The band of the moment for me this week are Life Of Agony from Brooklyn. It’s been twelve long years since I last saw the band in the tent during 2004’s Download Festival. For some reason I missed their short run the following year and previous to their London show on Thursday night their only other UK show was in Leeds back in 2009 as part of the Damnation Festival, which I also missed.
I’m really surprised it’s taken me this long to post about the band here, so you lucky people will get a few videos of the band over the next few days!
When I was an aspiring journalist – well a kid at school who badly typed up a DIY fanzine – I somehow got on to the Roadrunner mailing list and I received a cornucopia of releases from the label over three or four years. River Runs Red was one I received for reviewing purposes and I’m pretty sure I received it as a 12″ vinyl.
I was absolutely mesmerised by the album, 23 years later I’d still include it on any top ten list I’d have to compile (ah, the “list”. The antithesis of this blog!!)
With such a bleak and depressing theme of depression and isolation running through the loose concept album it shouldn’t really rank so highly, but it is so damn catchy. There is an abundance of styles thrown in over the albums original 50 minute running time. Brooklyn contemporaries Type O Negative will always be mentioned, but for me there is much more depth and diversity on offer. They also manage to mix in NYC hardcore and crossover (which is how I first became aware of the band through a pen pal from Queens, NY) and they even veer off into grunge territory. In places they could also be a modern day successor to Black Sabbath. Keith Caputo’s (as it was in 1993) unique vocals are a real highlight of the record, such a versatile range throughout and filled with so much emotion.
Seeing the band in the confines of the Wheatsheaf in little old Stoke in 1994 is a definite highlight for me for that venue, and I saw a lot of bands in there.
My mission before Friday evening is to hunt down my genuine Blue Grape (the company that was responsible for the majority of the Roadrunner rosters merchandise) Life Of Agony shirt from ‘back in the day’ and see if it’s suitable to see the light of day over the weekend.