Life Of Agony emerged in the 90s amongst the New York hardcore scene with an exciting sound which merged metal and rock in a diverse crossover, and injected some serious grooves and emotionally charged lyrics into their sound, asserting themselves further. They quickly gained the attention of both metal heads and the media and now their debut album ‘River Runs Red’ is deemed as a classic and reminder of that sound they initially created.
Nearly three decades into their career they have had some tribulations along the way, including breakups and inner struggles, especially lead vocalist Keith Caputo who in 2011 went through a transgender transition and is now known as Mina. But now through all the pain and uncertainty as a band, they have fortunately come out fighting and stronger than ever to deliver their first album in twelve years ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’. Luckily the long overdue fifth release was worth the wait, being their most career defining album with a reinvigorated and uplifting sound running through it.
Opener ‘Meet My Maker’ immediately demonstrates this. It has a dark vibe, in the form of an ominous voice intro, which is hard to decipher, and for good reason, as this is actually a hidden messages for fans that can only be heard on vinyl. The song is slick and hard hitting with memorable riffs and harmonious vocals driving it to make one angsty rock hit. This is the perfect comeback song as it highlights their new sound and is seriously melodic, leaving you eager to hear more.
The elevated lead single ‘A Place Where There’s No Pain’ is an instant singalong rock anthem brimming with hope. It is pivotal to not just the entire album but the band itself, as it holds a special meaning for the band, centred on offering their fans a safe haven and escape through their music and shows, again demonstrating the band’s emotive emphasis.
This album makes a massive impact both musically and emotionally, especially through Mina’s heartfelt and personal lyrics such as, “I feel alone and I don’t belong” in the honestly brutal ‘A New Low’. There are moments of extreme intensity and moments of discomfort, through the unhinged musical tones and lyrics portrayed, which is structured and executed impeccably, with everything flowing as one. The final song ‘Little Spots Of You’ most notably shows this, in what is possibly their most impressive and powerful offering so far, with this unconventional sinister ballad. It possesses a dark and deranged atmosphere and is the most personal and intimate song featured. Ending on a stripped back haunting and beautiful number, aided by the use of piano, although unusual, it actually feels like the best way to close this momentous and anticipated return from Life Of Agony, as it shows you something completely different and creative, whilst messing with your senses and leaving you with one last look into the thoughts and depth of the band.
This is a stunning comeback with Life Of Agony producing their finest album to date, which offers something for everyone, with classic hard rock sounds with angsty modern metal, delivered in a unique, sensitive and passionate way, giving it that extra edge. After twelve long years, they don’t disappoint and turn a new page with their most important release in their career, as well as fighting for a spot for one of the best hard rock albums of 2017.
Release date: 28-04-2017
Reviewer: Carina Lawrence