There are few bands I listen to more often than Life of Agony. They've been there through thick and thin, like an old baseball glove or a girl who you call to fuck and borrow money from every time you're single. With that in mind, it's high time Metal Inquisition sings their praises, album by album!
River Runs Red
Theme: "I wanna mosh."
When I wrote that theme, I sang it like Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" and thought of how great many 80s songs about dancing would be if you changed them to being about moshing: "All She Wants To Do Is Mosh," "My Girl Wants to Mosh All The Time," and so forth.
Anyway, I like to think of this album as the gay version of Carnivore. It has brutal mosh parts, but also lots of "wah wah, I hate my daddy" parts. I used to hate this album because of the unusual vocals. I just wanted to hear Bulldoze and Dmize, but now that I am an old, lonely man full of little else but despair, hopelessness, and shattered dreams, the vocals sound pretty good to me.
The songs seem to be broadly divided into two sets: songs about how they will mosh all over you if you step to them and their crew, and songs about crying. On the mosh tip you have tracks like "Method of Groove" in which they make sure you know that their method of groove will grab your attention. Then there is "Respect," which informs the audience that someone or another has a thing to learn about respect. I am not sure who it is supposed to be targeted at, I like to think that it's about a jerky cop who kicked me out of the Safeway parking lot in 1995 when all I wanted to do was skate with my bros. He definitely has a thing or two to learn about respect!!
There is also plenty of crying. For example, "Bad Seed," in which Keith passive-aggressively suggests that he is going to kill himself:
So please don't keep on askingIt reminds me of this Scott Baio movie from the 80s called "The Truth About Alex" where he finds out his best friend is gay and is going to kill himself. He tells his little brother melodramatically, "You can have all my records... I won't need them where I'm going!" Then he drives his Camaro off a cliff. I feel like Keith Caputo is also crying out for attention in songs like "Bad Seed" and "My Eyes." I like feeling sorry for myself too, though, so I'm cool with that.
If there's something wrong
'Cause you know damn well if I was fine
I would've never ever written this song
Theme: "I wanna cry."
On this album, Keith abandons the songs about moshing and talks a lot about how he misses his mommy. I don't get along all that well with my mom, but I am a sensitive pussy, so this is my favorite LOA album. Every time I get my heart broken by some 23 year-old hipster girl (usually two or three times a month), I put this album on, curl up into a ball and hold myself while I rock back and forth in the corner and cry myself to sleep.
I also like to put on "I Regret" and "Lost At 22" when I look back on my life. I wish that I could say that it has been one spectacularly disappointing choice after the next, but I'm such a loser that my failures aren't even spectacular. I'm not even interesting enough to be a trainwreck, I'm just slowing puttering down the road to fizzling out. Eventually I will just sigh deeply and crumple into dust as my soul escapes through my mouth... probably around the age of 34. When I think about this, I put on "I Regret" and fill page after page of my diary by scrawling "SHED MY SKIN AND START AGAIN!!!" over and over. It's what Keith would want me to do, I think.
My favorite LOA song, though, is "Coffee Break." Just like Keith says in the chorus, "No one understands me." In fact I am sure I am going to die alone because of this. All I want to do is listen to BrokeNCYDE, watch Bridget Jones and snuggle with a nice girl, but I am more convinced it will never happen every time I listen to this song. Keith is the only one who really gets me, I think.
Soul Searching Sun
Theme: "I wanna rock... while I cry."
On this album, LOA decided that they wanted to be a rock band. Basically this record sounds like Creed, which is cool with me because I like Creed, although it does represent quite a change from the old days in which they sang the praises of moshers who were unwilling to change for society. I half expect him to ask the audience if they can take him higher.
For example, "Angry Tree" reminds me of that one Belly song about the tree or whatever. It's hella 90s, I don't remember the name but I liked it a lot. The singer was hot as I recall, although if I went back and watched it now, I would probably vomit because she's probably wearing Doc Martens or something, not to mention what must be a giant bush lurking beneath her striped tights. And odds are their is someone with a Dr. Seuss novelty hat in the video somewhere. Mucky Pup proved that much. Writing songs about trees is definitely a relic of the 90s.
Keith wants you to think that he is done being a crybaby on this album, but I beg to differ. For example, in "Hope" he says "This song is meant to uplift you, not to tear you apart." Really Keith?? I don't believe you! I think you want to bum us out so we will listen to you play acoustic Bob Marley covers!! (In case you haven't heard it, LOA actually did an acoustic cover of "Redemption Song") You're not fooling me! Not cool bro, save that sensitive shit for Cyco Miko.
Life of Agony has a song for every mood and every time of your life! Lifting weights, tending to a broken heart, crushing despair, whatever- Keith and Joey Z have you covered! By the way, is Joey Z related to Johnny Z from Megaforce?? I hope not, because I feel like Joey Z would never have signed Overkill. Anyway, don't be an "I only like the demo" guy and tell me that "River Runs Red" is the only good album, because they all jam for their own reasons!