Life of Agony are back! Whilst they haven’t really been away of late, touring extensively off the back of 2017’s ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’. They are now set to return with brand new album ‘The Sound of Scars’ and to follow it up there will be more extensive touring.
The band have been through trials and tribulations over the years, personal challenges, break ups, hiatus’ and eventual returns. Now a more solidified unit, they have recorded ‘The Sound of Scar’s a conceptual masterpiece that continues the story from the bands debut album, ‘River Runs Red’.
On their debut record the conceptual story focused on a troubled teenagers inability to cope with a series of tragic events that pushed him to contemplate taking his own life. Audio scenes on that record tied the story and the songs together in a prolific way with the album ending to the haunting sounds of the teen’s blood dripping into a bath. A recording that brought the band critical acclaim.
The bands 6th studio album ‘The Sound of Scars’, released via Napalm Records this October, is another concept album. With the story picking up exactly where River Runs Red finished off.
Opening with ‘Prelude’, an audio track, that haunting dripping blood returns interrupted by an emergency service dispatcher reporting the suicide attempt over police frequencies.
‘Scars’ then takes the story up, the first song of the album, it’s a batter ram to your senses. Caputo’s voice may have changed over the years since River Runs Red, but the lyrical content remains as fierce as ever. ‘Black Heart’ kicks off with a raucous riff but it’s the drumming of new member Veronica Bellino that highlights this number. Her wonderful performance of enchanting, hypnotic drum beats helps draw you into the story that Caputo is painting with her lyrics. It’s a magical number and the stand out track of the whole album.
‘Then’ is the second audio interlude, emergency workers arriving to save the teenagers life. The story then continues through thought provoking songs of groove filled intensity. Joey Z’s guitar work as exquisite as it has been his whole career helping weave the story the band are telling.
‘Empty Hole’, ‘My Way Out’ and ‘Eliminate’ take us through the remainder of the boys intense story. The musical accompaniment to the tale delivers the perfect spine tingling intensity the story deserves.
‘Now’ brings us up to current day, in the audio interlude we learn the boy survived the suicide attempt and 26 years later is now married but dealing with the mental health fall out of his actions in earlier life.
Three more songs, musically intense and lyrically thought provoking tell the grown up man’s tale in only the way Life of Agony can. Which lead us into the final audio interlude ‘When’ where we are a fly on the wall in the man’s therapy sessions dealing with the issues he has always lived with. This final interlude leads us into the album closer ‘I Surrender’ rounding out the man’s story. The closer is a softly spoken song, gentle guitar riffs a hint of keyboards deliver a melancholic sound of defeat and resignation.
As concept albums go, this has swiftly become one of my favourite of all time. The intensity of Life of Agony’s song writing matching that of the story Alan Robert has written for this album. This could very well be the career defining moment of the bands long and storied career.