H2O
Nothing To Prove


3.5
great

Review

by Hugh Johnson USER (9 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2010 | 19 replies | 7,297 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: H2O returns and takes a stab at what made them the highlight of the genre.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Time lapses between albums can be a tricky phenomenon and this tends to ring especially true for punk and hardcore bands. The conventional wisdom holds that return albums are lackluster and leave longtime supporters wishing the band simply played shows and left their recorded legacy intact. But H2O never adheres to convention. Their widespread appeal is a result of breaking with the frequently held belief that hardcore should sound abrasive. Rather than rehash the established New York Hardcore (NYHC) sound, they infuse its core structure with hooks and melodies that echo the melodic leanings found on the Gorilla Biscuits' seminal album Start Today. Lyrically, Toby Morse has always taken risks and branched out into subject matter that isn't often found on hardcore records. He has consistently avoided clichéd posturing and instead opts to reflect introspectively. His fearlessness as a lyricist made it cool to write highly personal lyrics and helped lay the groundwork for baring your heart on record that has become increasingly common within the current hardcore landscape.

In a review of their Still the Same Fellas 7” I did for a previous blog, I noted that while 1995 and Nothing To Prove were great celebratory tracks, I was especially excited to hear Toby's more personal material that had been hinted at early on in the recording process. Sunday delivers strong and is one of the most emotional tracks he has penned. Morse reflects on the cycle of life, mourning the loss of his father at a young age while conveying how blessed he feels to now be a father himself. It's a beautiful and gutsy song.

Fair-weather Friend details the frustrations of having a friend disappoint and its mid-song transition into Sick of it All's Friends Like You is a brilliant moment. The transition functions in much the same way as a hip-hop song that momentarily switches up its beat to reference a classic track. It's particularly fitting given Morse's history as a roadie for SOIA.

What Happened? is the album's crown jewel. Morse and Sick of it All's Lou Koller trade off vocals in a mic-passing session during which they sound as energized and passionate as on their earliest records. Matt Skiba matches their intensity in what is arguably a song-stealing appearance, reminding everyone why a generation fell in love with the Trio. Skiba crooning “I can't believe they don't remember what it feels like to be young” is a transcendent moment in its indictment of the jaded and bitter who refuse to acknowledge all hardcore still has to offer.

The album's guest appearances are executed flawlessly and add a significant layer of depth to the songs. They serve as a hardcore history lesson that honors the bands that inspired and paved the way for H2O. NYHC stalwarts such as Civ, Lou Koller, Freddy Cricien and Roger Miret lend their vocal stylings to the album and further confirm that NYHC is both a family and a movement.

The album closes with a bonus track featuring H2O's friends and family shooting the *** about the band. While it may seem odd to mention it during the course of an album review, it is of note because the comments effectively convey how deeply people care about the band. H2O represents an era and style of hardcore that many still hold dear. They served as a gateway into hardcore for a generation of kids and showed their peers that it was possible to cross over into a more mainstream sphere while still conducting yourself and treating people in a manner consistent with hardcore's ethics. Nothing to Prove carries on this tradition and will likely once again initiate a new generation into hardcore's magic.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
blaisetheslayer (3)
Old hardcore dudes keep it real with an album that covers all the hardcore bases....


Comments:Add a Comment 
EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This used to be one of my favorite bands, until I heard Go. This is a nice return to form, though.

accompliceofmydeath
August 23rd 2010



4200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was thinking about doing a review for this. Great review, great album.

Digging: Devo - Freedom of Choice

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man, much appreciated.

accompliceofmydeath
August 23rd 2010



4200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No prob. What's next on your list?

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know. I'm thinking about doing something a bit more obscure, like a Bucket Full of Teeth album.

accompliceofmydeath
August 23rd 2010



4200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've heard the name, but I haven't heard them. Good stuff?

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're very different. It's grind with some crust-punk, alt country, and hardcore influences.

accompliceofmydeath
August 23rd 2010



4200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds interesting. I'll have to check out their myspace.

Apollo
August 23rd 2010



10290 Comments


I saw these guys open up for the Used like 6 years ago. Should have been the other way around.

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That just ruined my day Apollo. Thanks! lmao.

GorillasintheJizz
August 23rd 2010



54 Comments


This album and band are atrocious. Your rating is atrocious. You, sir, are atrocious.

Apollo
August 23rd 2010



10290 Comments


and so it begins

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dude, why don't you join the other trolls on the BMTH, Emmure, or Brokencyde threads

ConsiderPhlebas
August 23rd 2010



6157 Comments


One of the bands that got me into hardcore. Cool album.

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 23rd 2010



1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Everything they did up to Go was great. This is a great comeback! They were a gateway band for me as well, ConsiderPhlebas.

standundefeated
March 3rd 2011



91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. I'm actually listening to the self titled right now at work and after that... i'm going to listen to this in it's entirety.

xstaytrue18x
July 20th 2011



579 Comments


seeing them in a months time gonna be so much fun.

AtavanHalen
July 20th 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Amazing live, saw these guys with Terror back in February.

xstaytrue18x
August 18th 2011



579 Comments


i seen them last night, it was amazing. nothing to prove is so much fucking fun to hear live, and during the set toby's mic got fucked up so he had to get a new one and he played nothing to prove for us again was awesome. he brought his kid along too who was jumping about the place on stage, really nice to see he's passing down good morals to him.



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