Album Review: Spiritbox – 'The Fear Of Fear EP'

3 November 2023 | 1:52 pm | Rod Whitfield

So far, Spiritbox are right at that sweet spot, musically and managerially. May that continue.

Spiritbox - 'The Fear Of Fear' EP cover

Spiritbox - 'The Fear Of Fear' EP cover (Source: Supplied)

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Canada’s Spiritbox are currently the unquestionable ‘it’ band in heavy music. And why not? Their output so far has been slick, interesting and highly digestible all at once, and in the marvellous Courtney LaPlante, they have one of the more electrifying and attention-grabbing frontpersons in rock. On top of this, their live show is effortlessly thrilling.

Every so often, hype is absolutely deserved and absolutely lived up to, and that is the case here. 

(To put this ‘it’ band status into cold, sterile numbers - at the time of writing, the first single from this EP, The Void,  was pushing 10,000,000 plays on Spotify.)

So they are riding the wave they are on, making the most of said hype while it’s there, and justifiably so. In this monumentally tough and fickle industry, where there are at least a thousand rock bands out there, plying their trade, for every one that is actually getting somewhere, this is what must be done. In the last six years, they have released no fewer than four EPs and a full long-player. Has this meant quantity over quality? Let’s examine this with a focus on this new, six-track EP.

This scribe happens to be an unabashed, unashamed fan of the ‘Box, who also happens to believe that their best two releases were their first two EPs. And that has not changed with the release and subsequent ingesting of The Fear Of Fear

That is not to say the new EP is poor by any means, far from it. It only means the new EP suffers purely by comparison to the first two releases. Viewed in isolation, it’s a ripper. It features some of the heaviest material they’ve ever done in their short but esteemed career so far: Angel Eyes has a punishing, pummelling industrial feel to it and an almost deathcore-esque breakdown section, with LaPlante screaming like her very life depends on it over the top. Opener Cellar Door goes similarly hard, its chorus also serving as a crushing, slow-burning breakdown. One can see these two tunes becoming favourites in their live set.

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This is not some one-dimensional heavy release, however. Superb closer Ultraviolet brings the emotion dripping from the music and the immersive voice of LaPlante (which remains clean and melodic throughout the track). It takes its place among the best tunes this band has ever created. 

It is this variety, this broad scope, that makes this EP such a winner. It is this band’s willingness to take their music into different realms of sound and style, from heavy to emotive to ambient to experimental to electronic, within the confines of short, accessible tunes, that is a major part of their success so far. 

Another massive part is, as mentioned, the voice, look and presence of frontwoman LaPlante. She never fails to draw the ear and the eye. On this release, she is in typically stellar vocal form, changing up from soothing, soaring and enveloping melody to flesh-shredding screams and gutturals with seemingly effortless aplomb. 

Another reason they’re releasing so regularly may also simply be that they are veritably overflowing with ideas, songs and creativity. 

If you are one of those sooky contrarians who ‘hates Spiritbox coz hype’, you are both deluding and depriving yourself. They are popular because they’re damn good, no other reason. The only thing they need to be careful of is oversaturation. It’s a fine line between riding the wave and overdoing it. We must trust them and their management to plan their career intelligently to enable them to walk that line with the skill of a tightrope walker. 

So far, they are right at that sweet spot, musically and managerially. May that continue.

The Fear Of Fear EP is out now via Rise Records/Pale Chord. You can listen to the EP below and purchase it here.