Broken Valley
6

  • Life Of Agony
  • Hassle
  • 2005-10-17

LOA appeared in the early nineties and breaking out of NYC they formed something of a genre of American nu-metal with the likes of Korn, Incubus and System of A Down. Following three albums from 1993 to 1997 and relative success they split in 1999 due to that most usual of ‘Yoko’s’ — musical differences. A well received reunion led to a tour which led to new material, which just about brings you about up to speed with their latest LP, Broken Valley.

Now if your instinct, with their name and raw, aggressive back catatalogue, is to assume that Life Of Agony haven’t come back with a radical new synth-pop direction, you’d be right. They most certainly have not come back with a radical synth-pop direction. Theirs is a music for the winter months, for grey skies and wrapping up warm in black clothes definately not sunny beach adventures! Lucky they released it now then…

…The death/drug fixation runs throughout the record, Keith Caputo’s honest lyrics and tortured singing suggests an unfortunate affinity with these things.

First track and single “Love To Let You Down” is a chunky, MTV-friendy rock song. The sort of thing that you’d love to hate whilst bemoaning the lack of Lightning Bolt on the radio/corporate music channel but you really can’t. “Last Cigarette” comes on like the stoner garage of _Rated R_-era QOTSA. After that Broken Valley mostly veers between overproduced but melodic rock and tortured drug/death obsessed balladry. The intensity of which certainly never lets up. The death/drug fixation runs throughout the record, Keith Caputo’s honest lyrics and tortured singing suggests an unfortunate affinity with these things.

They haven’t compromised in reforming, back for the long haul not the quick buck Broken Valley is pro-tooled to within an inch of its life but is far from souless – this is a heavy but undeniably catchy treat for all the Metal Hammer readers out there.

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