Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life of Agony has the method of groove to grab your attention

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.

Unwilling to change for society, Keith is gonna be who he wants to be! He is the underground, the underground- yeah!

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 asking
If there's something wrong
'Cause you know damn well if I was fine
I would've never ever written this song
It 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.

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.

Buru Buru Dog and Keith Caputo both like to sit in the corner and quiver while they cry

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.

An incredibly pussed-out version of "Let's Pretend" in which Keith wears a windbreaker with the hood up the entire time

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.

Nuclear Death was much better at writing metal songs about trees. For example, "The Corpse Tree" from their 1992 7" "For Our Dead"

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!


  1. Never heard of this band so I will give it a listen.

    Also, I saw that film "The Truth About Alex" 2 semesters ago in my theatre class. It was pretty damn outdated, but was really funny when it wasn't meant to be.

  2. never heard of Life of Agony?! you've got a lot to learn about respect!!

  3. The above response is priceless.

    But regarding Life of Agony, I have yet to figure out how a band can go from such an outstanding debut as "River Runs Red" to such a completely and utterly boring remaining discography. I've loved "River Runs Red" since I was a kid, but even back then I couldn't get into any of their other records. I've revisited them since then, thinking that my worsening tastes over the years might've helped, but... no dice. Where did they go wrong?

  4. i think "people that have a lot to learn about respect" should become a new tag.

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  6. The further Keith dived into sap, the closer he got to my heartstrings. I love Soul Searching Sun the most. His solo work too. "Livin' the Blues" off of Heart's Blood wrenches my guts. Or is it pussy? I know no one understands me.

    Sarge, "Coffee Break" is when the most comfortable place isn't comfortable anymore. No one understands you in "Ugly".

  7. I saw Life of Agony several years ago and it was a real pleasure watching 4 forty year old men stomp around on stage to heavy music with lyrics probably written by one of their daughters.

    If there were to be any band sponsored by JNCO or maybe Mossimo, it would be Life of Agony. Fucking 1990's.

  8. no mention of the sad period when homeboy from ugly kid joe was in the band?

  9. If there were to be any band sponsored by JNCO or maybe Mossimo, it would be Life of Agony.
    ha! A+++++++++++

  10. srsly the mossimo thing was genius

  11. Well, at least there was some Nuclear Death to listen to in the post... Anyway, good job Sarge, but LOA still sucks.

  12. I never understood this lyrical snippit:
    The river runs read and I think I'm...

    Was Keith's life of agony like Dan/Marissa Martinez'? Is she gonna get a photo spread in Decibel too?

    PS: only liked the demo

  13. ahhh, fuck i hate this band.

    a few posts back i tossed out my genre "SMALL AMP METAL" to the world of MI. well, this band falls into an even worse genre that i have coined called "COUPLES METAL".

    basically the guitars and mosh parts are "heavy" enough for the dude, but the pussy, whiny vocal parts appeal to his girlfriend. thus, they can listen to this shit together and agree.

    ie: system of a down, LoA, etc...

    so they are driving along and the dude is jamming "4th Crusade" by Bolt Thrower and then his chick says "cant we listen to something we both like"?

  14. I saw them on their reunion tour, just before they put out Broken Valley. For some reason, Keith Caputo couldn't make it to the show, so they had Janis Joplin fill in.

  15. Great post...but what, no Broken Valley?

    I thought they killed it on that record. Never expected LOA to come back in the 2000s, much less with a record that was that good. That shit was golden.

    Does anyone else remember seeing a pic of Keith squatting naked and surrounded by candles? Can't remember if that was in a CD booklet or during his "solo career", but you can't skimp on these details.

    Also don't know how you tip-toed around "My Mind Is Dangerous".

  16. I bought Rivers Runs Red twice on cassette, not because it wore out, just because I loved that record so much. When I upgraded to the CD it had a melt mark in the case because the incense I would burn while "feeling" the album had fallen out of the holder.

    Ugly - took time to embrace. But I do recall hearing screeching disapproval as I climbed on the heads of adoring female fans to lock eyes with Keith and sing to him "Sometimes I like to pretend..."
    Party Jerk?! Maybe.

    That was cathartic. Sharing is caring.

  17. god, i fucking LOVE this band and have since high school! i even saw them when they had whitfield crane of ugly kid joe on vocals! i've often considered getting "if i knew what to do i'd do it" tattooed across my chest.

  18. I completely agree with savage's titling of this stuff as "COUPLES METAL". because it is hreally heavy at some parts but the vocals don't do it for me, and I could see how women would think the same thing vice-cersa. they would dislike the heaviness but like the whiny vocals.

    I'll try to get over the vocals.
    Hes one of those singers you either love or hate right away, or just grow into hating after hearing a few times, you guys know what im talking about. I can't really think of a good examples right now besides the singer from Cirith Ungol, and King Diamond.

    What are some vocalist you think of that fall into the instantly love or hate category?

  19. haha yop have a 'theatre class'.

  20. HOW THE FUCK can you review River Runs Red and not even mention the retarded skits? I thought you were better than that M.I. Seriously, that shit is comedy gold, fake answering machine messages (the one from the boss is my favorite) and all.

    Nice shout out to Nuclear Death though. Lori's myspace page is an endless font of disappointing hilarity to me.

  21. "Don't come back here, fuck you...and, goodbye."

  22. fuck, i cant believe i forgot the skits!! honestly i havent listened to them in years since i just have MP3s now and obviously i always skip them- i totally forgot that they even existed!! shame on me.

  23. I have never sat through an entire LoA album, but I will download the album that has skits. You had me at skits.

  24. The "mom" in the skits definitely sounds like Joey Z's voice put through a pitch-shifting vocoder.

    Go back and listen. And laugh.

  25. The Nuclear Death was very nice but being reminded about the awesomeness of Belly was the gold for me in this post. "Gepetto" was easily one of the best songs of the 90's.

    Metal Inquisition, I demand a "Do these loud guitars make me look metal?" post devoted to 90's female fronted power pop bands (Belly, Elastica, The Juliana Hatfield Three, The Breeders, The Muffs, Bettie Serveert and so-forth).

    Failing that I'll settle for a post about Abominable Putridity's good fortune at landing Big Chocolate as their new vocalist.

  26. yeah i wonder how theyre gonna work that?? i mean he's some 18 year old kid from Nevada... they're in fuckin russia?!

  27. Sarge:

    Maybe he could go as a foreign exchange student?

    You know, I can practically smell the makings of a Pauly Shore comeback movie in all this. How does "Vegas, The Volga & Vomitted Afterbirth" grab you title-wise?

  28. If MI did a post about 90's female fronted power pop bands would it be titled "Who gave these girly girls those rock guitars?" to keep the Body Count references going? "That lesbian plays so good, she took my muthafucking girl. There goes the neighborhood!"

  29. about a post focusing on skits from metal albums? anyone? anyone? does the little bit of jabber before 31 Flavors count?

  30. Didn't LoA cover the Simple Minds song "Don't You Forget About Me"? That's some Breakfast Club Metal right there.

    And the chick from Belly was cute as hell. Really short, and had this breathy little-girl voice like Marilyn Monroe. Can't verify her grooming habits, though.

  31. about a post focusing on skits from metal albums

    brilliant!! it will take some research, but excellent idea!

  32. In my humble opinion, nothing will top the skits on the Exorcist record, 'Nightmare Theatre.' The skits, mostly comprised of bad sound effects, are delightful - the end of "Riding to Hell" is priceless.

  33. "crumple into dust as my soul escapes through my mouth... probably around the age of 34." Fuck Sarge, you really know how to make a guy feel ancient. BTW, never heard of LoA. I will give them a try, but; incense, whiny parts, ugly kid joe, not sounding too appealing.

  34. I owned an LOA Ugly T-shirt when I saw some goth dude with one curtain ring in his eyebrow wearing the shirt, it went into retirement. I really can't remember what happened to it. I liked them up to Soul Searching Sun. Broken Valley sucked. Silly me was really happy upon finding it in a sale bin and parted with hard earned disposable income.

  35. possibly innocent bystanderMay 22, 2009 at 6:09 AM

    Couple Metal, very nice.
    Having said that, I´d rather listen to ANYTHING else the chick (I only date ladies though harhar) likes than compromising for such whiny crap.
    Might be just me, though. Ah well.
    Where is the dignity? But that was one of the points of this blog if I rememeber correctly, wasn´t it?

  36. Life of Agony is a weak pussy ass band, I don't care if you don't like that.

  37. The only thing that ever struck me about Life of Agony was how tiny Keith Caputo is. I don't think he's even five feet tall.

    LOA = semi-metal version of the Goo Goo Dolls.

  38. These are exactly the words I would have written about LOA...
    I feel kinda sad reading these lines,because last week Keith said that there's no future for LOA...
    Anyway, what about Broken Valley???

  39. Excellent post weldone for sharing here .