“Spiritbox is where serene art-rock and metal savagery meet.” – Loudwire
The existential dread of isolation and the wondrous alchemy of artisans, ensconced in a self-imposed enclave of creativity, have converged in the music of SPIRITBOX. Part post-metal band, part art collective, SPIRITBOX makes magic in the musical and visual mediums, evoking spirits like that other type of “medium.” Not unlike the arcane occult technology of their namesake, SPIRITBOX communes with people all around the world, via broad emotional outbursts of sound.
Songs like “Holy Roller,” “Blessed Be,” and “Rule of Nines” explore the depths of the human experience, with an instant relatability, delivered with progressive metal precision and color. Conjuring spirits through music and video as do-it-yourself artists from their remote place of worship, the burgeoning arts community of Vancouver Island, the husband and wife duo of Courtney LaPlante and Mike Stringer inspired a cult following from their first emergence in 2017. It wasn’t long before bassist Bill Crook was baptized into the fold, expanding the outfit to a trio.
All three members of SPIRITBOX cut their teeth in the independent underground scene, making them virtual “West Coast Canadian Metalcore Royalty.” But it’s with this collective where each of them has blossomed into the fullness of their artistic identities. They are free from the “rules” of any preconceived notions or bands that formed before they’d ever joined. But the same drive that pushed them to quit their day jobs and jump on Warped Tour once upon a time persists, channeled into the holistic and all-encompassing expression that swirls within as SPIRITBOX.
Some of the steadily building videography behind SPIRITBOX was filmed on iPhones. For one early music video, they filled a bathtub with milk and spent less than 15 dollars on the production.
A self-titled EP introduced SPIRITBOX to the world, enticing fans of the duo’s previous band, Iwrestledabearonce, while enchanting an even broader spectrum of the esoteric minded sort. Singles Collection, the five-song set that followed in 2019, documents LaPlante’s struggle with depression, while emphasizing the band’s genre-transcending musical prowess. From melancholy to madness, from hopelessness to redemption, SPIRITBOX is a complete extension of its creators.
“People are starting to find out about us. It’s been a rollercoaster as we’ve started to gain some real momentum,” LaPlante says. “It’s a really nice position to be in, and lucky for me, my bandmates are not only incredible; one of them is literally my partner, who I intend to have for life.”
The SPIRITBOX cause is aided by close friends and cohorts who each play an integral role, coalescing together to form what they eventually share with the world. There’s producer Daniel Braunstein (Silent Planet, Volumes, Dayseeker), whose relationship with the members predates the band. Jason Mageau, longtime comrade and managing partner, put together Pale Chord Records, with the express purpose of giving SPIRITBOX a DIY home label to issue their music. SPIRITBOX has made most of their music video offerings themselves, but Versa Films Creative Director Dylan Hryciuk, a close friend of the band, is intertwined with the visual side. Bill’s wife, Ashley, is another crucial piece of the puzzle, with makeup, wardrobe, and imaging. And photographer Kyle Joinson, another strong supporter of the cause, is always ready with a camera.
As Revolver Magazine pointed out in a glowing profile, the band’s 2020 breakout single, “Holy Roller,” is both “insanely catchy and totally crushing.” The song quickly rose into the Hot Hard Rock Songs chart, a newly forged Billboard collection, alongside multiplatinum rock bands. Most strikingly perhaps, like everything SPIRITBOX, “Holy Roller” was fashioned free from compromise.
There is nothing pandering or remotely insincere about this band. That authenticity is what attracts its religiously devoted adherents, an ever-growing “denomination” of diverse people. The obsessive nature of the burgeoning fandom is a testament to the immersive quality of SPIRITBOX.
“We’ve had ups and downs, but mostly ups. Every time the wave goes up and down, when we’re back to looking up from the bottom of the ocean, it only helps to build you back up,” LaPlante observes. “My hope is that our self-awareness about the way things constantly change for a band will help protect us throughout what we believe will be a very long and very fruitful career.”
As the ghostly phrase from the late ‘80s baseball movie goes, “If you build it, they will come.”