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Life Of Agony - A Place Where There's No More Pain album review

Emotional metallers make long-awaited return

Cover art for Life Of Agony - A Place Where There's No More Pain album

While the epithet ‘tragically underrated’ ranks high on the list of egregiously overused phrases in music journalism, it’s dead-on for New York’s Life Of Agony. In the mid-90s, Life Of Agony emerged from the NY hardcore scene with an exhilarating sound that fused pounding tempos with sharp riffs, banging grooves and emotionally uncompromising lyricism. A 2003 reunion led to 2005’s Broken Valley – the band’s most polished and radio-friendly release yet – and this year’s follow-up, 12 years in the making, sees LOA drive their sound back into the big, bloody heart of the 90s. Opener Meet Your Maker is a growling, full-throttle belter with dissonant vocal harmonies that recall Dirt-era Alice In Chains, while A New Low taps into the manic urgency of Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple album. Vocalist Mina Caputo turns in another gutsy performance, fearlessly distilling her dark personal struggles into jagged and intensely emotional verse, most notably on the ethereal ballad, Little Spots Of You. However, too many tracks stall in that all-too-familiar quagmire of crunchy, mid-tempo alt-metal that, while dense and polished, lacks the kind of memorable riffs that stick to the walls of your brain. Worth checking out, if only because it leads you back to Broken Valley.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.