The year was 1993 and in amongst the epic metal albums of the year that included Sepultura’s Chaos A.D , Tool’s Undertow and the Anthrax comeback album, The Sound of White Noise was a debut release from Brooklyn, New York hardcore band, Life Of Agony, entitled, River Runs Red. Full of emotion, bludgeoning riffage and vocalist, Keith Caputo’s charismatic emotion driven vocals. It was a stunning debut and right in the mix for album of the year calculations all those moons ago. Unfortunately LOA never quite replicated the album in the following years despite some stellar tracks spread across the next two albums on the 1995 album Ugly and 1997‘s Soul Searching Sun, which you may recall featured the Triple J Hottest 100 track, ‘Weeds‘.
24 years later and despite several comeback tours including a 2005 record release, Broken Valley that swayed the band into a more mainstream sound (some would say to the band’s detriment), Life of Agony is once again back in the ball game with a new album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain. It’s probably a good time to mention another transformation that occurred in the last few years with lead singer, Keith Caputo transitioning into Mina Caputo. The now female vocal adding a slightly different tinge into what is a decent albeit not in the River Runs Red territory of a return.
When listening to A Place Where There’s No More Pain, the hardest thing to do as a fan is differentiate the band from the early ‘90s to 2017. Broken Valley pushed LOA smack into rock mainstream, something Caputo alluded to wanting to do in the latter ‘90s and eventually led to the band’s initial break up. This album attempts to relive their roots to some extent but fails to reach the heights as Caputo’s vocals, whilst still amazing, not able to hold the kind of emotion and strength that her former being was capable of. Saying that, there are a few bangers on this album, take note of the tracks ‘Bag of Bones’ and ‘Right This Wrong’, particularly the former as it would rate highly on the best LOA tracks of their career.
The more mainstream pulls from the record such as ‘World Gone Mad’ offer an opportunity for Caputo to indulge the melody she so adores, though I can’t help but think that the emotion of River Runs Red is sorely missing on this release, despite some of the lyrical content. Strange, considering the stories behind some of the tracks and even more so considering the mental and physical pain that Caputo must have endured in the last few years. I’ve read a few reviews that felt the emotion had come out in Caputo’s vocals, personally, I wasn’t feeling it.
Opener, ‘Meet the Maker’, lacked the punch that could of kick started the new Life of Agony in 2017 though the resemblance to Stone Temple Pilots or Alice in Chains is not lost on the listener. Overall, a decent album with occasional highlights. Just having the band back out and recording new music is a good start for me.
1. Meet My Maker
2. Right This Wrong
3. A Place Where There’s No More Pain
4. Dead Speak Kindly
5. A New Low
6. World Gone Mad
7. Bag Of Bones
8. Walking Catastrophe
9. Song For The Abused
10. Little Spots Of You
Review by @plugga73
Get Your Copy Here