Modern Life Is War are a band that needs no introduction in hardcore/punk circles. Love them or hate them, it is impossible to deny the mark they made in their time as a band, and few bands put so much sincere emotional weight into their songs. Throughout that time period through seeing them several times and listening to all of their material an endless amount, they became one of my favorite bands throughout their existence and it was truely a sad day when they decided to take an indefinite break. In the years since I've seen bands I would have never thought get back together to mostly mixed results, some for one off shows and some on a more permanent basis. When the band announced their reformation and intention to record a new record in April, I felt a nervous anticipation and excitement for a record's release that I hadn't felt in quite sometime. The prospect of a new album from one of your favorite bands is always exciting, especially when that band has been dormant for quite sometime. To say that Fever Hunting has been my most anticipated release of the year since it's announcement would be putting it lightly, and I am more than happy to say that my lofty expectations have been met and exceeded at that, as Fever Hunting is outstanding to say the least.
From the anthem like opening title track "Old Fears, New Frontiers" it's clear that the band hasn't lost a single step in their absence, and they are certainly back with something to say. Modern Life Is War has always been a very deep and poignant band lyrically, and Fever Hunting has some of their most emotionally hard hitting material to date, both lyrically and musically. Pulling elements of all three of their previous LP's sound wise, the band tears through these 11 songs with a resolve and urgency I haven't felt from a hardcore record in years, in fact, the last time I recall was the band's much revered Witness, a record that Fever Hunting will undoubtfully be compared to and measured against given it was recorded with the same lineup and engineer/producer (Kurt Ballou once again delivers an absolutely stellar recording), but this is a band clearly not content to rest of their much lauded previous efforts, as Fever Hunting sees them continuing to push hardcore's boundaries into new sonic territories and evolving their sound further while perfecting what made them so great in the first place. Slow burning songs like "Chasing My Tail" and "Brothers In Arms Forever" push and pull with an undeniable sincerity few bands can lay claim to, and lyrically touch on deep themes of the pure frustration and sense of loss that comes with growing up. Lyrically one would be hard pressed to find an album that touches on such deep coming of age themes with such a morose and unfortunately accurate portrayal the harsh reality for many people across the world.
In the time that the band was dormant, many bands have come to rise that have heavily borrowed from Modern Life Is War's undeniable influence to varying degrees of success, but with Fever Hunting, the band proves why they were so influential in the first place. Often "reunions" are met with a skeptical reaction and it's true that there have been a fair share of letdowns in this regard, Modern Life Is War's reformation is clearly not to be counted among those, and it's admirable to see a band come back for a clear and determined purpose and release what is arguably their best material to date. Fever Hunting is an instant classic, another high point from a band that has had many, and frankly one of the most exciting and relevant hardcore albums in recent memory. I could go through the standout moments of every song on this album and there are many both musically and lyrically, but this is simply an essential listen for anyone into punk and hardcore.