It has been 12 years since New York metal act Life of Agony released its last album, 2005’s Broken Valley. That’s a lifetime in the music industry, although in the timeline of Life of Agony, that’s pretty much on schedule. After all, eight years passed between when it released 1997’s Soul Searching Sun and Broken Valley, but nonetheless, fans have wondered if the quartet of singer Mina Caputo, bassist Alan Robert, guitarist Joey Z and drummer Sal Abruscato would ever return to the studio.
They are getting their wish: Life of Agony’s fifth album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, will be arriving April 28 on Napalm Records.
“What made Life of Agony reunite [now] was the power of music and the power of love — the love we have for each other and each other’s families,” says Caputo. “Not only were the die-hard fans waiting for a new record for a long time now, but I think the individual members in the band were also excited and keen on making a new album as well. The band is notorious for disappearing for quite some time and then reappearing to open up some more wounds: lyrically, melodically and musically speaking.
“We really don’t have a formula to our timeline. We act on impulse and spontaneity,” she adds. “Now more than ever seems to be a perfect time to release a new collection of Life of Agony songs. I think society needs more work and more healing. More hard rock. More authentic music and artists. I also think we needed to heal as a band. I think we’ve achieved just that with A Place Where There’s No More Pain.”
Caputo says it feels empowering to have the backing of the band’s label and fans supporting the group, but it also feels “like we’ve been in labor for years,” she says with a laugh. “To finally pop this baby out is the greatest and most rewarding of all the LOA releases for me. It’s a huge jump in creativity for this band. It sounds like a montage of the very best bits of our life’s work. I’m excited for the world to grasp its claws into it.”
“We all really pushed ourselves on this one to make it the best it could possibly be, without compromising. That’s why I think it took us a bit longer than we anticipated,” explains Robert. “We didn’t want to settle, and we didn’t want to rush it. Hell, we waited 12 years since the last album, what was an extra couple of months!” he jokes. “It was really important to us to get it right. Not just the songs, but sonically. It needed to sound bigger than anything we’ve done before.”
Robert describes the new album as having “the big guitar riffs and grooves reminiscent of our older records, coupled with really intense vocal hooks. It feels like this is the sound we’ve been chasing all of these years and we finally captured it. Lyrically, it’s very dark and definitely touches a nerve. Lots of familiar themes that we’ve explored throughout our career: loneliness, desperation, alienation and loss. But we also touch on new themes as well.”
Caputo believes that all LOA records have the “overall classic sound” that fans have come to know, but A Place Where There’s No More Pain also has “a new energy” that didn’t exist before. “We are stronger, more confident, more thought-provoking and more colorful and touching,” observes Caputo. “There are elements and ghosts on this album that could never ever be mimicked or copied. I also believe that new ghosts have visited us for this special recording.”
Billboard has the streaming premiere of the title track for A Place Where There’s No More Pain. Listen below:
Caputo describes the song’s inspiration as being about “living your life constantly out of your comfort zone. When the darkest times hit and you seek that safe place or comfort, it’s then and only then that you realize that this comfort, this safe haven can never be reached, and perhaps, never exist.”
“We have a long history of connecting to our fans on an emotional level through our words and music, and that’s why I think there’s something really relevant and timeless about the message behind the title track,” adds Robert. “It’s about facing your problems head on in order to find peace within yourself — a topic that really hits home for a lot of our fans struggling with their own demons. The opening line ‘Running away only makes it worse’ couldn’t be more true, because sooner or later those problems will catch up with you, and when they do, you gotta be strong enough to deal with them.”
Inner demons are subject Caputo is especially familiar with: She came out as transgender in 2011 to the surprise of the metal community after a lifelong struggle her identity. Life of Agony was inactive at that point, and some assumed that her transition meant the group would never reunite. But Robert points out, “I think this band is a part of our DNA. It’s part of who we are as people. Let’s face it: We’re family. At this point, we’ve been in this band longer than we haven’t been. When we started this thing, we were just a bunch of angry and frustrated teenagers and Life of Agony was our outlet. We helped a lot of people cope with their own problems along the way by listening to us. Fans all over the world still come up to us at shows and say that our records helped save their lives. Well, the truth is, those listeners helped save ours.”