Tag Archives: Roadrunner Records

Band of the Week: Life of Agony

From the primal concrete sledges of Brooklyn, New York comes the legendary “Life of Agony.”

Formed in 1989, the sludge infested hardcore band was formed and shortly landed a deal with Roadrunner Records, releasing classic album after classic album, starting with 1993’s “River Runs Red.”

“River Runs Red” would be the bands best selling album and is widely acclaimed to be their best work. Mina (then Keith) Caputo’s emotional pain being painted onto the albums lyrical canvas, contorting the music of guitarists Alan Robert and Joey Z. (ex- Carnivore) and drummer Sal Abruscato (ex- Type O Negative, A Pale Horse Named Death) into a masterpiece. “River Runs Red” would be re-released five times by four different labels (three times on Roadrunner) and was performed in its entirety by Life of Agony in 2009 and 2010.

“River Runs Red” would be followed by “Ugly” in 1995 and would take a darker tone than “River Runs Red,” bearing a broader spectrum of the psyche and how much more it could be bent following further depression. Loss of identity and fear would take a major focal point lyrically and would be blended with even more crushing rhythms than “Ugly’s” predecessor.

Life after “Ugly” would change for the band. Abruscato left after touring for the album and was replaced by Dan Richardson (ex- Pro-Pain, ex- Crumbsuckers), who played drums on 1997’s “Soul Searching Sun,” the more commercial album of Life of Agony’s career. Shortly after the release, Caputo would leave the band with Ugly Kid Joe Whitfield Crane fulfilling his duties on tour. The band would then split up for the first time in 1999.

After three years, Life of Agony would reform with the original lineup, performing sold out one-off shows that later lead to a full-fledged reunion – complete with a spot on Dave Mustaine’s (Megadeth) inagural “Gigantour” and the release of their final album, 2005’s “Broken Valley.”

2011 would mark yet another change for Life of Agony. After 20 years of life as a man, Caputo slowly began transitioning into a woman. Her announcement was initially met with mixed responses, but eventually blossomed into a plethora of support. Musically, there were not many sparks for new material. Abruscato would form “A Pale Horse Named Death” later that year

Life of Agony would choose to dissolve again in 2012, as they would rarely tour and did not plan on releasing any new material. They would reform again in 2014 playing several European festivals.

On February 13, it was announced that Life of Agony will be playing at The Wick in Brooklyn, New York on May 1 and 2.

Band of the Week: Nailbomb

Nailbomb was a side project of Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Ex – Sepultura) and Alex Newport (Fudge Tunnel) that should have taken over the world.

Unfortunately, Nailbomb’s run was short lived as the band would only play one show at the 1995 Dynamo Festival (which would become their live album, “Proud to Commit Commercial Suicide”) after releasing their only album of extreme aggression, 1995’s “Point Blank” on Roadrunner Records.

“Point Blank” was highly chaotic and wild with its blend of thrashing breakneck speed and heavy, sludgy grooves. The political and confrontational lyrics were just as offensive as its album art – a female Vietcong member with a U.S. soldier’s gun pressed against her temple. The brutality of the artwork was only a metaphor for what Nailbomb would sound like.

This is some of the most raw emotion to be captured on audio.

“Point Blank” also featured guest musicians Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) and Igor Cavalera (Sepultura) and would become a highlight of every career involved.

“Point Blank” also had some box office success as the song “Wasting Away” was featured in Gus Van Sant’s 1995 comedy-drama “To Die For” where┬áNicole Kidman seduces a young Joaquin Phoenix in order to convince him to kill her husband.

For whatever reason, Nailbomb chose to release only one album, but Cavalera, Newport and friends gave every bit of anger and frustration they had to getting a phenomenal record out of “Point Blank”. While there’s always a possibility for a return album in the name of nostalgia, perhaps it is better in the long run that Nailbomb’s legacy is left where it peaked.