Modern Life Is War - Witness (Cover Artwork)

Modern Life Is War

Modern Life Is War: WitnessWitness (2005)
Deathwish Inc.

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: elliotelliot
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Growing up in Iowa, you don't have many bands to look up to. Sure, there have been great bands, but none that became successful. And then, of course, Slipknot exploded. It now seems that people think the only type of music that comes out of Iowa is the kind of stuff Slipknot plays. While I actually .
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Growing up in Iowa, you don't have many bands to look up to. Sure, there have been great bands, but none that became successful. And then, of course, Slipknot exploded. It now seems that people think the only type of music that comes out of Iowa is the kind of stuff Slipknot plays. While I actually don't hate Slipknot ('cuz my parents are fuckin assholes, dude), it's frustrating that Iowa is dismissed as "that place Slipknot came from."

So it's by some strange miracle that Modern Life Is War came from the sleepy railroad town of Marshalltown, less than an hour north of Des Moines. Playing a brand of hardcore that's less about metal and much more about punk rock, Modern Life Is War have garnered a very respectable national following. They toured Europe with Converge, and they just finished a huge tour with Terror and Comeback Kid. Off the heels of all that, they have just released their first full-length for Deathwish: Witness.

Any hype that you may have heard about this album is completely justified. Witness is one of the best hardcore albums to come out in quite a while. Modern Life Is War somehow crafted music that can fit in with bands like Terror or Comeback Kid, but still doesn't sound anything like it. The remarkable thing about most of these songs is that they aren't built on standard fast beats, or half-time breakdowns. Songs like "I'm Not Ready" are more or less build-ups that just keep getting more and more intense, eventually catching you off-guard with their endings. This is a brilliant formula, and Modern Life Is War have perfected it.

Lyrically, it's almost impossible to top Witness. Vocalist Jeffrey Eaton writes in sweeping gusts of passion, anger, and confusion. Growing up in Des Moines was bad enough for me, so I can only imagine what kind of shit happens in Marshalltown. Eaton is a master at transporting you into his world and making you feel what he feels, especially in the ode to his hometown of the same name. These are songs that will implant themselves into your conscience, lyrically and musically. You will not forget about these songs, and the effect that they had on you when they first hit.

It sounds like a cliché, but if every album could be like Witness, then maybe music wouldn't suck as bad is it does right now. Modern Life Is War are the breath of fresh air that we've needed for quite some time. Since every band can't emulate the stirring passion that these guys do, it's important to appreciate the fact that such an amazing band has escaped from their small town limitations, and are riding a wave of success. They won't sell as many records as Slipknot, but to me, they've already accomplished much more than Slipknot could ever hope to.


People who liked this also liked:
Modern Life Is War - My Love, My WayRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Descendents - Milo Goes To CollegeAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyPaint It Black - Paradise

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
miguel (February 17, 2011)

this is a five and i don't give fives

HKC (June 8, 2010)

Martin Atchet

TR (April 10, 2008)

Best HC band since American Nightmare.

PyrrhusDarwinCastello (March 20, 2008)

Jeffrey can lyrically paint pictures that are equal to movies like Indian Runner & Rumble Fish. He has the soul of a searching one. The music as a whole has a Film Noir/Bruce Springsteen from Darkness.../ Nebraska era aura, but its more dark and chaotic. If Bruce Springsteen would have born at Marshalltown in the 1980's and lived on a steady diet of HC punk, he would have made this album. The passion and atmosphere in this album is reminiscent, and in par, of all the romanticised stories about great HC bands that you have read. In short: truly a modern masterpice.

GlassPipeMurder (December 12, 2007)

modern masterpiece.

Stefano (September 6, 2006)

everyone knows this record rulez.

Anonymous (April 17, 2006)

how come this guys use the swedish coat of arms as their logo?

Anonymous (January 12, 2006)

first time i listened to it, i had no idea what to expect, and it hit me like a fist in the face. easily the album of the year for me. the music, the lyrics, the vocals, the structure... everything's (i wouldn't say "perfect" but) pretty fucking great.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

this cd is fucking unbelievable, ya slipknot sucks but their drummer is amazing. who gives a fuck, listen to this shit it's fucking intense, why are they boring, cause they dont have breakdowns? you cunts.

Colton (July 18, 2005)

Hoping and praying for Deathwish to give them money for a video.

Score for album.

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

elliot, im pretty sure you mean nu-metal...

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

elliot has a record collection filled with garbage
elliot is an idiot

elliot (June 29, 2005)

my record collection is doing very well! thanks!

oh, and i realized that slipknot might be the only metal band that doesn't misspelll their name. puddle of mudd, limp bizkit, and staind can't say that.

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

metal core is a bore-shalala

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

oh and, "out of all nu-metal garbage",.... you're just trying to say that they aren't that shitty for a band that plays shitty music? aww well. good luck with the rest of your recordcollection...

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

yeah right dawg...

elliot (June 28, 2005)

slipknot isn't the worst band ever. out of all the nu-metal garbage that's still sputtering around, they're one of the better ones. granted, there are a LOT of retarded things they do, and i don't condone them. i'm just sayin, at least trapt or mudvayne didn't come from des moines.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

the reviewer does not hate Slipknot but claims that this is one of the best hardcore albums to come out in quite a while?

my god. what does this guy know?.... but hey, ignorance is bliss they say...


Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

HATECRIME's "Vietnam" is the greatest love song of all time, even though they are, by definition, filled with hate.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

HATECRIME is not a Nazi band or do they condone any form of racism. They simply hate all of human kind and despise any form of organized groups all together. Therefore diguising their faces beautifully with red bandanas and bearing red BIKE shorts similar to the Mexican native Zapatista Army. Be on the look out for these guys. Fans of the Locust , Botch and FBTMOF beware.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

hatecrime is a nazi band, thats why this morons always mentions them

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S. is nuts! nuts i tell you! this record is amazing.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

The only existing Hatecrime recording can be found on the "Iowa City Does Avoca" DVD, there you will find their debut performance from a basement in Iowa City as well as their set from the greatest night of your life in Avoca, Iowa.

Anonymous (June 27, 2005)

seeing as how you all talk about hatecrime, may someone please link us to some audio or samples of theirs?

Anonymous (June 27, 2005)

This band is great, this album will probably be totally awes once I hear it, but let me just all let you kids here know that Iowa is owned by HATECRIME, hardcore/spazscreamo at its finest!

Anonymous (June 27, 2005)

Seeing Hatecrime perform is the most sexualized experience of the year

rkl (June 26, 2005)

odd, i find converge mind-numbingly boring.

picked this album up a few days ago & its been owning my mp3 player.

Anonymous (June 26, 2005)

"I saw this band with Converge and they were mind numbingly boring. I haven't heard the album yet but im just hoping people aren't just saying its good becuase hardcore is so popular at the moment."

I hope you're not just saying they sucked were mind numbingly boring because acting elite in the hardcore scene is so popular at the moment

Anonymous (June 26, 2005)

I saw this band with Converge and they were mind numbingly boring. I haven't heard the album yet but im just hoping people aren't just saying its good becuase hardcore is so popular at the moment.

murder (June 25, 2005)

great album...
never really liked them until now... don't know why thou...

score is for bands name...

punkcorekid (June 25, 2005)

great live band, i haven't heard the cd yet though...

Anonymous (June 25, 2005)

Hatecrime is a sweet band.

Anonymous (June 25, 2005)

nazi and metal crap...thats what comes out of iowa

Anonymous (June 25, 2005)

i gotta cop this now.

Anonymous (June 25, 2005)

Modern Life is War is a very good band, but without doubt the best hardcore band to come out of Iowa in the last couple years would have to be Iowa City's own Hatecrime

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

I thought this new belle and sebastian cd was pretty frickin sweet!!!

hehe, im just kidding. ive been a huge MLIW fan for a while now and this is by far one of my favorite cds. good review! aquabats yall hehe niggers NIGGERS NIGGERS NIGGERS NIGGERS

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

i called it rubbish
I´ll give you some Iowa metal trash if you play this shit at my house

etwiels88 (June 24, 2005)

Great band.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

not what I was expecting at all, but I really liked it.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)


stevejonestherealbones (June 24, 2005)

thanks for the info inspection

and to elliot

"and whoever called this "metal trash from iowa" needs take a few moments to figure out what the fuck they're talking about."

i think he may have been making a joke since you spent time on the slipknot stuff...like you were telling people to not just think of iowa as slipknots hometown....and then...at least..i thought it was funny...

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Inspection12e (June 24, 2005)

They have a three song e card up jones. Go back to the deathwish site and then go to news should be an easy link from there.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

last line was soooo cheesy. good band though

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

no care ever... till I heard the vox sounded like like the romance of helen trent. Kinda makes me want to hear it now.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

this isn't necessarily as good as my love my way, but it's still awesome.

elliot (June 24, 2005)

hold on, let me count how many deathwish albums i've reviewed.....two. yup, two. so that makes me biased? honestly, i only care for about half the stuff on deathwish. but jumping to conclusions is pretty cool too, if you want to be an idiot.

and whoever called this "metal trash from iowa" needs take a few moments to figure out what the fuck they're talking about.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

elliot...do you review anything except deathwish records...your bias disgusts me...this type of propaganda should be pulled from the site...I want a unbiased opinion...not some label lackey...

aubin (June 24, 2005)

Really great record; and I agree with Brian, the vocals sound eerily like Tim's on Helen Trent. Musically, it's a difficult record at first, partly because it isn't as fast as My Love, My Way, but the strength of the songwriting makes up for it.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

Don't know about this one but I listened to their first album and it's fuckin good.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

this album is fucking shitty
fuck Iowa and the whole lot from there...metal rubbish

_911 (June 24, 2005)

this album is insanely good. so much passion in this band.

yellowtrash (June 24, 2005)

Hey Elliot, you're stupid!


recordings (June 24, 2005)

i think this review focuses too much on the fact that the guys are from iowa and that slipknot came from there. yes, i understand these facts to be true and i get your comparisons, but if youre gunna write about the cd, please do so. im just thinking that a lot of kids are probably not familiar with the band and that kind of introduction may be misleading. just a suggestion, not trying to criticize.

ive been a huge fan of these guys since i saw them play up in minneapolis with the now defunct holding on. i went into the show saying *who the fuck is this* and came out completly blown away. great show and then some.

as far as this record goes, i love it. but a lot of the intensity from the first full length has been lost. i realize its more of a descriptive cd, but id like to see more songs that pick it up a little bit. still, a great album for anyone to pick up.

jamespastepunk (June 24, 2005)

D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S slays...its insane how good that song is, though there is a bit of a suicide file sound here, but that's a plus in my book.

stevejonestherealbones (June 24, 2005)

nevermind...that deadramones track is over at deathwish...pretty good i guess

- jones

stevejonestherealbones (June 24, 2005)

are there any sample tracks online?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

pwfanatic (June 24, 2005)

this album is fucking awesome. i wrote a review that pretty much said the same thing.

Inspection12e (June 24, 2005)

The person before Anchors was me.

Anchors (June 24, 2005)

I got this record after I read Jordan over at Pastepunk's review of it, and it fucking rules.

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

I didn't see it when I listened but then again I'm weird.

inagreendase (June 24, 2005)

Really good album, almost definitely a Top 20 fixture. But am I the only one who hears the Helen Trent-era Killing Tree influence? Especially in the vocals?

Also, you totally botched it on mentioning "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." Not only is a stand out track, but it sounds nothing like the rest of the record as it's way more punk rock-influenced, which is a given considering it's a sort of non-parodical tribute to Motorhead's own Ramones tribute "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." (I only figured this out because of our recent news post on the box set).

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