When I was a young thrasher back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Roadrunner Records was a seal of quality. It seemed that anything bearing the label’s logo would be worthy of your hard-earned pocket money, and rarely did they disappoint. Releasing iconic and genre busting albums over a period of years ensured the label longevity and a legacy that continues to this day. Back in 2005, a core group of stellar musicians (“the All-Stars”) got together and, along with some serious guest appearances, paid tribute to Roadrunner’s 25th anniversary by covering some classic tunes. That legendary gig gets a reissue (and first time on vinyl), and boy, was it a cracking evening.
The date was 15th December 2005, the venue was New York’s Nokia Theatre and the core band comprised of Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares, Slipknot’s Joey Jordison (R.I.P.) and Paul Gray (R.I.P.), Adam Duce (Machine Head), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour). It’s a pretty impressive line-up and when you factor in a guest spot from Biohazard’s Evan Seinfeld on opening track ‘Punishment, you have an explosive mixture. Such is the ferocity of the recording, that you can almost see the pits erupting and bodies diving from the stage. Up next is a cover of Madball’s ‘Set It Off’ and it makes you realise just how groundbreaking a label Roadrunner was in bringing the hardcore genre to a mass audience. But pretty much all of these tracks were innovative in their time; the death metal of Obituary’s ‘The End Complete’, the technical thrash of Annihilator’s ‘Alison Hell’, and taking us back to the label’s genesis; Mercyful Fate’s ‘Curse Of The Pharaohs’ and King Diamond’s ‘Abigail’.
Featuring an impressive 25 tracks spread over 6 sides of vinyl, this album is a real celebration of metal, and what makes it most endearing is that it was recorded and released when metal was at a critical and commercial ebb. I wouldn’t say that this album was instrumental in metal’s rebirth, yet it’s foot-on-the-monitor, horns-held-high, glass-shattering-vocals ethos couldn’t have hurt none. There are too many tracks here to cover individually, but those core musicians do a great job as they flit from thrash to black to nu-metal (and back again) with apparent ease. The guest artists are also too numerous to list but the numbers speak for themselves: 39 musicians performing tracks from 19 different bands. It would be easy to bemoan what is not included (my personal bugbear is the admission of Gang Green and Glassjaw) yet this album works hard to cover all bases, and it does make for a great in depth look at all facets of the label.
It’s hard to believe that this album was recorded almost two decades ago, and it still sounds fresh and exciting. It stands not only as a tribute to Roadrunner Records but to all those fallen soldiers: Paul Gray, Joey Jordison, Pete Steele…
- Roadrunner United – The Concert is released via Roadrunner Records and is available now (from here).
Vinyl Track List:
- Punishment (Biohazard)
- Set It Off (Madball)
- March Of The S.O.D. (Stormtroopers Of Death)
- River Runs Red (Life Of Agony)
- The End Complete (Obituary)
- Curse Of The Pharaohs (Mercyful Fate)
- Abigail (King Diamond)
- Alison Hell (Annihilator)
- Dead By Dawn (Deicide)
- Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr (Trivium)
- My Last Serenade (Killswitch Engage)
- Pure Hatred (Chimaira)
- Replica (Fear Factory)
- Black No. 1 (Type O Negative)
- Tired N’ Lonely (Roadrunner United)
- Brother (Stone Sour)
- The Rich Man (Roadrunner United)
- The Dagger (Roadrunner United)
- The End (Roadrunner United)
- Eye For An Eye (Soulfly)
- Refuse/Resist (Sepultura)
- Surfacing (Slipknot)
- Davidian (Machine Head)
- (sic) (Slipknot)
- Roots Bloody Roots (Sepultura)