A Place Where There's No More Pain by Life Of AgonyRelease date: April 28, 2017
Label: Napalm Records
After a short lived reunion in 2005 for the Broken Valley album, Life of Agony have spent the last few years slowly building up a return, with a few festival shows, and then tours. Now, finally the new album has emerged in the shape of A Place Where There’s No More Pain, their first album in twelve years.
With the sense of anticipation in the wait for this new album, it was important for this album to be more than just a nostalgia trip. The album needed to be a big statement of intent, and happily, it does that and more. A huge crushing riff welcomes in ‘Meet My Maker’, the kind of thing that Max Cavalera would be proud of, but it doesn’t dominate too much and that solid, simple riff drives through ‘Right My Wrong’ as well. The title track lifts the mood slightly, but in that way such as songs like ‘Weeds’ does, Life of Agony take dark subject matter and make something quite upbeat from it. This switch of moods and use of both melody and aggression flows right through the album, as it does through much of their work, but on this album it’s used to different effect.
‘Bag of Bones’ throws in some massive Type O Negative influences, and there is just not enough of that around anymore, with an intro and lead riff sounding like it could have come from their fellow New Yorker’s own arsenal. Straight after this ‘Walking Catastrophe’ in which Mina goes all Perry Farrell. It’s a bizarre direction for the album to go, but they do it so well, it doesn’t feel out of place. ‘Song For The Abused’ is similar to a couple of earlier tracks in that it deals with a serious subject matter, this time self harming, but the melody is so uplifting it’s a couple of listens before the lyrics really sink in, and that makes it more thought-provoking on future listens. The album closes with the piano led minimalism of ‘Little Spots of You’, which is very different to what has gone before and takes all of the different energies and moods from the album and slows it right down before the songs suddenly ends and you are left with a minute or so of a record run out.
Life of Agony have always done exactly what they have wanted to do and never really paid any heed to what has been expected of them, and this album is no different. They are a very different proposition to the band that released Broken Valley, which was in turn very different to the band that recorded Soul Searching Sun. The latter is a good reference point for this album as it combines the melody and heaviness in a very controlled way. You would never believe this was the band that started off all those years ago with River Runs Red, but their evolution has been fascinating, even more so when you consider that there hasn’t been a wrong step along the way.
There will be a split of opinion over this album, but what Mina Caputo brings to the band is something fresh and different, but there is that familiarity that crops up throughout the album that make you recognise the voice straight away. It’s a bold move doing so different, but it works well. As far as the evolution has come, it certainly feels as though this is far from the end of it, and I can’t wait for the next step.