Life of Agony is a band with a storied and at time turbulent history. For nearly 30 years they have produced some of the most influential and soulful music in all of rock. Many thought the end had come when they split up for the second time in 2012. But if we have learnt anything about Life of Agony, its’s that we should never say never.
It’s been 12 years since the release of ‘Broken Valley’. A largely disjointed and bloated album that looked to rain on the band’s legacy. When I heard there was a new album on the horizon I felt a little nervous. But one run through of new album ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ instantly puts all those nerves to rest.
Life of Agony is back in a big bad way. This is the album we have been waiting for. ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ showcases everything that made the band so great in the first place. Right from the get-go with album opener ‘Meet My Maker’ you can feel that this is a band reborn. The sound of a backmasked vocal gives way to a thunderous riff and pounding drums, everything just clicks into place and we are off and running. There seems to be a focus on riffs and hooks on this album, which have also been a trademark of their sound. There is a much harder edge to this album than there was on ‘Broken Valley’ but also the songs seem much bigger.
Vocalist Mina Caputo makes you feel every single word on here. Every line she sings hits the listener which such conviction.Her voice has so many different layers to it and each song manages to display a different aspect of it to the last. Tracks like ‘Dead Speak Kindly’ and ‘Bag of Bones’ allow her voice to soar and she really elevates the songs. Undoubtedly her stand out moment comes on the album closer ‘Little Spots of You’. This is the starkest song on the album. With a stark isolated vocal set against minimal piano and strings. It’s a haunting way to end an otherwise heavy album.
There are so many moments on this album that will raise a smile and get the blood pumping. Whether it’s the aforementioned ‘Dead Speak Kindly’ which is without a doubt the best song Alice in Chains never wrote. ‘New Low’ and ‘World Gone Mad’ Both have huge driving choruses and some of the best sing-alongs they have ever written. They are both instant classics. Every single song on this album is capable of standing side by side with any of the band’s classic material. That is not hyperbole, that is just a testament to how good the songwriting on this album is.
‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ is an album full of pure passion. This is a stunning rebirth from one of the rock world’s most underappreciated bands. Life of Agony has remembered who they are and has returned with an album that shows exactly why people fell in love with them. There is nothing on this album that feels even remotely like filler. This is honest soulful music that hits hard both musically and emotionally and will leave you hitting the repeat button over and over again.