of the best vocalists in the modern metal scene".[40] Sam Coare of Kerrang! highlights her vocal performance saying that "Few frontpeople handle the transition from cleans to screams with the skill, depth and ferocity of Courtney LaPlante".[2]

Touring[edit]

The band embarked on their first tour in February 2020, supporting After the Burial in Europe, though it was canceled partway through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[57][58] Their second tour in July 2021, supporting Limp Bizkit in the US, was also canceled after a few dates due to safety concerns involving the pandemic.[59] This aborted tour with Limp Bizkit led the band to many unexpected expenses. Shinedown singer Brent Smith offered Spiritbox $10,000 to help cover lost tour expenses, while We Came as Romans decided not to charge for the lighting package the band had rented from them. Smith said, "I felt horrible what happened and I would hate for this band to not be able to continue due to this and I just want to contribute."[60][61] In October 2021, Spiritbox performed on the Coheed and Cambria-headlined S.S. Neverender cruise, produced by Norwegian Cruise Line partner Sixthman.[62] In August 2021, Spiritbox was announced as one of the supporting bands on Underoath's "Vouyeurist" tour alongside Every Time I Die, which is set to begin in February 2022.[63]

Band members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
[64]
BEL
(FL)

[65]
CA
[66]
FIN
[67]
GB-
SCT

[68]
GER
[69]
UK
[70]
US
[71]
Eternal Blue
  • Released: September 17, 2021
  • Label: Rise
8 144 17 40 8 17 19 13

EPs[edit]

Title EP details
Spiritbox
  • Released: October 27, 2017
  • Label: Consumer
Singles Collection
  • Released: April 26, 2019
  • Label: Pale Chord

Singles[edit]

List of singles as lead artist, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
Digital
Songs

[72]
US
Hard
Rock
Digital

[73][74]
US
Hot
Hard
Rock

[75][76]
[77][78]
US
Hot
Rock
&
Alt.

[79]
US
Main.
Rock

[80]
US
Rock
Digital

[81]
"The Beauty of Suffering" 2017 Spiritbox
"Perennial" 2018 Singles Collection
"Electric Cross"
"Trust Fall"
"Belcarra" 2019
"Bleach Bath"
"Rule of Nines” non-album singles
"Blessed Be" 2020
"Holy Roller" 12 Eternal Blue
"Constance" 1 19
"Circle With Me" 2021 71 1 5 50 12
"Secret Garden" 34
"Hurt You" 20
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Director(s)
2018 "Perennial" Dylan Hryciuk
"Electric Cross" N/A
2019 "Belcarra"
"Bleach Bath" Dylan Hryciuk
"Rule of Nines" N/A
2020 "Blessed Be"
"Holy Roller"
"Holy Roller"
(feat. Ryo Kinoshita)
Deadeyesart
"Constance" Dylan Hryciuk
2021 "Circle With Me" Orie McGinness
"Secret Garden" Jensen Noen
"Hurt You" Dylan Hryciuk

Awards and nominations[edit]

Heavy Music Awards[edit]

The Heavy Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony in partnership with Amazon Music and Ticketmaster.[82]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2021 Spiritbox Best International Breakthrough Band Won [83]

Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards[edit]

The Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards is a ceremony presented annually by the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, honoring the province's independent film achievements.[84]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2021 "Constance" Best Music Video Nominated [85]

Saskatchewan Music Awards[edit]

The Saskatchewan Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 2018, honoring the achievements of the province's music industry.[86]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2020 "Blessed Be" Music Video of the Year Won [87]

References[edit]

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