A new wave of heavy music is currently having A Moment. Bring Me The Horizon have headlined both Download and Reading & Leeds festivals in the past twelve months while Architects’ stadium support stint with Metallica has been a passing of the heavy torch. Elsewhere Sleep Token’s poptastic take on the genre has swelled beyond their cult status, with the band selling out Wembley Arena in a matter of minutes while “satanic” metalheads Ghost are now as comfortable playing before Slipknot as they are Halsey and Blur. At the other end of the scale, buzzy acts like Static Dress, Heriot, Pupil Slicer, Scowl and Militarie Gun are continuing to push the genre forward, bringing a new generation into the world of heavy music.
Then there’s Spiritbox who, despite only having one album to their name, already feel like icons of the new order. On Friday night, the Canadian four-piece finished off their very sold-out UK tour with the second of two shows at London’s Roundhouse.
As you’d expect, the impressive show is driven by moments of sheer ferocity. The first pit breaks out before vocalist Courtney LaPlante even takes to the stage for a hammering ‘Rules Of Nine’ while swaggering, unifying metalcore anthem ‘Yellowjackets’ sees the band joined by Architects’ Sam Carter. Then it’s straight into new standalone single ‘The Void’, which is as aggressive as they come and seemingly designed to whip mammoth crowds into an absolute frenzy. From the tightly wound ‘Silk In The Strings’ to the horror-inspired ‘The Mara Effect, Pt 3’, Spiritbox delivers an uncompromising display of fury and brutality.
Despite the chaos it inspires, the show is slick and polished. Flames and fireworks accompany an impressive video screen, with the pop production designed to make every corner of the room feel involved. The band couldn’t look more comfortable swaggering about the two-tiered stage if they tried.
There’s more to the group than noise and anger though. ‘Circle With Me’ blends the ethereal and orchestral with devastation, ‘Secret Garden’ is lush and hopeful while ‘Rotoscope’ turns the room into an industrial rave, complete with lasers. Breakout song ‘Holy Roller’ manages to be both a bellowing purge of anger and a glitching, joyous singalong.
Their ability to weave new energy into metal has seen Spiritbox straddle both old and new and tonight, they play up to that position. “Those of you who are young and full of life will be sad to know there’s only three songs left,” says Courtney before a soaring ‘Hysteria’. “I’m sure those of you who are old sacks of shit whose knees hurt will be very happy though,” she smirks, encouraging everyone to make the most of the rest of the night.
“It’s so amazing to me what heavy music can be. It can be a breakdown, it can be a downturned guitar, but it can also be heavy emotionally,” Courtney says before a dreamy, haunting ‘Constance’, which was written about the loss of a loved one. Later, after teasing an imminent return, Courtney explains how the closing ‘Eternal Blue’ was written when she wasn’t in a good place and the band didn’t feel like they belonged anywhere. “I want you to really look at us right now,” she tells the crowd. “We found our place right here with you, which means you have a place too.”
As white confetti covers every inch of London’s Roundhouse and the band launch into one final celebratory breakdown, it’s easy to see why Spiritbox have connected with so many people. But with such ambition behind every moment of their 70-minute set, this feels like the start of something much bigger.