XXX: Three Decades of Roadrunner Records CD Boxset – album reviewXXX – Three Decades of Roadrunner Records CD Boxset (Roadrunner Records)

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For thirty years, Roadrunner Records has presided over some of the most important bands to have shaped modern metal. This compilation rounds up and celebrates some of the best releases from those years.

Whether it be the young upstarts with visions of megalomania or the seasoned pro’s issuing another lesson in shredding; this compilation displays an array of acts to satisfy the most diverse metal palate.

The four disc set runs pretty close to chronologically, kicking off with the wildly unique and influential Mercyful Fate. Mercyful Fate are cited as one of Metallca’a biggest influence and it’s easy to see why on Evil. Also making an early appearance are Obituary with the title track from their Slowly We Rot album; a master class in vicious and brutal thrash metal. Deicide and Suffocation also make up a disc that is like an NFL pro-bowl game of metal; stacked with only the best in extreme.

In addition to well-established and early influential acts, there are appearances from lots of smaller, lesser-known projects such as stoner rock legends, Karma To Burn, and Brujeria; which over the years has counted Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Dino Cazares of Fear Factory amongst its members. Roadrunner’s more extreme tendencies are showcased through the punishing Nailbomb, and the emphatic early Sepultura cut; Roots Bloody Roots. The latter track is a song that is one of the most well-known metal songs of the last 20 years. The savage chorus cries are completely brutal and it is a song that can blow away the most ardent of cobwebs!

Also adding to the diversity of the label are bands such as Dog Eat Dog, prog masters Rush and the all round brilliant Opeth. Opeth are represented by Heir Apparent from the bands excellent Watershed album. The track is a near ten-minute opus that has moments of pure anger and brutality, but also mixes piano led beauty and superb solo work with great effect. Machine Head show their stripes with the excellent Imperium, and Down are showcased with one of their latest offerings in the form of Witchtripper. The legendary Ronnie James Dio is in peak form on Heaven and Hell’s Bible Black. Sadly, this was the last release the legendary ex-Rainbow and Black Sabbath man appeared on before his very sad death several years ago.

Concerning bands that could have been charged with changing the game of metal, not many come as bludgeoning or pioneering as Slipknot. The short, shrift devastation of Spit It Out shows the Iowan nine (of 1999) sounding fresh. The band helped revitalise metal in the face of a nu-metal onslaught and went on to become big time players in the metal world. Corey Taylor and Jim Root of Slipknot are also represented in Stone Sour on the collection as well.

It would be hard to mention all the 53 bands that make up this fine compilation. Each band offers something of merit and there is bound to be something that you will like here. If you fancy looking for a new band to pursue, this compilation certainly offers enough to explore.

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To see the full track listing for the compilation, click here.

All words by Dom Walsh. You can read more from Dom at his author’s archive here. Dom also tweets as @bwfcdom83.

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