Over the past decade, Iowa has emerged as a surprisingly fertile incubator of shockingly heavy music. In early 2002, the small Central Iowa city of Marshalltown gave birth to Modern Life Is War, a band that draws equally on metal and hardcore influences and even (though you might not want to say so in earshot of any of its members) incorporates elements of emo in its approach to guitar sounds and chord progressions. The lyrics are mostly along the lines of "What's wrong with me, I don't know what happened and now I'm miserable," but there's an admirable element of forward-looking determination in these songs as well. Lines about enduring the pain and coming back to life and overcoming despair are all mixed in there with the breast-beating and cathartic bellowing. The vocals are something of a weak spot; unlike many punk vocalists, Jeff (true to hardcore form, all bandmembers are identified by first names only) really tends to yell at a particular pitch, and it's the same one on every song. That gets a bit tiresome by, oh, track eight. But overall, this band shows a lot of promise.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson