Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Spiritbox, Loathe, Brand Of Sacrifice, Roundhouse, London, 14/07/2023

Photo Credit: Abbi Draper (5th July – Birmingham)

On June 14th 2022, as the population of Vancouver Island, Canada were taking their lunch breaks, their biggest music exports of the modern metal scene Spiritbox were stepping out on stage at London’s o2 Academy in Islington to stun a second sold-out crowd in London that same week. Even then the hype surrounding this band was electric, palpable and simply shaping up to be a band destined for even bigger horizons than the current 800 cap venue was emitting. Even in that moment where vocalist Courtney LaPlante gears up her gutturals to scream “Cut down the altar” that night, you could sense that Spiritbox could have brimmed out a bigger venue to its max capacity 395 days since they would next return to London to fill that void. 

And 395 days after the band step off stage closing out their time in Islington with Belcarra, Spiritbox have conquered and set their sights on those bigger horizons. An entire sold-out UK tour which climaxes tonight on their second sold out show at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse, now armed with new bassist and former As I Lay Dying’s Josh Gilbert, new single The Void to back their recent Rotoscope EP and beautifully heavy debut album Eternal Blue and a stacked support line up from Brand Of Sacrifice and Loathe, Spiritbox prove no one is breaking their stratospheric rise.

Toronto, Canada’s Brand Of Sacrifice brings their brand of brutal destruction to Roundhouse. From the off, vocalist Kyle Anderson looks like a man possessed, a man on a rampage or a man simply wanting to deliver a top tier masterclass in deathcore. The band came out swinging with set opener Dawn, before Demon King, a song designed “in order to keep this shit moving.” Next up, Lifeblood however gets this bigger roar of reaction upon its introduction, people around Roundhouse who rocked up early for BOS slapping each other on their mates’ shoulders, perhaps for the songs guest vocalist Will Ramos or perhaps because it slaps hard. “Turn this shit up to 10” demands Anderson for the newest number of the night Exodus, before the band deliver one final punishing deathcore punch coming in the shape of Eclipse. 10/10

Liverpool’s pride of progressive shoegazy metal Loathe were plagued by blanket and widespread sound and technical issues when they were last down South performing at this year’s Heavy Music Awards. Whilst the issues didn’t have time to linger for long, Loat;’es three songs couldn’t be made head or tail out of and frontman Kadeem France’s otherwise normal confident stage charisma was shrouded in self-consciousness caused by said sound difficulties. Despite Loathe having big shoes to fill after Brand Of Sacrifice, the four-piece put on their biggest pair of boots to stamp their own authority. Fresh off the back of Outbreak, UK Tech Fest and Radar Festival on the horizon, fatigue or sound issues isn’t something killing Loathe’s charisma. Between erupting into a back-to-backfrenzy of what should be illegal string of New Faces In The Dark followed by Heavy Is The Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts, before emotional shoegazy ballads Two Way Mirror and Is It Really You come into play, songs dedicated to Loathe diehards “If you’ve heard of Loathe before, this next songs are for you.” Being firm homegrown favourites in their own right, Loathe undoubtedly was a name on everyone’s lips already walking into see Spiritbox. 10/10

As blue emblem eyes scattered the room, Spiritbox were about to make sure all 800 pairs of eyes that packed out their second sold out show at The Roundhouse were firmly focused on them. Storming on stage to start with set opener Rule Of Nines, it was made perfectly crystal clear that there was only one rule in the room. Making this a night for heavy music’s history books to remember and as vocalist Courtney LaPlante stands before her congregation forcing her rule of nines, Spiritbox were a lot of peoples shrines this evening.

But perhaps what heavy music will remember the most about Spiritbox is their dynamic ability to break the dictionary definition of heavy music. Whilst songs such as Eternal Blues’s Silk In The Strings or hit Holy Roller have the crushing characteristics that define such a word, Spiritbox make heavy take on another life form. “Heavy music doesn’t just have breakdowns” starts LaPlane as a preface to encore moments Hysteria, Constance and closer Eternal Blue. “These last songs are a little more introspective and quiet but hit you differently to a breakdown would” she continues before swaying into songs such as the aforementioned, alongside the pulsating electronics of new single The Void or the hypnotically beautiful yet lyrically haunting The Mara Effect Pt.3. Heaviness can hit differently whether that be sonically, lyrically or otherwise, and live Spiritbox’s masterclass in being a dynamically heavy band has the ability to send shivers down your spine one minute to making you collectively lose your shit in a mosh pit the next.

There is a line in the band’s smash hit Circle With Me that sticks. “This could all be yours” and Spiritbox made their second date at The Roundhouse a show that was truly all yours for the taking. Whether it be bringing out Architects’ Sam Carter for Yellowjacket or being as Courtney graciously puts it “One of the best shows we have ever played”, Spiritbox out on a show that contains memories to last a lifetime, memories that never fade over time and memories that some would say will eternally last. And that’s a small fraction of what makes a Spiritbox show so special. 10/10

Written by: Katie Conway-Flood

Katie Conway-Flood
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