This Album Marks That Place For Caputo
History isn’t always defined by the amount of things done in time, but by the quality of them. Life of Agony may sound like a new name to many listeners, but those that have followed the band know that, even with their few contributions to the music world, their productions have been largely considered some of the most influential in the alternative pop metal scene.
After a few breakups and subsequent reunions, a change in lineup and in gender association for one of the members to boot, they’re finally back with their first release in 12 years. Skipping over the not-so-well-received Broken Valley, a product of their second reunion, Life of Agony have seemingly given fans a proper followup to 1997’s Soul Searching Sun with their newest release. Now on Napalm Records, A Place Where There’s No Pain, lyrically and sonically, is representative of what both the fans and they5 themselves needed.
The original members — frontwoman Mina Caputo (formerly Keith Caputo), guitarist Joey Z, bassist Alan Robert and drummer Sal Abruscato — have returned for this record. With the new label signing comes a new, somewhat mainstream sound. Caputo exhibits a more refined vocality on album opener “Meet My Maker,” where her vocals before would teeter in and out of committed force depending on the song.
This type of force isn’t a high point on every song on the album, though. One of the most doomy songs on A Place, “Dead Speak Kindly,” musically sounds much like Witch. Joey Z’s riffs are sprawling, Robert’s bass lines expansive and Abruscato’s drumming calls back to his darkest moments with Type O Negative. However, Caputo’s contributions are bogged down by effects and wispy airs that detract from the full potential of the song.
Instances where Caputo’s vocals falter are made up for by her lyrical expression. As the main songwriter of LoA, much of their new material has underlying relations to Caputo’s coming out as transgender, which happened in 2011. The song names alone give clues to the turmoil she felt before coming out, like “Walking Catastrophe” and “Song for the Abused.”
“The Green Man” tackles the issue of self-doubt when it comes to living our truest lives, while “A New Low” deals with feeling a sense of loss and confusion while navigating the world. Lastly, album ender “Little Spots of You” deals with suicide.
Those with a general knowledge of Life of Agony’s discographical history will have a deeper appreciation for A Place Where There’s No More Pain, where it sits on their list of releases and what it means as a turning point for the band. For new listeners, the album may be a harder pill to swallow. Regardles, this is an album more for diehards and Caputo’s expression than anything else.