Reviewed: February 2000
Released: 1999, Roadrunner / Attic
The Band: Life of Agony. New York hardcore meets metal in a not altogether unlikable mixture. 1989-1999 is a collection of b-sides and unreleased demo tracks spawning their career, minus the short period at the end that saw Whitfield Crane (ex-Ugly Kid Joe) step in at the vocal helm. Life of Agony began life in the underground hardcore scene of New York City. They finally released their first CD “River Runs Red” in 1993. (ed. note: the only one worth owning in my opinion!) This was followed by “Ugly” in 1995. Life of Agony supported this CD by touring with the godfather of metal himself, Ozzy Osborne. Keith Caputo left after the recording of “Soul Searching Sun” and was replaced on vocals by Whitfield Crane. This would be final LOA studio disc.
The disc: This release contains 7 demos from the early days of the band. These tunes show the rougher side of LOA. The production is raw and you can almost taste the anger exuded by Keith Caputo. Caputo has a very different vocal style. Very New York. The best of the demos on the disc being the opener “Here I am, Here I stay”. The remaining 8 tracks are a mixed bag of live tracks, covers and b-sides. There are 2 live tracks, 3 unreleased tracks and 3 covers. The covers are “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin, “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley and the best track on the CD. “March of the S.O.D./ Sgt. “D” and the S.O.D.” by the legendary Stormtroopers of Death. This track was recorded in 1997 for an S.O.D. tribute album that never saw the light of day. LOA do a great job on this tune.
The Verdict: Too bad Whitfield Crane was not represented in some way. This is not the first CD that someone new to the band should pick up. If you are not acquainted with LOA then pick up their first CD “River Runs Red”. 1989-1999 is for the long time LOA fan. If you just have to own everything by Life of Agony, this is a must have disc.
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