LIFE OF AGONY — River Runs Red

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LIFE OF AGONY - River Runs Red cover
4.44 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993

Tracklist

1. This Time (5:42)
2. Underground (4:41)
3. Monday (1:31)
4. River Runs Red (1:55)
5. Through and Through (3:06)
6. Words and Music (5:13)
7. Thursday (2:10)
8. Bad Seed (5:40)
9. My Eyes (2:47)
10. Respect (4:16)
11. Method of Groove (5:17)
12. The Stain Remains (4:31)
13. Friday (3:35)

Total Time: 50:28

Line-up/Musicians

- Keith Caputo / vocals
- Joey Z. / guitars
- Alan Robert / bass
- Sal Abruscato / drums

About this release

Roadrunner Records, October 12, 1993

Recorded at System Two, Brooklyn, NY

Produced by Josh Silver

All Music & Arrangements by Life of Agony (Alan Robert)

All Lyrics, Melodies and Musical Concepts by Alan Robert

A digipack version of River Runs Red released in 1994 contains additional tracks:
"Plexi Intro (live)"
"Respect (live)"
"This Time (live)"
"Through and Through (live)"

A re-issue version of River Runs Red released in 2008 contains the additional tracks:
"Here I Am, Here I Stay"
"Depression"
"3 Companions"
"Plexiglass Gate"

Thanks to UMUR, Time Signature, Unitron for the updates

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LIFE OF AGONY RIVER RUNS RED reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Kingcrimsonprog
River Runs Red is the cult-classic debut full-length studio album by the underrated, unique New York band Life Of Agony. It was produced by Josh Silver and released in 1993 through Roadrunner Records.

The album is a concept album which tells the story of a confused and disillusioned young man with low self-worth and a poor support network, who ultimately decides to commit suicide. Its pretty grim, dark, weighty stuff. The story really sucks you in, and you find yourself hoping its not going to end in tragedy.

Musically, this album is a pretty interesting hybrid. There’s touches of Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, NY Hardcore and a big Type-O Negative influence at the same time. At times its almost sort of like Sick Of It All doing a St Vitus cover song, with Pete Steele on vocals. Not really, but that’s a ballpark idea of what to expect.

The whole thing is chocked full of pummeling double-kicks and gang vocals, big fat dirty riffs, inventive drumming, really unique and interesting vocal performances and bucketloads of catchy hooks.

Album highlights include the speedy Title Track, the absolutely crushing opener “This Time” and the bitter introspective “Bad Seed.” If you wonder whether the album is for you or not, check out those three! That said, the whole album is rock solid, consistent from start to finish, and there’s no messing with tracks like “These Eyes” or “Method Of Groove” either. The only thing you’ll find yourself skipping are the three additional atmospheric tracks (each named after a day of the week) that provide the story but aren’t songs. Awesome for when you sit down and listen to it as a story, but missable if you just want to be bludgeoned by heavy music.

Overall; this album is an absolute monster. Relentlessly catchy, full of crushing riffs, a dynamic mix of speed and slow, powerful vocals and an interesting story. It’s a pretty unique record that no other band sounds like (and the band themselves would never repeat stylistically) and as long as you aren’t upset that it doesn’t fit neatly into one confined box, this album just gives and gives. It’s a grower, and the more spins you put in, the more magic you get back. In short – highly recommended.

Members reviews

ChaosAngel
Life of Agony surfaced from the same musical scene (early 1990's Brooklyn) that birthed Biohazard and Type O Negative (with whom they shared a drummer, Sal Abruscato). Fittingly, the sound on their debut album, River Runs Red, is somewhere between the two bands, with the hardcore ethos of BH and the general mood of Type O Negative at their most self-deprecating (though in a much more serious vein).

Fair warning time: if you're looking for music that is at all happy, seek life elsewhere. This is far from that. What this is, is a slice of hard life, filtered through hardcore-derived metal. That being said, it is crushingly beautiful (or beautifully crushing, take your pick).

The album does contain a few well-placed "hell yeah" moments (in the vein of tough-guy brotherhood type stuff, very hardcore-style), which keep this from being a monotone of depression and anger.

To be honest, there is only really one thing that detracts a slight bit from this album, and that's the skits (the tracks named after days of the week). They serve as a framing device (and, ultimately, a finale) for the album, and they're not horrible. I just find them a bit extraneous for my tastes.

All in all, a firm addition to any metalhead's collection. Four and one-half well earned stars.

Ratings only

  • Fant0mas
  • Unitron
  • Bartje1979
  • alice-in-chains4lyfe

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