With their unique combination of New York hardcore, metal, and a touch of spooky grunge vaguely reminiscent of Alice in Chains, Life of Agony got their career off to a fine critical and commercial beginning with their debut release, River Runs Red. Brooklynite veterans of their city's legendary hardcore scene, vocalist Keith Caputo, guitarist Joey Z., and bassist Alan Robert were joined by former Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato in 1993. The group released this disc on Roadrunner records shortly thereafter. Dark is probably the first word that comes to mind when listening to River Runs Red. Z.'s grinding guitars dominate the mix with a metallic croaking that's distinctive and sonically ahead of its time. The grungier tracks featured at the beginning of the record ("This Time," "Underground") stand out, along with some more reckless hardcore material like "Method of Groove." Caputo's howling tenor has a muffled tone that while passionate, sounds undeveloped. The singer's delivery is unique, however, and it must have grown on more than a few listeners, as this debut garnered respectable sales numbers and the band was given plenty of choice opening slots on their tour to support it. Passionate, serious, and heavy, River Runs Red is one of the early '90s' better metal debuts.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson