“Roadrunner United: The Concert” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Roadrunner United: The Concert”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 12/9/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Founded in the Netherlands in 1980 and originally called “Roadracer Records”, the label now known for many years as Roadrunner Records was a major force in helping to spearhead the Metal charge and helped to make bands like Sepultura and Type-O-Negative household names. Their artist roster reads like a who’s who in Metal Legends and to celebrate their anniversary a couple of years ago they held the concert to end all concerts. The show was unlike any other that had been held before and would help bring to life the labels CD “Roadrunner United”, an album that found artists across the labels history banding together to record new and existing material. The concert was captured on a double DVD release and given its two unique segments we have broken this up accordingly. The first DVD finds the documentary about the event itself while the second one presents the concert. Read on.

DVD1: The Documentary: As far as documentaries go this one is pretty standard fare and features what appears to be all of the musicians involved in the concert commenting about their own participation in the historic event. For the most part the bands were maintaining how great the party that preceded the concert was and compared just how drunk many of them were prior to the performance or during. Some of the musicians speak about their feelings that the show was a terrible act of label self-indulgence and how they eventually took it as a positive event for Metal music unification as a whole. Let’s face it, Roadrunner Records does deserve kudos for being able to deliver some of the most crushing Metal for over two decades, especially when this was primarily done as an independent label that didn’t have the financial backing of something like the giants of the day. There are many discussions about the set list and who performed what with whom and during these portions of the commentary we are treated to glimpses of the concert footage which we will get to enjoy on the second DVD. I found it interesting to see just how they compiled the list and was impressed that they actually took the time to speak about almost every performance from the show. If you are one of those armchair viewers or the Metal head that must possess all of the details about events like this to be able to amp up your own musical arguments, then you shall find this a fascinating commentary. Much of it is directed by Dino Cazares, who is one of the main players in the group for the run of tunes at the concert. I can say that I enjoyed this part of the release but must admit that I was leaning more to the antics that are demonstrated during the concert.

DVD2: The Concert: Generally when one picks up a Heavy Metal concert video, they are either choosing to relive a great concert memory or trying to find out the inside scoop on a show that they might have wanted to attend but just couldn’t get to for any number of reasons. That being said there was no way on earth for everyone who could have wanted to be there and take part in this primarily industry/Roadrunner Records family concert extravaganza but now through the magic of video we can all get a front of the mosh pit view of what went down during the show. As a fan of Metal concerts in general I had to say that I found this one to be an incredible display of Metal unity as it reached across the decades and brought back bands from the label’s earliest days that had been called upon to perform alongside some of the newest artist roster. Recorded live on December 15th, 2005 and held at Times Square’s Nokia Theater this presentation was really something special to behold. The whole thing is very organized which was a refreshing change to find as opposed to a haphazard all out jam session. The set list and bands selected appears to be rather organized and bands professional and this in turn broadcasts out to the assembled crowd who had been enjoying a party atmosphere for a couple of hours before. It was able to work out well by the decision to have a core band in place to do most of the music and this group of players featured Dino Cazares, Adam Duce, Joey Jordison, Andreas Kisser and Roy Mayorga. Readers might easily remember them for their work in Fear Factory, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Sepultura and Stone Sour. The core band allowed for the easier changeovers between songs and the singers who would bring Roadrunner Records history to life and it all starts off with a bang as Biohazard delivers their crushing staple “Punishment”. From there it becomes a Metal cavalcade of stars that is literally second to none

There are far too many highlights to line out in one simple overview of it, and while I found my own favorites to be renditions of Annihilator and King Diamond classics as sung by Tim “Ripper” Owens, I also found it very interesting to see how HIM’s Ville Valo delivered Type-O-Negative’s “Black #1”. Most of the artists from the labels history do not play their own songs during the show but we do find this happening for Trivium who deliver a track from their debut CD and present their signature track “Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr”. The drummers switch up the duties periodically during the set and while I have always enjoyed how Jordison plays, I was really blown away by the capabilities of Roy Mayorga who steps up his game as he executes the fills from the bands he is doing the songs of. As you watch you will notice how tight the whole show is and that came after exhausting rehearsals with the musicians involved. Had they not done this, it is clear that the whole gig would have been a cluster f**k. As the core band does their thing we find the front stage area hosting guest after guest as luminaries such as Glenn Benton (who even dons armor for a tune) come out to perform. There is a little bit of everything for the Metal fan on this one and of course bands like Slipknot, Sepultura, and Fear Factory get high props of honor while we also find some of the new original tunes penned for the “Roadrunner United” CD being done to mass approval. I would have liked a little bit more in terms of the filming of the show because while its easy to enjoy this one, it is not as high quality as a number of other shows out there. Perhaps they had not really planned on doing anything with the footage in the beginning. There seem to be a few different cameras doing the filming but it is not one of those nine cameras, hundred different angle affairs when it comes down to it. Instead it’s straight on views of the stage, some visions from the photo pit and a lot from the side of the stage. Either way, you don’t miss out on any of the action because every shot is clear. The audio side of this is however quite intense and not distorted in any fashion. This aspect of it was so good that I was surprised that an audio CD of the show was not included for people to load on their respective devices or to blast in the car or on their stereo. I will not ruin the healthy amount of surprises to be found on the video but will say that this is one that will keep you watching as opposed to flipping around. The entire show ends with an incredible rendition of Sepultura’s “Roots, Bloody Roots”. That number had the entire place moving from the looks of it.

From the historical sense I can safely say that any fan of Roadrunner Records needs to own this release to help them honor and celebrate the labels achievements for the Metal scene. While there is a booklet inside, it merely lines out the songs and provides little more than a group photo. I suggest those who are sitting down preparing to watch it don’t look at the listings and instead just turn the lights low and raise the volume for the show of a lifetime. Horns up Roadrunner and here is to the next twenty five years.

Track Listing:
1. Biohazard’s “Punishment”
2. Madball’s “Set It Off”
3. Stormtroopers Of Death’s “March Of The S.O.D.”
4. Life Of Agony’s “River Runs Red”
5. Obituary’s “The End Complete”
6. Mercyful Fate’s “Curse Of The Pharoahs”
7. King Diamond’s “Abigail”
8. Annihilator’s “Alison Hell”
9. Deicide’s “Dead By Dawn”
10. Trivium’s “Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr”
11. Killswitch Engage’s “My Last Serenade”
12. Chimaira’s “Pure Hatred”
13. Fear Factory’s “Replica”
14. Type-O-Negative’s “Black #1”
15. Roadrunner United’s “Tired ‘N Lonely”
16. Stone Sour’s “Bother”
17. Roadrunner United’s “The Rich Man”
18. Roadrunner United’s “The Dagger”
19. Roadrunner United’s “The End”
20. Soulfly’s “Eye For An Eye”
21. Sepultura’s “Refuse Resist”
22. Slipknot’s “Surfacing”
23. Machine Head’s “Davidian”
24. Slipknot’s “(sic)”
25. Sepultura’s “Roots, Bloody Roots”

Official Website: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com

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