Life Of Agony at Electric Ballroom, London - live review

Mina Caputo brings her heart and soul to the ball

Art for Life Of Agony live at Electric Ballroom, London

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The first thing that hits you when you enter the Electric Ballroom this evening is a sense of disappointment. One of the most unique outfits of the last 25 years, and one that injected a whole new range of wounded yet universally resonant emotion into metal, Life Of Agony deserve far more than a half-full venue on a Saturday night in London, even if it’s a 1,000-plus capacity room such as this. What makes it particularly disappointing is that the New Yorkers packed the same venue out last year, and that was before the release of their excellent comeback album, A Place Where There’s No Pain.

It doesn’t appear to bother LOA in the slightest, though. They come storming out and launch into a run of songs of such quality that very few bands could live with them; River Runs Red, This Time, Lost At 22, Weeds and Love To Let You Down all still sound phenomenal. With Alan Robert’s woozy basslines perfectly complementing Joey Z’s thrashing hardcore riffs, they provide the perfect eclectic musical canvas for the enigmatic Mina Caputo to weave her devious, heartfelt, soul stirring melodies. How someone so utterly captivating isn’t one of the biggest stars on the planet is an absolute mystery; taking your eyes off of her is almost impossible throughout and her voice remains a thing of wonder. Still, after such a breathtaking start, LOA do begin to slow down later in the set, with the band running out of the genuine anthems they began with. Despite that, this is a band worthy of much more attention than they get tonight.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.