Episode 81 - Witness by Modern Life is War
Like every genre, hardcore has evolved over the years. From its snotty beginnings in the 80s to the present day, it’s been welded to just about every genre and subgenre of punk rock you can imagine. In this episode, we dedicate a little bit of time to talking about melodic hardcore, the bastard offshoot of hardcore, punk and emo.
Oh and we talk about Witness by Modern Life is War. A “foundational text”, as Mark puts it, for this kind of music.
It’s an album which has influenced a crazy number of artists. What’s more, it comes out of a tiny town in rural Iowa, a town that lead singer Jeremy Eaton has described as a place completely devoid of art of any kind. A marked change from their debut, My Love, My Way, it seen the band fuse Bane-esque hardcore with 90s emo to create the kind of melancholic, sincere, heart on sleeve style of music which straddles many genres.
Critically lauded at the time, if you’ve been within feet of a hardcore show at any point in the last decade you’ll have heard a band attempting to imitate this kind of music. So much so in fact that if you’re unfamiliar with the genre, you might even find this a bit generic. But make no mistake about it, these guys were the progenitors. Along with the likes of Have Heart, Verse and Sinking Ships, Modern Life is War were band who were ahead of their time.
Mark brings this to the table on the basis that they’re an unsung band. They ceased being a full time band almost a decade ago, a result of endless touring that seemed to be bearing little fruit, but their legacy echoes through the ages.
Is it worthy of a place in our discography though? Well, that’s up to you to decide.