Life Of Agony – ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ (Napalm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Thursday, 11 May 2017 04:30

LoA artworkIt’s been 12 long years since Life Of Agony’s last collection of new material, ‘Broken Valley’, released under the pressurizing gaze of Epic, a subsidiary to Sony Records.   The album cycle proved to be a trying experience for the band, culminating in LOA disbanding for a second time in their career in 2011.  Of course, there has been much personal development within the band in the interim period, not least of all the much publicized gender transition of singer Mina Caputo.  Regrouping in 2014, it’s only now that we’re getting the follow up, ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’, with the four-piece clearly rejuvenated on what is their most hard-hitting and emotionally wrought record since their seminal debut, ‘River Runs Red.’

 

Just as it was with their previous works, ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ is a brutally honest record: presented with such energetic and heartfelt vigour, the purging of the negative circumstances that inspired the songs is almost palpable thanks to the conviction in the performances from all involved. 

 

Once again, Mina bares her soul for all to see, and she has never sounded more commanding than on the jagged pop-tinged metal of the title track.  On the massive opener, ‘Meet My Maker’, she declares, “And what I believe will never waver, ‘cos I’ve made my amends.”  Such is the hardcore ethos of LOA, and it’s indicative of the proverbial rising of the phoenix philosophy that represents the album as a whole.

 

Musically speaking, the band continues to deftly combine a hardcore influence to their mix of alternative metal and grungy swagger.  The aforementioned ‘Meet Your Maker’ explodes with a gusto swing of a riff that sounds like a spiritual sibling of Korn’s ‘Here To Stay,’ augmented by a soaring chorus which perfectly juxtaposes the pounding groove beneath it.   ‘World Gone Mad’ and the Stone Temple Pilots-esque ‘A New Low’ find the band on more familiar ground, the alt. metal anthems successfully intertwining the slight oddness of the melodies with a tastefully heavy instrumentation.

 

However, it’s the more experimental moments that are the real standouts here.  The wonderfully moody ‘Dead Speak Kindly’ features a looseness to the rhythms and vocal harmonies that recalls Alice In Chains at their peak of their powers, and a slow-burning mid section that has Sabbath written all over it. 

 

 

The eerie, gothic overtones of ‘Bag of Bones’ pays homage to  Type O’ Negative front man, Peter Steele, in such a convincing manner that you’d be forgiven for mistaking it not having been conceived by the man himself.  ‘Little Spots of You’ closes out the album with some toying with expectations; what initially appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill piano ballad, quickly leads into a stripped down and unpredictably arranged dirge.  Reverberated vocals add to the overall haunted vibe of the track, with masterful use of paused silence to create a sense of disquiet.

 

‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ is a triumph for LOA on all fronts.  This is probably their most concise record in terms of composition and musicality, and is as lyrically and vocally powerful as the best of the band’s material.  Regardless of commercial achievement, this is a resounding success artistically, and with any luck will herald a steady, creative streak for the four-piece.

 

‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ is out now.

 

Look out for our interview with Life Of Agony bassist Alan Robert this coming Sunday.

 

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