LISTEN: Spiritbox – ‘Blessed Be’

Self described with their tongue placed firmly in cheek as “spooky-scary, but also artsy-fartsy”, Spiritbox was formed by Courtney LaPlante and Michael Stringer to avoid stagnating creatively within their former band, the Louisiana metalcore five-piece, iwrestledabearonce.

Joined by Bill Crook, Spiritbox followed their impressive 2019 EP Singles Collection with the release of ‘Rule of Nines’ late last year; a song that was nothing less than an assault on the senses. Now, the Canadian trio have taken on a more melodic approach on their latest single, ‘Blessed Be’, but that familiar darkness still lingers… “Offer me / I have the heart of a coward…”

From the ethereal, palm-muted guitar soundscape to LaPlante’s brooding vocalisation – alternating between a layered wall of sound consisting entirely of LaPlante’s layered harmonization and her head-banging guttural growl – ‘Blessed Be’ hooks you in with its whiplash-inducing groove. It is the track’s reflection on relationships however, that has us looking inwards; analysing our own insecurities. “Serotonin like a loaded gun / I am a coward, you pull me up / into a place where there’s nothing that’s left for me / But insecurity.”

Once the bridge leads into the skull-crushing breakdown, Spiritbox have decimated the scene, conjuring an infectious combination of electronic instrumentation and progressive – almost mechanical – djent-inspired guitar riffs. LaPlante admirably shreds her vocals during this emotional climax – alternating between beautiful melodies and aggressive vitriol – reaffirming why Spiritbox are one of the most exciting progressive metal bands emerging from the underground.

Spiritbox are have recently toured Europe with After the Burial, Make Them Suffer and Polar on the Behold the Crown Tour (which sadly had to be cut short).

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Monstrous’

​”This is not all of me / I choose the parts you see” reveals Petrol Girls‘ vocalist Ren Aldridge in the opening lyrics to the band’s latest track, ‘Monstrous’. Stretched over visceral riffs and piston-like percussion, Ren’s lyrics compliment the single’s accompanying video (filmed by Martyna Wisniewska), which shows Ren and her band mates sharing intimate moments both on, and off stage during their tours with Refused, Thrice and La Dispute.

Ren articulately explains the feelings that inspired ‘Monstrous’: “(The track) is about feeling mined and drained and too much and not enough and, ultimately, monstrous. It’s also about how I sometimes feel on stage or on social media. Sometimes I find fronting a feminist band too much pressure from too many different directions.” Whilst Ren’s insecurities are laid bare here, with the band’s cathartic backdrop of noisy guitar and knockout drumming, ‘Monstrous’ feels like a lesson in spine-strengthening self awareness.

Petrol Girls are currently on their UK tour, and are set to headline Oslo in Hackney tonight (16th Jan – event details here). The band will then head to Scotland and Ireland later this month, before heading off to play European shows in February. They’ll also be visiting North America for the first time, where they’ll be playing SXSW and New Colossus later this year. 2020 looks set to be another successful year for these feminist punks.

Watch the video for ‘Monstrous’ below and follow Petrol Girls on Facebook for more updates.

Petrol Girls UK & Ireland Tour Dates 2020
Jan 16: LONDON @ Oslo
Jan 17: NOTTINGHAM @ The Bodega
Jan 18: MANCHESTER @ The Deaf Institute
Jan 19: GLASGOW @ Nice & Sleazy
Jan 21: BELFAST @ McHughs
Jan 22: DUBLIN @ Whelan’s
Jan 23: LIMERICK @ Kasbah Social Club​

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Heather Gabel (HIDE)

Fine Artist and inimitable front woman Heather Gabel forms one half of Chicago-based electronic duo HIDE. Alongside percussionist Seth Sher, the pair create abrasive, industrial sounds and are renowned for their intense live performances. Their new album – Hell Is Here – was released earlier this year via Dais Records, and it seethes with their trademark fury against social injustice.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Heather to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five tracks/albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you catch HIDE live at The Shacklewell Arms (w/ Kontravoid) on 3rd October (event info here).

 

1. CRASS – ‘Reality Asylum’
This track slays in every way. Eve Libertine’s vocal delivery still gives me chills after having been listening to it for 25 years. I love that she isn’t singing. It’s a total assault on Christianity, noise and pure poetry, spat out with palpable contempt. I read that the record plant workers refused to press this track and instead left a three minute silence, so the band released it themselves as a single for 45p – half the going rate for a 45 at the time. I love so much about this band and ‘Reality Asylum’ sort of encapsulates all of the reasons why.

2. ANNIE ANXIETY – ‘Viet Not Mine, El Salvador Yours’
This song is so sad and heavy and scary. It plods and creaks and leers. It has the feel of sea sickness to me, like an inescapable situation you are just coming to grips with realizing is happening. The vocals are fucking wild; they layer, stifled, mocking, taunting, threatening, to create a real terrifying cacophony. The subject matter, violence against women/sexual assault, and makes the line “It’s not forever it’s not forever” sung frantic and childlike, ramping up and repeating, well, it’s especially horrifying. It’s such a powerful song.
Fun fact: Eve Libertine did the artwork for this record and the insert is a collage made of two pages from Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon, which shows the trashed San Francisco hotel room where Fatty Arbuckle raped fellow actress Virginia Rappe to death in 1921.

3. BORN AGAINST – ‘Well Fed Fuck’
I love this band. They were one of the best political bands going when I was growing up. They were so fucking sassy about it though, like way smarter than other hardcore bands or whatever from the 90s in my opinion, they were antagonistic. We’ve covered this song a couple times, it’s sick to sing, there are hardly any lyrics and it repeats, like a mantra, which is a lot like how I write lyrics as well. It’s “are you a good team player, remember your boss is your best friend, remember the bullshit they taught you, kill your head” over and over. It’s really simple but totally exhilarating.

4. INK AND DAGGER – Drive this 7″ wooden dagger through my Philadelphia heart (Album)
I happened across this band by accident in the late 90s. I didn’t know who they were, but they were playing in one room and I was in the bar in the next room. I was like, what the fuck is going on out there, went to see and stood there with my mouth hanging open for the rest of their set. The singer was a total force, later I found out their reputation preceded them, they had infamously egged Hare Krishnas and threw yogurt at Earth Crisis for example, silly stuff in hindsight but it was refreshing to see a band that ripped and brought real energy wearing vampire make up and the shittiest fake blood ever bucking the tired east coast “hardcore tough guy shit” that was so popular back then. I could kind of see myself in them the way they didn’t fit the genre, having been (still am to be honest) someone who feels like they don’t fit in with any particular group of people.

5. Rudimentary Peni – Death Church (Album)
I bought this record in high school solely based on the artwork but quickly sought out all their albums after listening to it. I loved how short and raw the songs were, all direct pointed attacks on societies ails, but the record sounded exceptionally good. I used to always buy this when I saw it at the record store and have multiple copies to just give people who hadn’t heard it because it really made an impression on me. I still would if I ever saw it anymore.
Side note: It was especially cool when Chelsea Wolfe did a Tribute to Rudimentary Peni Covers EP on Southern in 2012.

HIDE UK Tour Dates 2019 
01/10 – UK Bristol Exchange
02/10 – UK Manchester Soup Kitchen
03/10 – UK London The Shacklewell Arms

Photo Credit: Nicola Kuperus

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut