Hardcore is not dying. While the scene has become infused, nay oversaturated, with bands who care more about the fashion aspects of the music than doing anything truly passionate, this has always been an issue. Remember that it was only a few years ago that every band in the âcore wore those basketball jerseys and sang about how "real" they were. This current state of fashion focus is just a phase, and much like From First to Last and It Dies Today, will be something we all laugh about in two years.
Until then we have Modern Life Is War. These fine young lads from Iowa bring with them a sound much like Give Up the Ghost, only mixed with splashes of 80's hardcore Ã¡ la Black Flag while also finding time for an Isis-like wall of sound.
Unlike most hardcore bands today, these chaps do not spend their whole album whining about the girl who broke their heart and how they are going to kill her. The band does not shy away from political lyrics, examining the problems inherent in our society and culture. In spite of these observations and the negative tone it suggests, MLIW always look through rose-colored glasses, trying to find hope in otherwise hopeless situations. They also understand the importance of knowing your roots and where you came from, while not going as far as say Biohazard and screaming "New York Bitch!" in every song. If there is one lyric that personifies the spirit of this record it would be this line from the song "1st & Ellen:"
I know, I thought I was strong. I said I would never change...but that burning house left me an empty frame...and no longer can I decay...no longer can I keep my heart locked away. Have you ever felt like you are wasting your whole life searching for something you can't find? There's been so much talk of so many slashed up wrists...but we're much too young to be dwelling on thoughts like this. So scrape your heart up from the bottom of the bottom of the barrel. Keep your faith in the path that's growing narrow. Kill the doubt inside your head. We overcome. We push ahead.The most striking thing about this record for me was that even though the vocals are of the screamed/shouting variety, you can understand the freaking lyrics. It doesn't just sound like Cookie Monster over mosh parts; there is an actual song and words that fit the tunes. Everything about this release is top notch, even the booklet designed like an old-fashioned journal, complete with old passport stamps and photos. They even picked a font type for the lyrics, bucking the current trend of microscopic cursive fonts that make it impossible to prove how crappy the lyrics to most of these albums are.
I picked up this album because it was at my used CD store for five bucks and I wanted to get something heavy that day. In the three months since then, this album has found its way into my stereo more and more, growing on me with each spin. Give it a chance kids, or better yet buy a copy for the cousin / little sister / little brother who believes the first Taking Back Sunday album is the most hardcore release of the last five years.