Spiritbox is the New Face of Metalcore
When you hear “metalcore,” what bands jump to mind? Probably Warped Tour, scene kid classics like Motionless In White, Of Mice & Men and Asking Alexandria. Throwback to the days of straightened hair and drawstring bag moshing. If you’re a little older, it might even be Converge, Shadows Fall and Earth Crisis. Either way, if often seems that metalcore is a genre reminisced about, looked back on fondly, rather than thought of as thriving in the present day.
And if you have been paying attention, you’ve noticed that metalcore has been slipping back into the underground, into the basements and VFW’s and away from the mainstream stages, with more hardcore-oriented bands like Knocked Loose and Varials leading the wave.
Well, guess what: metalcore is back. And it’s got a new face. Spiritbox is not the metalcore you remember. In fact, they’re pretty hard to categorize at all. Formed in Vancouver Island in 2016 by husband and wife Mike Stringer and Courtney LaPlante, known for their time in deathcore act iwrestledabearonce, Spiritbox has exploded in a very short amount of time. Spiritbox is the definition of a modern band, and their path to success reflects this: they’ve done very little by way of touring and playing shows, and they haven’t even released a full-length album yet. Instead, the band has largely relied on virality and online popularity, which has propelled them to over 500,000 monthly listeners.
The husband and wife duo, joined by bassist Bill Crook and recently drummer Zev Rose, has spent the last couple years releasing singles and marketing them heavily with music videos and live studio playthroughs. It’s working incredibly well: their 2020 single “Holy Roller” has nearly 5 million Spotify listens, while the Midsommar inspired music video has another 2 million views on YouTube.
Let’s talk about what actually makes this band so important: the music. Spiritbox is doing something new, and it shows. Their diverse and almost confusing sound combines elements of deathcore and djent such as extremely low-tuned guitars, gutteral vocals and bouncy, slamming breakdowns with beautiful melodies and shimmering, pop-like clean singing. Their most viral hit “Holy Roller” is entirely the former, a crushing three minutes of breakdown after breakdown, full of pick scrapes, pounding drums and deathcore vocals. The band’s newest single, “Constance,” takes their sound in almost the exact opposite direction: it’s a beautiful ballad mourning the loss of loved ones, full of twinkling clean guitar, piano and beautifully sung melodies.
Spiritbox is a strange mix of styles and genres, but it just works. A huge part of this success is vocalist Courtney LaPlante, whose absolutely top-notch vocal skills and ability to switch seamlessly between gorgeous melodies and throat-ripping screams brings together the wide dynamic range of the band’s music. LaPlante has done an excellent job establishing herself as the face of the band: her many live vocal playthroughs consistently go viral, and she’s become widely known online for being the single most-requested guest feature within the entire metalcore scene.
Spiritbox’s fresh approach to metalcore is changing the genre, and their success is undeniable. While they’ve announced that their debut full-length album is coming soon on Rise Records, no details have been revealed yet. Keep an eye out – this band is only going to get bigger.