12 years on from their last album, 2005’s outstanding Broken Valley, and New Yorks Life Of Agony return with their first album since vocalist Keith’s transition to Mina Caputo back in 2011. And the good (no, make that great) news is that A Place Where There’s No More Pain – a perfect Life Of Agony album title if ever there was one – has everything you want and expect from these veterans.
From the very start of LOA’s 5th album, a number of things quickly become clear, first of which is that Life Of Agony are not fucking about with this release. From opening track “Meet My Maker” to penultimate number “Song For The Abused”, there is an urgency and drive to the music that does not let up until the closing “Little Spots Of You”, with its sparse arrangements and haunting vocal from Mina Caputo, which ends the album on a sombre high note. Second, is despite the fact the band has been more than a little stop-start over the years, it is clearly obvious that Life Of Agony is where Joey Z, Sal Abruscato, Alan Roberts and Mina Caputo truly belong.
This is an album bereft of flab, each note has its place and absolutely nothing is over-played.
Mina Caputo and Alan Roberts have always been highly emotional lyricists who like to dwell on the darker side of life and a glance at some of the song titles tells you that this time is no different. Speaking of Mina Caputo, her performance is (as ever) flawless throughout, she is blessed with rich timbre that only improves over time like a fine wine.
If you have a soft spot for Life Of Agony, then the good news is that this release is ripe and ready to be relished. However, if you never liked them previously then A Place Where There’s No More Pain is hardly going to change your mind….and frankly that’s your loss. 7/10