This is a piece of history, as the name of the album might suggest. Our Roots Our Pride: History of Italian Positive Hardcore and Straight Edge Movement 1989-1995 contains thirty-two songs by six different artists that were all prominent during Italys straight edge hardcore movement from the early-to-mid 90s.
All of these bands are a completely new introduction to me. The straight edge scene from over a decade ago had its beacons but most of the time they came from U.S. - here we have a collection of now defunct Italian straight edge hardcore bands to show what was thriving musically even in southern Europe.
Italys musical history is in no way insignificant though; back in the early 80s the country had some superb punk and hardcore bands but most of the attention was direct to either America or England. A lot of the Italian bands instead hold a dear place in the heart of every record collector geek from this era. However, Still Life and Youth Crew Records have done a good deed by putting this compilation out. There are still geeks like me out there that want obscure records with bands from other countries in their collections but this is also good for other purposes. After listening to this you will be bound to check out more about the Italian punk scene.
First band Growing Concern has a strong Agnostic Front influence which would be expected since they share a name with one of the seminal East Coast bands songs. They specialize in gang-choruses, pumping breakdowns, and frenetic riffing and they definitely set the tone for this album. Their seven songs are simple, quick and to the point and also sound really well produced. They should have had a bigger name in the global hardcore history as they are definitely good enough.
Think Twice sound pretty similar to the first band but have a slightly more sloppy sound. The singers voice is also a tad more high pitched but apart from that its standard Youth of Today/Gorilla Biscuits- styled hardcore. Its pretty decent music even though some of their songs, such as More Bands, More People need some trimming. A hardcore song gets pretty tiresome when it passes the four-minute mark.
Open Season change that with putting the album back in fast, no frills territory with snappy outbursts of speedy drumming, buzzsaw riffs and one furious sounding vocalists as extra layer. By now, additional musical reference points are not necessary. Our Roots Our Pride as a collection embodies Minor Threat, Uniform Choice, straight edge, shaved heads, and Champion hoodies.
Maze bring some variety here by singing in their native tongue but also by having the good taste to contrast their attack with the addition of some pure Motorhead- style riffs, something that will always be welcome in my book.
With Creepshow, the penultimate representation here I was initially going to note down that their melodic brand of punk was the weakest offering on the record but after further listens I realized that they appealed to me quite a bit. They seem to have more in common with Bad Religion than the other bands but that does not diminish the experience. One needs something softer sometimes, especially after twenty-five songs of searing hardcore and Creepshow give some needed respite before Reality finish of the recording with the best sounding production out of the six bands.
This album is a great piece of history and a good introduction to the Italian straight edge scene. However, as with every hardcore release that contains more than fifteen songs it is best to listen to it in smaller doses, with maybe two bands at a time because thirty-two songs is a touch too much to take in in one sitting.
6.5 / 10
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