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Album Review: The real agony is in the quality of LOA album

Peter W | Interrobang | Lifestyles | September 26th, 2005

And now, the continuing story of a music lover reviewing CDs that were purchased during the summer months…

Life of Agony — Broken Valley

I have loved almost anything this band has ever done. If you want to experience a new band that has a wonderful back catalog, you can't go wrong with Life of Agony.

Last year I reviewed their reunion show that was recorded for a live CD/DVD release to much acclaim. Based on the success of the shows and the media sales for it, Life of Agony decided to get together once again and release their first studio album in about eight years. Did they live up to the hype?

Not really. Broken Valley is a success and almost a disappointment at the same time. As I said before, I loved almost everything Life of Agony has released, but there's just something about a few of these songs that lack something. But before I get to the disappointments, I'll talk about the good things.

First of all, most of the songs on the first half of the disc totally rock in a Velvet Revolver sort of way. “Last Cigarette,” for example, sounds something like VR would record. Not to say that's a bad thing, because the song makes you wanna bang your head (or fist or whatever you want to bang) along with the tunes. Other songs like “Love to Let You Down” and “The Day He Died” radiate that classic LOA feel.

Some songs like “Justifies” and “Strung Out” are actually too mediocre for me. I'm used to the catchiness or strong song structures of LOA but these two songs, along with a few others, just fail to give off that classic LOA feel or even a modern LOA approach, which I'm sure the band was aiming for.

Another factor that accentuates my feelings mentioned above is the lackluster production given to the disc. Everything just feels left in the background. You can hear the instruments clearly as well as Keith's outstanding vocal performance, but it seems like the band was hoping for an indie feel to this record. After listening to all the other LOA releases, this disc sounds like it was produced in a garage.

While I'm glad the band is back at it and has released a new CD with many good songs on it, it just wasn't the punch in the face that I think the band needed; although if they release another disc or come around this area to perform, I'll be the first one there. Let's just hope next time, the guys give us something that we know they are capable of; a CD that is completely listenable front to back with awesome production values. (7 out of 10)
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