Review: Life Of Agony – 'A Place Where There’s No More Pain'

Incredibly, twelve years have passed since Life Of Agony released their last album, ‘Broken Valley’. Since getting back together a few years back, the band have gone through a rebirth, the coming out of Mina Caputo as transgender, leading her to a happier place. Life Of Agony seems more together than they ever were, and the end result is an album of breathtaking high quality. Considering that Caputo thought of suicide as she struggled with life before, the album title might hint at her despair, but it actually seems to be offering the listener a safe haven from modern day world, the message being that you’re not alone. Although you could look at it that way, it is still an uncomfortable album in places. Extremely dark, it’s almost like the listener is intruding, but ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ is also very cathartic. If ever there was a perfect time for Life Of Agony to release a new album, then it truly is now. ‘Meet My Maker’ is a hefty way to open the album. Guitarist Joey Z lays down some meaty riffs, as the rhythm team of drummer Sal Abruscato and bassist Alan Robert lock into an almighty groove. Spontaneous head bobbing breaks out as the dial is quickly turned upwards. Although Caputo sounds fragile, her vocal performance is stunning, and she easily produces the performance of her life on this album. ‘Right This Wrong’ continues in the same vein, with a crushing few moments from Joey Z. The heavy, grungy riffs make the head want to explode, and that solo towards the end is way, way too short! If the opening few tracks were all about the guitars, then the title track is all about Abruscato’s precision drumming. Life Of Agony’s hardcore sound, from their formative years, has evolved through time to become a dark and brooding hybrid of grunge and hard rock. ‘Dead Speak Kindly’ could easily have slotted in alongside anything Soundgarden produced in their glory years, and conscious or not, the Alice In Chains influence is never far away. ‘A New Low’, for instance, features the hypnotic, pulsating groove the Seattle band perfected, but it’s mixed with faster segments throughout as the band mix it up. ‘Bag Of Bones’ is a front runner for favourite track on the album. The fuzzy guitar intro, the slabs of beef from the bass early on, the galloping drum sound, and Caputo’s tortured vocals, all combine to make a beautiful noise. Closing track, ‘Little Spots Of You’, is a stark piece. Haunting vocals and piano only, it is unnerving as it seems to be dealing with a suicide attempt, and when the sound of someone flatlining comes to an abrupt end, it seems like the attempt was successful. Like I mentioned earlier, in places this is an uncomfortable album, but it’s also a staggering album that heralds the triumphant rebirth of a band for so long listed as missing in action. Available now through Napalm Records Review: Dave Stott  ]]>

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