Since then, the bands popularity has spread like wildfire all over the world, thanks to their critically-acclaimed debut LP, ‘Eternal Blue‘ (Pale Chord Records), and their ability to push the boundaries of post Metal-core with a far more digestible, almost pop-like approach incorporating brain-hacking melody alongside, Djent/Tech Metal-core foundations, much like Sleep Token, who also saw significant success from late 2019, and specifically during the pandemic.
Regardless of the biblical rainfall that fell on this ‘Summers’ evening, punters were far from phased as they crammed into The Academy, making their way, almost immediately, to the Spiritbox merchandise stall, located in the venue’s ‘Green Room’, where a steady line (that consistently had up to 80-plus fans) waited to get their hands on the official SB merchandise during both support bands.
Speaking of which, both Blend of Sacrifice and Loathe were also making their Dublin debut’s this evening, making this somewhat of a historical show for all three bands.
Taking zero prisoners, Brand of Sacrifice waste no time in popping their Baile Átha Cliath cherries as they smash through opening track, ‘Blinded‘.
Vocalist Kyle Anderson brings an ominous, intimidating presence to the stage as he stalks back and forth in a trance-like state, pouring his lungs into the either whilst bathed in red glow of the stage lights. As one would expect, BOS are crushingly heavy.
At times, it was difficult to hear their their nasty Deathcore/Djent fusion, but that is attributed to the sound/mix, and the usual balance of live vs pre-recorded backing tracks. All-in-all, the venue lapped them up and prepared them for Liverpool eclectic Death-gaze four-piece,/ contemporary UK heavy music darlings, Loathe.
Much like marmite, you either get Loathe or you don’t. Tonight they took to the Academy stage with a simple blood-red screen glowing in the background. Opening with ‘Aggressive Evolution‘ (and a much better mix than Blend of Sacrifice), vocalist Kadeem France is the centre of attention as he playfully dances, and hypnotically spins between verses, which to be honest, is a captivating and strangely pleasing sight.
France’s call for pits and walls of death are immediately answered by the gleeful punters who, by now, are in unison, bouncing, chanting, and smashing into each other at any given opportunity. We are treated to a large chunk of 2020’s ‘I Let it in and It Took Everything‘, with a track from, ‘The Things They Believe‘ (‘Love in Real Time‘), which goes down exceptionally well with the packed venue.
Their final track ‘I Let it in…‘ swallows the venue in full, resulting in a beaming row of smiles from the band as they line up to give their thanks to chants of “one more tune!“. Judging by tonights reaction, Loathe would be most welcome for a return headline show. Let’s just wait and see what happens.
With two successful performances already in the pocket, all eyes are now on Spiritbox, who eventually take to the stage to deafening roars as guitarist/co-founder Mike Stringer, former As I Lay Dying bassist, Josh Gilbert, and drummer Zev Rosenberg launch into the opening moments of ‘Rule of Nines‘. Moments later, vocalist Courtney LaPlante casually emerges from the wings, and the true power of Spiritbox finally begins to blossom.
Having interviewed Courtney almost three years to the day, for an Overdrive feature piece (click here to access), witnessing the bands phenomenal success since then has been quite the spectacle. Tonight they prove why the hype has, indeed, been warranted.
The sheer volume of ‘Yellowjacket‘ has to be some of the loudest crowd singing I’ve heard in a long, long time, and doesn’t go unnoticed with Courtney, who, at the best of times, can come across reserved, and somewhat shy at times, but as she smiles and kicks her legs to the breakdown, there is no question that Spiritbox feel right at home here tonight.
A litter of bangers such as ‘The Void‘, ‘Circle With Me’, ‘Rotoscope‘, and ‘Silk in The Strings’ come fast and hard, before Courtney tells us: “We have been on the road for a very long time, doing a show here and a festival there, so to be on this tour here in Ireland, with our friends (Loathe & Brand of Sacrifice)… this makes us so happy. So, if you know this one, then join in“, and ‘Holy Roller‘ kicks in in all it’s majestic riff-glory.
If ever anyone needed validation that Spiritbox could fill a venue twice this size here in the Irish Capital, this was it. The venue shook with the force of the capacity jumping in unison with pits to the left and right, bodies floating and arms aloft. A truly euphoric moment that so many people waited for, as this track was, I’m guessing, the pandemic soundtrack for almost 95% of the venue capacity.
As with everything, all good things must come to an end and as drummer Zey Rosenberg kicks off the intro to ‘Hysteria‘, Spiritbox march toward the finish line with a powerful rendition of ‘Constance‘ and final track, ‘Eternal Blue‘ before bidding their farewells to an ecstatic crowd. Job done!
There is no question that the next time Spiritbox return to our shores it will be in a far bigger venue. Count yourself lucky if you were in attendance for this show.
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photos – Down The Barrel Photography, exclusively for www.overdrive.ie © 2023. All Rights Reserved.