Life of Agony Broken Valley

This world never fails to throw curveballs at us, like a new Life of Agony album. And as always, I’m scratching my head at what exactly this band is trying to do. New York Hardcore? Groove metal? Sabbath worship? Red Hot Chili Peppers ballads? With Broken Valley, their first album in eight years, the confusion continues. It’s not a bad thing when a band consistently sticks out like this though, and for every moment that I hate this band for an easy lyric rhyme or a dumb groove, there’s a moment of clever songwriting or sincere catharsis not often found in heavy music. I don’t need to hear any music that reminds me of grunge or nu-metal and unfortunately there’s more than a moment or two of both here, as always. What this all adds up to is a comeback disc that fans of the band will like and listeners like me who lost interest after album number one (which I was fully on board for, by the way) will admire from a distance, like a curiosity of sorts, before moving along. New anthem for the disenchanted: "Strung Out,” which is the highlight here and a damn good song. (Epic)