As soon as I got this album, I listened to it to bask in its aural goodness. About halfway through my first listen I started reading the accompanying press release, which states “The famed River Runs Red line-up, featuring vocalist Mina Caputo, guitarist Joey Z, bassist Alan Robert, and drummer Sal Abruscato” had me going ‘Huh? Where’s Keith in all this?’ before putting 2and2 together and doing some digging to come up with confirmation of my assessment of the situation. Unfortunately, for me this turned out to be a bit of a distraction as I spent a couple days going through old LoA videos I had never watched before, followed by a stack of Keith then Mina music videos. Moreover, my overall conclusion was pretty simple. This band rocked then and still rock now. And as always it is the music that we’re here for because all artists have their own issues and daemons they cathartically expurge via this medium that runs through our veins.
The first thing I noticed in opening track “Meet My Maker” is its ultra-heavy but well-toned sound. Very reminiscent of Alice in Chains in the way it it’s actually a lot heavier than it sounds at first and the guitars just keep getting more intense but without ever losing their melody.
Mina’s voice on “Right This Wrong” is put through the paces as she ranges from low and sultry to high and anguished as Joey fills the riffs with melodic bends.
The title track “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” is extremely up-tempo with Sal’s snapping snare keeping sharp time for Joey to place some leads over as Mina races along to get all the lyrics in before everything slows down for the doomier “Dead Speak Kindly” with its ultra-effected vocals and haunting melody.
Staying slow with a great bassline by Alan, “A New Low” builds to have a punchy chorus before mellowing out again to let “World Gone Mad” find a new groove and I really enjoy the second guitar harmony as plays through the great main riff.
The guitar and bass sound for “Bag Of Bones” is very Type O and works so well with Mina’s higher pitched voice as a juxtaposition.
The vocal and guitar arrangement for “Walking Catastrophe” is impeccable as they work for and off each other to great effect.
Alan’s gentle bass thumps behind the crushing guitar riffs on “Song For The Abused” but always makes its presence known by the way it never lets up and emphasises Sal’s footwork.
The minimalist “Little Spots Of You” is morosely beautiful with nothing but the light piano and Mina’s voice to work on your emotions before the strings sweep in to heighten the experience then fade to leave nothing but her voice.
The album ends in much the way an LP would if you were to leave it on too long with the crackle and tick of needle going round and around. But thankfully, it’s not vinyl so after a minute of that it all starts again and you get to listen to the album again.
(9/10 Marco Gaminara)