Modern Life Is War: They Lost The Battle But Won The War

Modern Life Is War at a hardcore festival in Philadelphia this year
Modern Life Is War at a hardcore festival in Philadelphia this year
Angela Owens

In the mid-2000s, heavy music was in an odd place. Formula was king, with cookie cutter bands featured at Hot Topics and pictured on teens' bedroom walls. It was a real business.

Iowa-based hardcore punk quintet Modern Life Is War was born into this environment. It would lead to their death.

Despite nonstop touring, a growing fanbase and heaps of critical praise, the band just couldn't break through commercially. In 2008, six years after their founding, they called it quits.

"Putting that financial pressure on something you love can kind of change the way it feels," says lead vocalist Jeffrey Eaton. "In retrospect, I think that was kind of a mistake to call it quits at that time. I wish we had just pulled back and said, 'Okay we still love what we do, we just need to find a way to do it without so much stress and life crushing commitment.'"

But around 2010, something funny happened. Another wave of heavy music took hold, this time an eclectic mix something like the exact brand of punk Modern Life Is War defined years prior.

Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore said in an interview that "the fact that a lot of kids hadn't heard Modern Life Is War blows my mind because if you listen to [2005's] Witness you can totally hear where bands like us, Defeater and La Dispute got such huge inspiration."

Eaton and the group dug the praise. And so in the spring of this year Modern Life Is War reunited, reborn into a revived punk scene that was excited to have them back.

They released their fourth album Fever Hunting in September and have performed several shows, including a headline spot at the This Is Hardcore Fest in Philadelphia.

The band will be returning to L.A. on December 1st for a show at the Echoplex, their first local concert in nearly seven years.

They're just grateful to be back. "It really transcends entertainment for us," Eaton says. "Going to a hardcore show is not the same as going to a rock concert. It's not the same as going to a movie. If that makes sense when you're reading this then you know what I'm talking about."

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