It’s been eighteen months since I last saw Life of Agony inside a British venue, not too bad a wait considering it took 23 years between Wolverhampton last year and the previous show I attended by them. They have also released their latest album after a wait of a dozen years.
A Place Where There’s No More Pain came out on Austrian label Napalm Records back in July. I never got around to pre ordering the album, but I was pretty excited to hear their first collection of new material in so long. I ended up streaming it via Spotify as soon as I woke up on the Friday morning and had listened to most of it whilst getting ready for work and on the nine mile journey there in the car.
On the first listen I wasn’t overly impressed with it. Maybe I wasn’t giving it the full attention it deserves? Debut album River Runs Red is held in such high esteem by me I could possibly be doing the latest release, and on reflection the trio of albums in between, a disservice by trying to compare them to such a high benchmark.
I walked into the two shows I attended last year not really knowing their 1995 to 2005 output and only being there for the River Runs Red cuts. After watching the original line up bang out what I wanted to hear, interspersed with tracks from the other albums I dusted off the hidden gems from that missing decade and rekindled my affinity with the Brooklyn band.
After saying all that it’s more disturbing why I’ve not attempted to listen to A Place… for at least a second time in full since April 28th (if I’m being exact!) until this weekend just gone. The band kicked off their UK tour in Norwich last Friday and I had a peak at Saturday’s Manchester setlist the morning after. There are three tracks from this years album in the set so I though it was time to give it a blast considering the fact that I’m off to see them in Birmingham on Friday.
On second, third and fourth listen it’s a great album. Still angst ridden, but more focused and not as harsh as their debut. Friday night can’t come quick enough for me now.
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.
Well I’m writing this on Sunday evening after this weekends debaurchery in Wales. Another weekend of great company and great bands. The weekend was slightly tempered by the unfortunate no show of Acid Reign who were stuck for seven hours on the motorway and were advised to turn around.
And the weather! For a week the reports had given us dry and unseasonably warm weather. With shorts packed we got the warm stuff this morning, on the way home, otherwise Camp HRH was damp and windswept.
Anyway, looking forward to next weekend now…
Friday – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
Saturday – Manchester, Club Academy
Two nights one band. Life Of Agony are back in the UK. Their debut album River Runs Red is up there as a solid favourite of mine and it’s been so long since I’ve seen the band. These are the first of three shows (so far) for Life Of Agony and I in 2016, the trio being completed at the Dynamo Metal Festival in July.