Published Aug 01, 2005Many have become disillusioned with Deathwishs output as of late, but man, does this ever reaffirm their relevance. Not dissimilar to the labels former flagship act Cursed, Modern Life Is War play a more introspective, downbeat take on the noisy, punk and crust inspired strain of hardcore. With drop-on-a-dime shifts from up-tempo jaunts complete with crew vocals to steady, Converge-like build ups into explosive, desperate release, the songs have enough individual personality to keep things from becoming one-dimensional. Lyrically, the groups small-town heritage and dedication to musical pursuits seem to be recurring themes, and the stripped down, isolated feel of the songwriting compliments them well. The vocals and guitars were recorded separately from the rhythm section, and the mix is slightly disproportionate, but not enough to bother anyone other than the most anal-retentive listener. Coming complete with the excellent packaging and design we have come to expect from Deathwish (which sees artist/label head Jacob Bannon returning to the more sporadic, personalised style of the early Cave In and Converge releases), Modern Life Is Wars latest is poised to become a year-end favourite on many critics lists, including my own.