Life of Agony releases their first album of new material since 2005’s Broken Valley with A Place Where There’s No More Pain. It’s been an interesting road for LOA, starting out as a band of cousins playing through the New York Hardcore and Metal scenes at places like Wetlands, L’amour, amongst other legendary NY clubs. The grittiness of their earlier days reflected on demos; most of which became their legendary Roadrunner Records debut River Runs Red.
As the band settled in the gritty hardcore styling slowly dropped off to reveal a more melodic side to the band, incorporating more rock styles as they went from ‘Ugly’ to ‘Soul Searching Sun’ which seemed to incorporate more classic rock sounds into their dark themed hard rock. Unfortunately, the band had some departures at the time as both Keith and Sal departed the band, only to return in 2004 for the “River Runs Again” shows which led up to their sole major label release Broken Valley. It would seem that the world wasn’t ready for that kind of a Life of Agony album at the time, and they sporadically played shows until calling it a day in 2009, only to re-emerge more powerfully; casting off the shackles as Keith became Mina. Live shows were better than before, almost as if a weight had been lifted off of them, so it was a big surprise that the band decided after all this time to make a new album A Place Where There’s No More Pain.
Didn’t really know what to expect at first, as most live sets pretty much consist about 2/3 of River Runs Red material, but this record if anything spans most of their output from Ugly on with a few new surprises here and there. The album opens with a riff similar to the Ugly era and Joey’s time in Stereomud with “Meet My Maker” and continues with “Right This Wrong.” What’s weird is while the album goes on, it feels fresh and less of a nostalgia act as the band have toyed in many side projects and solo albums which clearly gave them room to grow.
The album’s title track kicks in with a driving punk back beat with great relatable lyrics. The band had noted this album is sort of a gift to all the fans that have told them for years this music helped them get through rough times, and as Peter Steele once described it as “Sonic Therapy.” Speaking of Peter Steele it would be hard not to mention his influence creeps in as Joey served some time in Carnivore in 2009 and Sal’s time in Type O definitely came across in songs like “Bag of Bones” and “Dead Speak Kindly.” This album does have some crossover appeal, as songs like “World Gone Mad” and the title track have some sure appeal to active rock radio without insulting it’s long time fan base. Really cool almost Faith No More like chorus on “A New Low” is pretty interesting as well. The only thing that kind of didn’t make sense on the album was “Little Spots of You” only because it seems like the rest of the record is going pretty strong and it just kind of peters out there.
Bottom line: This is a strong record from a band that’s been around for a long time. Most bands output at this stage in the game are not as strong as what they did with this album. I also think the strength of this might encourage fans to go back and give other albums like Broken Valley and Soul Searching Sun another shot, as they might appreciate it more after hearing this.
Notable Tracks: Dead Speak Kindly, A New Low, World Gone Mad, A Place Where There’s No More Pain