The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Life of Agony, 'River Runs Red' (1993)

58. Life of Agony, 'River Runs Red' (1993)

Life of Agony plumbed the depths of depression for their 1993 debut, River Runs Red, which unfolds as a concept record about suicide. There are bleak odes to misanthropy ("Underground"), parental neglect ("This Time"), regret ("Bad Seed") and killing yourself ("River Runs Red," which begins with the line "I've got the razor at my wrist 'cause I can't resist"). To make it all the more impactful, the group set the tracks, sung passionately by frontwoman Mina Caputo in her unique baritone, to a pastiche of gloom metal and hardcore punk, and they interpolated hip-hop–style theatrical skits telling the story of a man driven to take his own life, all produced by one of Type O Negative's doommaster generals, Josh Silver. Bassist Alan Robert wrote the songs – which contain morbid one-liners like "Smiling's just a phase and nothing can phase me" (from standout single "Through and Through") and "Give me one good reason to live; I'll give you three to die" (from "My Eyes") – unsurprisingly during one of the lowest points of his life. "[It] was basically my diary," he told Rolling Stone in 2017. The band has since seen the unifying nature of their lyrics, connecting with fans who say Life of Agony's music helped them deal with tough times. "A lot of people go through the same struggles as us, and they have the same fears and insecurities, so our message is, 'Come join us,'" guitarist Joey Z. once said. K.G.

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