Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Life Of Agony|
River Runs Red
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
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Rich M. (Legion411) from RIDGE, NY
Reviewed on 12/11/2009...
I have listened to this cd no less than once a week since I first purchased it in 1994. It was produced by Josh Silver (keyboardist of Type O Negative) and has varying degrees of heavyness but has a constant groove that makes this the catchiest, most complete hardcore album ever made. As a teenager this was the ultimate soundtrack to the way most of us felt, angry disenfrachised and often hopeless (atleast my circle). and LOA managed to make the listener understand that we're all kinda together in that. Out of all of the bands I have ever seen, there is definately a comraderie among LOA fans that without a second thought had you reaching to pick up a fallen concert goer off the floor. One of the few albums that I can play for a cousin who is 10 years younger and turn them into an instant fan. I had the privelege of seeing them perform this from beginning to end for the 20th anniversary and it sounded better than ever...unlike (Type O) but that's a whole other story. The only complaint i've ever heard is some people have a hard time with Keith's vocal delivery but even most of those people eventually come around after a listen or two because their groove is infectious haha-that was completely unintentional! Just buy it!
Maybe I'm Just a Bad Seed
TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 01/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Life of Agony was a strange band when they popped into the music scene of the 90s. Unlike many of the acts in rotation then, they had talent when it came to the music they played, a singer with an odd style that made him stand out from the crowd of more aggressive rock acts gathering, and they had a concept album going for them as well. Some noticed them right away and plugged into what they were doing because of that, hearing not only the single that had gotten play but also the album that was designed to work as one heaping helping of tragedy, but they were mostly lost in the shuffle. Its hard to blame anyone for that, either, because the music industry was jammed with overexposure and it made it easy to miss good acts amongst the bad ones. Still, that was a shame because LOA was a really talented act. River Runs Red was a show of force when it released, both in what the songs could do individually and what they managed to accomplish together. Piece by piece, part by part, the album takes the listener through a life filled with turmoil (or, if you want to be technical, of agony), showing you all the things that have gone wrong. The mother that opted to kill herself and the son that blames himself, the father that wasn't there and the friends that never were; these all torment and build as the album rolls forward and paints a picture of one pour soul and the horror they call living. Sometimes, like in "Bad Seed," the lyrics are actually depressing to a point that you can feel horrible for the person, knowing that someone shouldn't have to live that way, and you can also tell that things simply do not get better at that point because some wounds don't heal. Added to that is the vocal style that lends itself emotionally to the words, sounding almost like its hurting when the words are hurting as well. Atop these songs are "breaks" (labelled like days of the week) that aren't simply there to take up space but that instead utilize little specks of "real time" to build this feeling of hopelessness, forging a life of their own in the expanse of a moment or two. With messages left on a machine from both a girlfriend that wants to just be friends, a school that is going to hold our listener back, and a job saying "get lost," everything that can go wrong snowballs on the pile. As you listen you can tell it isn't building toward a happy piece of punctuation at the end, either, but the extro (Friday) that leaves you with the sound of someone running water, a slicing sound, and then a stepmother screaming "no, god, no" in a distance that keeps expanding is crushing. And that all culminates into a whole and made this work hard to dismiss.Personally, I found River Runs Red to be a brilliant piece of work and would say that anyone that liked the music of that era, guitar-driven and a bit heavy (but not in a bad, too-much-grunge way), should check it out. If you liked it and wanted to continue onward, I'd also say that Ugly, the bands next release, was also worth picking up. Perhaps it doesn't equal the out-and-out perfection that this album showcases, but it does give you a nice taste of what LOA can do after trying to follow up something that came together so well. Its also the last taste of the original lead singer, to note, because the band switches gears at Soul Searching Sun."
The River Runs Through It...
Nicholas Alla Koholick | 02/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every so often, I revisit a classic album, just to remind myself of the good old days. An album buried in the not-so-distant past, that had anywhere from minor to unbelievable critical acclaim, and is revered by music fans all over as providing something head-and-shoulders above other albums of the time. An album that displays talent, technicality, great lyrics, and even greater songwriting. The kinds of albums whose songs make you come back for more countless times. Life Of Agony's River Runs Red is such an album.In 1993, the prevalent form of music on the airwaves and radio was the alternative/grunge scene, with bands like Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam being everywhere. Rap was rising as a serious music form, with albums such as Cypress Hill's Black Sunday, House Of Pain's self-titled album, and Dr. Dre's The Chronic being then-recent additions to the scene. Heavy metal was being reworked into its 90's style, and bands such as Pantera, Sepultura, Ministry, Tool, and Biohazard were able to maintain a strong fan base and semi-counter the alternative and hip-hop scenes. This was when Life Of Agony released River Runs Red. The album was groundbreaking, because it fused the style of N.Y. hardcore with the nuclear riffage of early 90's metal, coupled with deep, angst-ridden , lyrics, and melodic vocals similar to Alice In Chains. The combination worked, resulting in an amazing metal record. The album kicks off with a bang, as a heavy thrash riff starts things up, beginning the primal groove of "This Time." It soon turns to a laid-back, bluesy riff, and the thick vocals of Keith Caputo flow over the music like rich butter. A catchy chorus comes in at just the right moment, surrounded by volleys of double bass drumming, hardcore breakdowns, and is topped off with a grungy, spiraling, solo. The heaviness continues with the grungier "Underground," done in a more Alice In chains style, with a quiet beginning that jumps into a pounding riff. The rhythm section of Joey Z.(guitar), Alan Robert(bass), and Sal Abruscato(drums), rule this track. "River Runs Red" and "Through and Through" are catchier, shorter, songs, with Keith's vocals coming into the forefront yet again. "Words and Music," "Bad Seed," and "Respect" revert to the slower, punchier, style of the first two tracks. "Method of Groove" is more of a N.Y. hardcore-styled track, sounding more like Pro-Pain, Madball, and Biohazard than the Sepultura-meet-Alice In Chains sound of the majority of the album, with shouted group vocals instead of the normally melodic style of Keith Caputo. "My Eyes" has an upbeat opening riff, and remains that way throughout it's short length, and "The Stain Remains" alternates between being soft/slow and fast/hard. At about 3:30 into the song, right after a melodic solo, there is an amazing mosh-worthy riff that closes out the album wonderfully. The song lyrics are very depressing. It makes Staind and Type O Negative sound happy. Especially unusual are the three interlude tracks, "Monday," "Thursday," and "Friday." They consist of the `conversations' between an angry mother and her delinquent son, as well as a few slightly humorous(if not profane) phone messages, and a disturbing ending. I think the kid kills himself. Wow...The band released a radio sampler and a video, the former for "This Time," and the latter for "Through and Through." The latter received fair rotation on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and drove the album to sell respectably. Fans enjoyed the catchy, heavy, riffs, and the lyrics that could be related to. Life Of Agony's subsequent albums, Ugly and Soul Searching Sun, were not nearly as well received, partly due to the increased melody and decrease in heaviness, as well as the grunge lyrical content. The band went on to break up in 1999.Although Life Of Agony is no more, their members have continued on in other projects, and the band did leave behind this gem. River Runs Red is still as fresh as I imagine it must have been in 1993. "Through and Through" was a great single, and is my personal favorite track, but all the tracks are great. There is a lot of unsettling material, especially in the interludes, so be warned. It is recommended for fans of Biohazard, Prong, Pro-Pain, Alice In Chains, Godsmack, Sepultura, Pantera, Metallica, Sick Of It All, Madball, Anthrax, and Type O Negative, so if hard and heavy isn't your style, you might not like it. I give this album 5 stars. It deserves no less."