LIFE OF AGONY – Broken Valley

LIFE OF AGONY - Broken Valley


Release date: May 30, 2005

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Life of Agony (LOA) pleasantly surprised a lot of fans a few years back by getting back together. The live DVD of their reunion show raised the expectations high for their upcoming studio album, and now it’s finally here. When LOA first came out, they sounded like Life of Agony and no one else. Keith’s emotional voice and the band’s youthful aggression cast a powerful spell on their young audience, letting them know that they were not alone in their suffering and self destruction. Connection that strong is hard to break and the devotion and love this band inspires in their audience is probably one of the reasons why the band got back together in the first place. No room for cynicism.

It’s so damn hard to let your favorite bands just be average even if that average is still markedly better than most. As far as LOA is concerned, there are two kinds of fans: those who think that Ugly is their masterpiece, and those whose votes go to River Runs Red. Whichever camp you belong to, it’s impossible not to expect LOA would come out with something equally amazing. Soul Searching Sun, did not quite reach those highs, but it was still pretty damn good, and now they are releasing album number four, which is just that. This statement alone is enough to break your heart.

It seems the band has grown up and are showing their age by sounding like a band from the 90’s. “Last Cigarette,” “Wicked Ways,” and “Don’t Bother” all sound like Stone Temple Pilots. There’s probably a market there too since STP has called it a day. There’s “Junk Sick,” which plays with a Sabbath kind of heaviness. There’s a sweet and short piano ballad called “No One Survives.” There are lots of tiny details that hint of this being more about the man with one of the most powerful voices in the business getting his way on most occasions, rather than a band passionately working together towards a common goal, which is a shame. LOA on a good day has no competition. Just put on Ugly or River Runs Red to see for yourself.

Not to give a wrong impression, Broken Valley is in no way a bad album, but it just does not live up to the former glory of LOA. Even the cover hints of that fact. They have gone and replaced glass with plastic.

You still get an introduction to Caputo’s emotional and unique voice that, at the start of their career, really set them apart from the rest. Just take a listen to that scream on “Broken Valley” to get a glimpse of the pain in his voice, or “Justified” to hear the intimacy he’s capable of producing. You also get lots of strong melodies with painfully touching lyrics — both are trademarks of LOA — but it’s just not enough. Only the first single, “Love To Let You Down,” and “Strung Out” stand out head over heals, but the rest just aren’t up to the insanely high LOA standards. This is probably what Metallica fans feel like after each new release, but no reason to give up hope just yet. All the potential is still there, all LOA needs to do is to just release it.


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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