H2O - Don't Forget Your Roots

H2O - Don't Forget Your Roots

15 songs
39:17 minutes
***** ****
Bridge Nine


H2O is an American hardcore band that was founded in 1996. They come from New York and have consequently strong ties to the NYHC scene. Some of the musicians began as roadies for Sick Of It All, a band that’s been a great inspiration for them. H2O have released so far six studio albums, which isn’t that much, but can be understood when considering that they were on hiatus between 2001 and 2008. Their comeback album Nothing To Prove was truly exciting and showed that they had every reason to give their career another go.

The time would be right for another studio album, but the band opted instead for a tribute album. As the title Don’t Forget Your Roots already betrays, they cover only artists that have strongly influenced them. They picked the cream of the hardcore movement, and even non-experts should be able to recognise about two thirds of the artists that have been covered.

The opener is Attitude (Bad Brains) which comes across just as savage as the original. Satyagraha (7 Seconds) contrasts with its saccharine mood. Even though I reject Krishna (as I reject any other religion), it is impossible to resist this great composition. Pride (Madball) mirrors the rage of the original, to be followed by some more light-hearted material: Get The Time (Descendents) and Sad Gun (Embrace). Next us is a genuine classic punk rock song: I Wanna Live (The Ramones). Cats And Dogs (Gorilla Biscuits) is incredibly great. It might come as a surprise to stumble across The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but instead of ska, Someday I Suppose offers Nineties crossover. Journey To The End Of The East Bay (Rancid) leans close to the original, which also counts for the harder Safe (Dag Nasty). Sick Boys, an early Social Distortion song, is performed as a great sing-a-long hymn, to be succeeded by inevitable Sick Of It All’s fierce Friends Like You. Train In Vain (The Clash) is a nice contrast after so much heavy stuff, while Scared (Verbal Abuse) is upping the pace once again. The album ends with a great classic: Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets (Warzone).

H2O have unearthed a somewhat extended who-is-who of the hardcore movement, and did a good jab at it too. Don’t Forget Your Roots is a must-buy album for anyone interested in the NYHC scene or in search of a well compiled tribute album. I can’t see any reason a sane person would want to live with this great labour of love.

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