Modern Life Is War

Midnight In America

Written by: PP on 06/11/2007 04:05:47

US punk/hardcore act Modern Life Is War was supposed to play at Fredericia Hardcore Fest this year, so I briefly checked out some of their material, was intrigued, and eventually found my way to a copy of their newest record "Midnight In America" around its release date two months ago. Since then I've been listening to it on and off, not being able to decide what my ultimate decision about it would be in the review, and here it is:

The best way to describe Modern Life Is War is to call them a poor man's Rise Against. The sketchy production is on "The Unraveling" levels, vocalist Jeffrey Eaton sounds like early Tim McIllrath before he knew how to take better advantage of his primal scream, and the songs are borderline catchy but lack a distinct punch. The songwriting also leans much more towards hardcore than punk, even if a few like "Humble Streets" and "Useless Generation" have enough speed and aggression to be categorized under hardcore punk.

Still, don't go into the album expecting breakdowns like Norma Jean or something, because the punk element of the hardcore scene can be heard everywhere on the album. Nevertheless, a song like "Stagger Lee" crawls forward like a wounded man as Eaton's tortured vocals scar your hearing, before a massive breakdown slams you onto the ground. It's also probably the best song on the album, and listening to it makes me think that "Midnight In America" could have been something really great if the band had been able to write songs as filled with misery as this - it sounds as desperate as a song can possibly sound.

You see, a big problem on "Midnight In America" is inconsistency. While there certainly are a number of heavy hitting songs like "Fuck The Sex Pistols", there are a few tracks that, while not being outright filler, make you want to reach for the skip button. This despite no songs you could call distinctly bad. Nonetheless, in a saturated genre where a lot of bands are starting to sound like carbon copies of each other, a revivalist band like Modern Life Is War can be refreshing.

Download: Stagger Lee, Useless Generation, Fuck The Sex Pistols
For the fans of: Rise Against, American Nightmare, Rise And Fall, Sinking Ships
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.08.2007
Equal Vision Records

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