A Place Where There’s No More Pain reunited LoA’s classic lineup (drummer Sal Abruscato has since departed, replaced by Veronica Bellino) and was their first album since Caputo’s coming out as transgender in 2011. The wonderfully self-assured collection embraces so much of what has kept Life of Agony intriguing for nearly 30 years: variety in groove, style and delivery; convincingly heartfelt singing; and hooks that, while massively memorable, sidestep the obvious.
Although forever associated with the Brooklyn hardcore scene from which they emerged in the early 1990s, Life of Agony were always more multidimensional than many of their blatantly bruising peers. While their riffs can be thuggishly ominous, there’s an open-minded mobility to the quartet’s songwriting and arrangements, with vocalist Mina Caputo’s abilities spanning a Danzig-esque baritone, disconcerting Layne Staley sneer and a nuanced, Scott Weiland–ish purr. Last year’s comeback