Slow Down ‘Eternal Blue’ is Here
Jessica Kladerman – Editor in Chief
For five years Canadian metalcore band has been slowly releasing enchanting and haunting singles carving the path to their debut album Eternal Blue. Due to COVID-19, this album took nearly two years to produce, with the recording being put on hold more often than not. Spiritbox frontwoman Courtney Laplante worked closely with her husband and guitarist Mike Singer to find creative instrumentals that pair with the ethereal lyrics throughout the album. The songs were all written with the premise of flowing from one side of a vinyl to the other.
The record starts off in what feels like another world with ‘Sunkiller,’ where you’re introduced to eerie synthwave sounds layered with drummer Zev Rosenburg’s heartbeat thumps that progress to LaPlante’s enigmatic vocals, bringing you back to 2004 Amy Lee of Evanescence. When she begins chanting in a whisper, “Sun killer, sing me to sleep,” listeners know the break down is making its way into the song. The heavy screams, that LaPlante belts out herself, pull ‘Sunkiller’ straight into the next song ‘Hurt You.’
Singer’s signature guitar sound comes in hot in ‘Hurt You,’ whose lyrics reflect various stages of a toxic relationship that feed off its own “dysfunction” ending in catastrophe. The music video was directed by Dylan Hryciuk who worked closely with special FX makeup artists to create an unnerving short film that matches the intensity of the song.
If you know the metal genre then you know British band Architects and their iconic front man Sam Carter, creating a lot of hype for the next song he happens to be featured on called ‘Yellow Jacket.’ This song is an all-out duel between Carter and LaPlante, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
Ironically enough the following song, ‘The Summit’ gives listeners a moment of respite highlighting LaPlante’s singing range. It falls right in sync with Singer’s guitar evolution throughout the first half of the song. There’s an almost animatronic shift that leads into a technically crafted resolution that is sure to get stuck in your head.
Something the band is known very well for in the metal scene is their balance of heaviness with symbolic melodies and the single ‘Secret Garden’ is no exception, released back on May 26 of this year. The band collaborates with director Jensen Noel, who has worked with groups like Falling in Reverse and Asking Alexandria, to create an inquisitive music video that explores different stages of LaPlante’s life.
‘Silk in the Strings’ wakes you back up with up-tempo beats, howls and growls. This song would create quite the pit if ever played live, and guitarist Singer did not disappoint. As you flip the vinyl, the record proceeds with the album’s first single that was released on July 3, 2020, ‘Holy Roller.’ Because this video was recorded closer to the beginning of the pandemic the crew was bare bones, spooky pun intended. There was a heavy influence from the 2019 tale of horror Midsommar.
The title track ‘Eternal Blue’ slithers out next on the record building a momentum with LaPlante’s familiar clean vocals. It’s easy to lose her voice though in the layers of instrumentals between Rosenburg’s drumbeats and Singer’s guitar tone.
‘We Live in a Strange World’ has obvious pop elements shaking the album up a bit, which has surely upset a few metalheads. Synth beats tic throughout the song disappearing into ‘Halcyon.’ The word halcyon describes feelings of happiness, prosperity and an idyllic moment in life. So naturally the song is an ode to the happier days in life that have come and gone leading to a very reflective lyrical rundown. “These silhouettes will make me contemplate//Will I fit or fade away,” questioning her relevance as the song fades out.
The next song takes us on a loop, called ‘Circle with Me.’ Spiritbox teams up with director Orie McGinness for this chaotic tale of reclamation. The song starts off nice and heavy paired with clean vocals. My first time hearing the song I picked up on pop elements in the cadence, then Singer quickly reminded me who I was listening to with guitar riffs that got more complex as the song went on. There was a calm before the storm and suddenly LaPlante hits you with the lyrics “I have the power of a dying sun”-interesting nod to ‘Sun Killer’ perhaps- “I climb the altar and I claim my place as god,” and Rosenburg and Singer lose it creating my favorite breakdown on the entire album.
This album would not be complete without LaPlante’s love letter to her late grandmother Phyllis, who battled dementia, in ‘Constance.’ Director Hryciuk was welcomed to create a film he himself needed as he also had recently lost a grandparent who was living with dementia. The video matched the intensity of the lyrical and instrumental content in the song. Eternal Blue was an emotional journey from beginning to end. You can find the album on all streaming platforms.
If you think someone you love may be suffering from dementia, click here to learn more about the disease on cdc.gov.