LIFE OF AGONY – River Runs Again Live 2003

LIFE OF AGONY first made their mark on the scene back in ’93 with the release of their debut, River Runs Red, a dark urban concept album about the final week in a suicidal man’s life. Musically, the band combined a variety of influences with everything from metal, hardcore, goth, alternative and even pop finding their way into the band’s unique sound. Unfortunately, after their third album, Soul Searching Sun, the band, disappointed that the album failed to meet expectations called it quits. Now ten years after the release of River Runs Red, LIFE OF AGONY returns with a two-disc set taped from the band’s two sold-out shows earlier this year. “River Runs Red” and “This Time” kick the album off with the band’s high energy performances clearly displaying their renewed enthusiasm. The punk influenced “Weeds” and the alternative metal of “Seasons” further drive the point home with LIFE OF AGONY showing their ability to create catchy, memorable songs that could easily stand up to anything hard rock/metal radio has to offer today. “Bad Seed” features some sing-along crowd participation that complements the band’s heavy grooves and crunchy riffing, while the heart felt introduction and acoustic interludes of “Heroin Screams” once again spotlights the band’s dynamics and honest, introspective emotion. Disc two offers up the rhythm-driven, “Lost At 22,” before slowing it down with two acoustic numbers and the River Runs Red finale of “Underground,” “My Eyes,” and “Through And Through,” bringing the live sets to a close with power and conviction, showing that the band’s still got it after all these years. As bonus tracks, three of the four members offer up samples of each of the band’s current projects. Alan Robert‘s AMONG THIEVES offers up “Consequence” (which out of the three sounds most like L.O.A.) while Keith Caputo‘s oddball, droning experimental “We’re What I Say” might rub some people the wrong way. Drummer Sal Abruscato‘s SUPER MASSIV counters with “Fake” which is packed with heavy grooves and catchy hooks that show promise. River Runs Again Live 2003 is a fine souvenir for any diehard LIFE OF AGONY fan, although the uninitiated may wish to investigate the original first. Super diehards may wish to get the deluxe CD/DVD set as it’s packed with even more goodies for the L.O.A. fan who just can’t get enough. (SPV)

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