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XXX: Three Decades Of Roadrunner Records (Album Review)

Monday, 25 November 2013 Written by Heather McDaid

Everyone has a goal, something to point at and think: "that's the dream." When it comes to metal music, Roadrunner Records has felt, for much of its 30 years, like the home of all that is great and good. Now, the iconic label has pulled together ‘XXX’, a one-stop shop to highlight their history of launching and nurturing metal's finest.

A 54-stop guided tour of the last three decades, these four CDs chart Roadrunner's biggest arcs. ‘Foundations’, the opening disc, documents the years that laid the groundwork for their success, with heavy brilliance from Mercyful Fate, Annihilator, Deicide, Suffocation and King Diamond.

Disc two - ‘Horns Up’ - is an overview of the impact they had throughout the ‘90s as a new breed of thrash merchants and later, nu metallers, surfaced, with big hitters including Machine Head, Soulfly, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory and 36 Crazyfists all included. Slipknot's Spit It Out and Sepultura's Roots Bloody Roots are two classics that prove a focal point.

The third section - ‘And Metal For All’ - bridges the gap from their ‘90s heights to the present day, with Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater, Gojira, Devil Driver and Down providing winning contributions.

The conclusion comes with ‘Rock For The Ages’, a glance at the label’s hard rock contingent featuring Nickelback, Stone Sour, Black Stone Cherry and post-hardcore innovators Glassjaw.

As an overview alone, this album is exceptional. Every label will have its success stories, but Roadrunner has one hell of a track record in aiding meteoric rises. What's more is that the fourth disc here opens them up to a wider market. The journey from their heavy beginnings, to the bluesy swagger of Black Stone Cherry and dubstep dalliances of Korn, proves that the label is able to evolve as the music around them does.


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