In the early '90s, Life of Agony was a straight-ahead hardcore metal band. They built up a loyal following by incessant touring and word of mouth, with little MTV or radio airplay. On their second album, 1995's Ugly, the band chose a different musical path -- they tried melding their hardcore with the melodic alterna-metal of Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains. The album wasn't given a warm reception from longtime fans or the record-buying public. The group was now faced with a new dilemma; should they stay true to their newly decided musical direction, or conform to their fans' expectations of what Life of Agony's music should sound like? The group chose to stick to their guns and do what their hearts told them to on Soul Searching Sun. It's a mixed affair with some tracks succeeding (such as the opener "Hope"), while others fall flat (the clean guitar-driven ballad "My Mind is Dangerous" and the drug addict-cliché "Heroin Dreams"). New drummer Dan Richardson (ex-Pro-Pain) fits the band perfectly, able to handle their musical schizophrenia with no problem. Soul Searching Sun will certainly not be the album that wins back the group's old hardcore fans, but that wasn't Life of Agony's musical goal in the first place.