At the end of Life of Agony’s breakthrough and seminal album River Runs Red all hope sounded lost as the album’s protagonist apparently slipped away from this mortal coil by his own hand. 26 years later, Sound of Scars serves to let us in on what happened next…
Opening with the same sound of blood dripping into water that River… ended on, Prelude starts ominously, leading into an opening salvo of tracks with sirens still blaring. While the story remains at the forefront it is obvious the band has worked hard to ensure that the tracks will stand strongly on their own; by third track Lay Down the story has taken a back seat to that great mix of metal and hardcore infused with melody that Life of Agony always did so well.
The concept becomes more pronounced on the excellent Empty Hole and Once Below, drawing you back into the story with a glimmer of hope, something they have never really experimented before. The closest they get to the real melancholy of old is My Way Out with its weighty lyrics adding both to the concept and the protagonist’s possible personal redemption.
This really is the sound of a band at the top of their game as it all comes to a victorious close with I Surrender, wrapping the concept while opening a new chapter musically. As with all of the previous tracks, this is a band that has always progressed, although here they have managed to progress and present some of their best work in years, without losing focus on their past, as has happened with previous releases. Even for those who haven’t bothered with Life of Agony since their first release so long ago, this should be on the essential listening list if for nothing more than the fact that Sound of Scars is a great snap shot of a band that is obviously in a great shape mentally as well as musically, and with this kind of energy in the tank, hopefully more great material like this is already on the horizon.
- Black Heart
- Lay Down
- Empty Hole
- My Way Out
- Once Below
- Weight of the World
- I Surrender