Modern Life Is War

Midnight in America

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For a band that's only about three years old, Modern Life Is War have managed to establish a surprisingly mature and developed sound. Whether that sound is to your liking will depend on how angry at the world you are, and how much you notice great chord progressions when they're embedded in dense distortion and presented at migraine-inducing volume. Also, you shouldn't care much about melody -- these are not guys who break off the screaming for a minute so that they can harmonize sweetly before starting to scream again. No, it's all about the screaming, and specifically it's all about screaming lines like "Justice in the upper tiers of the corporate class tonight" and "Billboard masturbation: satisfaction guaranteed." Those guitars, though. There's some fairly virtuosic stuff going on here, and not in the wanky, "Look, I borrowed a Frank Gambale tape and learned how to sweep-pick" way, either -- these are big, beautiful song constructions that the singer is trying to drown out with his bellowing roar. The result is a certain kind of musical and dramatic tension that is ultimately both interesting and impressive. If you're wondering why the singer doesn't get bored with just yelling like that all the time, it's because he doesn't have time -- the album's only 27 minutes long.

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