Modern Life is War – Tribulation Worksongs Vol. 1

4 out of 5

Label: Deathwish

Produced by: Luke Tweedy (recorded by)

The things that you can rely on to kick your ass on any given Modern Life is War release: terrifying, non-stop, powerful and throaty bellowing vocals from Jeffrey Eaton; intense and thoughtful lyrics from the same; pummeling riffage and rhythms, delivered with loose but precise fury from MILW’s stable of musicians… In short, even a bad MILW track is generally going to be hardy hitting than an average song from another hardcore punk act, and the two tracks on the first of Tribulation Worksongs series are, firstly, no exception, but also seem to hit especially fiercely, giving focus to Eaton’s common-man tales in the form of calls to rebellion and incisive takedowns. A-side Feels Like End Times is perfect, layering in piano (Ben Driscoll) for an undertone of melody that the heft can play against, and giving the track an ebb and flow. B-side Lonesome Valley Ammunition is rapid fire, and could probably have used some of that same layering, as the only hitch here is that nearly 4-minutes of Lonesome Valley’s fast pace is maybe a minute too many; jamming in two short songs on the B-side, or something a bit more balanced, could’ve made this a perfect single.