Review Summary: This overlooked 90s metal gem makes for one of the most vile and sludgiest records of the 90s. Heavy as a ton of bricks, this record will leave you wanting more.
What bands do you think of when someone mentions the 90s sludge/groove metal scenes? You probably thought of Pantera, Down, Crowbar, or perhaps Eyehategod or Acid Bath. While all those bands are great and essential to their genres, one band remains that usually gets overlooked in the scene and that band is Life Of Agony. Jam packed full of emotion, darkness, hopelessness, and bone crushing sludgy and groovy riffs, Life Of Agony's debut deserves a spot among such legendary releases such as NOLA, Odd Fellows Rest, Far Beyond Driven, and When The Kite Strings Pops. While many know of this band, it seems they never quite got the recognition they deserve and I'm not quite sure why. The sound of the record is tight and heavy and the riffs will get stuck in your head for days. Many influnces are evident on the album but aren't exactly easy to pinpoint. The vocals could be described as having a strong Peter Steele vibe with perhaps a touch of Glen Danzig. The music combines the catchiness of bands such as Crowbar and Acid Bath with the heaviness and groove of Pantera.
Former Type O Negative and later A Pale Horse Named Death drummer Sal Abruscato handles drumming duties. All of the tracks on the album have their own personal memorable riffs and catchiness that makes them stand out. Songs like "Underground" and "Words and Music" have great transitions between crushing doom sections, midpaced thrash riffing, and groove breakdowns. "Through and Through", one of my personal favoites, speeds things up a bit with some faster hardcore influnced riffs and a perfect buildup to a catchy chorus and even features gang chants. "Bad Seed" features one of the catchiest riffs on the record and would work great in a live setting. "Method Of Groove also serves as one of the most hardcore influnced songs with more gang chants and almost a rap like chorus. This album features no filler and entertains all the way through. The combination of different styles works great on the record and will leave a lasting impression on the listener. Elements of groove metal, sludge, hardcore, and even thrash can be found, making for a great and unique listen.
Some may find the rather odd combinations of styles a bit hard to stomach at first but everything is blended together tastefully and makes for more impact upon repeated listens. Fans of many different metal genres can find much to enjoy here. Hopefully more people will look back on this release and realize the true brilliance to be found on this record. This record could easily be held up to any of the classics of the scene. If you enjoy the 90s sludge or groove metal scenes or just heavy metal in general, give this record a good listen and you won't be disappointed.