Modern Life Is War are back with their third album, a follow up to “Witness”, entitled “Midnight In America”. Modern Life Is War have grown steadily since their first works of “My Love, My Way”. Each album has a certain appeal to it that no other hardcore bands bring to the table. However “Midnight In America” is truly a new level of masterful hardcore and I hope this will raise the bar for the hardcore world. Everything about this band fits nicely into place creating the best hardcore album of 2007, if not of the last few years.
“Midnight In America” is a form of melodic hardcore, a unique experience. Jeffrey Eaton has something to say and instead of following the typical hardcore roots, they slow it down to allow you to hear and be impacted by every word on this CD. Below are the lyrics to one of my favorite tracks on the CD (‘Midnight In America’), but you can see without listening to the band how poetic they truly are:
I sit on my roof and I smoke. Stare across the street at the funeral home. And drive out past the factories on the gravel roads where it gets so dark. And I can see all the stars and I feel so small ’round midnight. The paper says the whole world is on fire. But this street is quiet. The paper says the whole world is on fire. But this street is quiet… And the silence is the violence of sex and dying in the middle classes.
The silence is the violence of sex and dying in the lower classes.
The silence is the violence of sex and dying in the upper classes.
My love overflows. My skull overflows. But my heart never breaks. We pray for petty things in our petty lives as if god has the time. There is a reason we feel so small when we’ve lost our reason to thrive.
Everyone is fucked. Everyone is damned. But no one will open their eyes. Have you ever heard a joke like this before? I raise a toast to a genius god. I live in a big house with all of my friends. I sing these stupid songs. I roam all these highways. I hope it never ends. And when I think about it all it’s almost too much to bear.
It’s hell and it opens your eyes.
When I think about it all it’s almost too much to bear.
It’s heaven and it opens your eyes.
Jeffrey not only portrays all of these lyrics with perfect emotion, but he also has a solid hardcore scream. It is very understandable, emotional, and powerful. Sjarm and John do an excellent job keeping the guitar work technical but not overbearing on the vocals. A good example of this is the song ‘Stagger Lee’. This is a very slow moving 4 minute song about a man who has lost everything and kills his cheating wife. It is about a desperate mans hope, and cries to get through the day. “I kick open the door. I see their bodies intertwined. I see the fear in their eyes. I point my Colt .45 and I feel divine.” The slow beats to this song make this feel like an epic storyline and keep you on the edge of your seat. Does that ever happen in music? Not that I can recall, but this song does that to you.
Tyler helms the drums and does a solid job at keeping up good punk/hardcore beats. This band does use modern approaches to hardcore; there are no breakdowns, just straight up melodic hardcore.
A few songs, such as ‘Fuck The Sex Pistols’ seem to be a solid tribute to early 90’s punk hardcore as well. Fast, quick, and to the point. Overall there are few flaws to this album, maybe just length. It clocks in at around 30 minutes, but each minute on this album has something new, fresh, and beautiful to speak for. This is one of those groundbreaking moments in the musical world, especially hardcore, and this album, ‘Midnight In America’, should not be missed. The passion in their live sets are overwhelming as well, and they are a must see. Modern Life Is War are on a mission, and getting better and better with each release.