Retro Roundtable Review: Life of Agony – Ugly
Release Date: 9 Oct 1995
Length: 54 Minutes
Genre: Thrash / Hardcore
Studio Albums: 1993 – River Runs Red; 1997 – Soul Searching Sun; 2005 – Broken Valley
Location: New York
WarpRider – After coming off of a River Runs Red high, Ugly didn’t rattle my fragile little mind all that much. In fact, it was very hard to find a particular song that I really liked and believe me I kept listening to be sure I didn’t miss anything. Lost at 22 was about the only thing I liked, but back then I wanted heavy and angry and this album didn’t provide that; at least not in the context I wanted it to. Needless to say, the album got shelved and revisited many years later. I guess time healed all wounds because my newfound love for the album began probably 10 years after its release. I suddenly found the beauty in it for what it was. The lyrics were as potent as RRR, but probably because the music didn’t match that album in ferocity I dismissed it. Though Ugly didn’t make my Top 100 album list, it’s still one I turn to often. If you haven’t heard River Runs Red, it’s a very deep and emotional album. Here is a link to our storytellers for that album.
Atleastimhousebroken – I remember buying this record day one and wallowing in one of my first metal disappointments ever. Coming off the absolutely amazing River Runs Red in all its thrashy, groove filled NYHC glory to a more toned down alt. metal sound, ya, 16-year-old me was pissed. Then this album really hasn’t been unearthed until very recently. And I gotta say, it ain’t nearly as horrible as I remember. The songs are really catchy and there are some pretty damn cool riffs in there. Keith/Mina Caputo’s voice is still unique as ever and adds a nice emotional weight to the record. Especially in retrospect to his recent coming out as transgender the lyrics on this record have a newfound impact to them.
Ugly is nowhere near the classic RRR is, but if you were like me and dismissed this years ago, I’d really suggest giving it another spin. I’ll bet you’d be pleasantly surprised.
Irmelinis – This album feels very personal. Stripped down and almost fragile. The songs are quite simple in structure and riffs, often reminding me of an early, tormented Type O Negative, but more on the reflective side. It’s not clear to me where the songs are really going, they are mostly just wandering about or dragging on in a comfortable and somewhat boring mid-tempo, driven by the emotional singing. Give it a listen, let it sink in for a while; you might find it oddly enjoyable.
ChristopherMammal – I had never listened to Life of Agony until Ugly popped up for this group retro review. To be honest, I’d never heard of the band at all. I didn’t go much for the alternative rock of the 1990s. It generally had the same impact on me as Shostakovich, Van Halen and Slayer – I can recognize that it may be good but I can’t make any emotional connection with it. There are some clever compositions and plenty of artful musical skills on Ugly. However, I confess I don’t need to listen to the music Life of Agony again, especially not the nasal alt rock vocal style that comes with it.
A Metal State of Mind Score – N/A