Sound — 9
RoadRunner United is the collaboration of 55 artists under the RoadRunner record label from 42 different bands. All of these artists were headed under 4 team captains: Joey Jordison (the power behind Slipknot's percussion and I believe still to be the worlds fastest drummer), Mathew K. Heafy (the voice, rhythm and lead player of the new metal core band Trivium, voted band of the year of 2005 across numerous magazines and websites), Dino Cazares (the main writing influence of industrial metallers Fear Factory before his premature departure from the band, currently he is working on his death metal band Brujeria as well as working with numerous other artist on recording etc.) and the final team captain was Robert Flynn (co-founder, singer, guitarist, song writer and producer of the old school metal band Machine Head). Together this combination of metal gods and the new wave of metal have created an awesome album. As quoted by Dino Cazares Back in the day when RoadRunner first came out, you knew what you were getting if a record had the Roadrunner logo on it. If you saw that, you were buying it, because you knew it would be good quality shit. 01. The Dagger - this is a killer of an opener to what has to be one of the greatest metal collaborations of all time. With Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage) singing you can expect to hit in the face by this song. There is an amazing guitar solo in the song well fitted into the bridge and the lyrics completely suit this pure metal song. 02. The Enemy - this song should to die hard metal fans should have a Battery (Metallica - Master Of Puppets) feel to it, with an intricate Spanish guitar introduction with is a nice feed into the dropped arpeggiated thrash riff. The narrative of this song is of an ancient warrior realising his true cause in life but still believing in fighting and how he can't forgive his enemy so he remains the enemy. The lyrics truly suit the style of the song. 03. Annihilation By The Hands Of God - again a pure thrash song with a lot of interlaying instrumental lines. The vocals don't suit my style of music the singer is from death metal band Malevolent Creation again not my style of music but a clearly well thought through song and a great solo performed by the guitarist James Murphy of Obituary fame. 04. In The Fire - one of the best songs on this album, written and performed by Matt K. Heafy and also sharing guitaring responsibilities with Core Beaulieu both from Trivium so you can expect an amazing song. The solo is shredilicous. But what make this song for me are the unbeatable vocals by King Diamond the legendary Danish singer founder of Mercyful Fate and of the band King Diamond. 05. The End - this is one of my favourite tracks on this album. It uses both the talents of two team captains, Matt and Dino. Matt's clean voice can be heard distinctly on this track and it's a beautiful tack. Dino's harmonic verse and intro does good justice to the genre and creates a good beat to the song. 06. Tired 'N Lonely - this song uses a catchy guitar riff although this song is more rock as opposed to metal and does not fit well into the album. The vocals are simple and easy to sing along with, this is a good song but it doesn't suit the album as well as it should. 07. Independent (Voice Of The Voiceless) - this is a truly amazing thrash song. With max Cavalera (singer, guitarist and co-founder of Soulfly) on vocals you can expect a well-written and produced song. The vocal line fits in well with the standard Soulfly style of constant barraging you with shouting/roaring. The guitaring on this track is truly amazing with a 3-part harmony performed by Robert Flynn (multi tracked of course) all in all an amazing song. 08. Dawn Of A Golden Age - I am not a huge fan of this song it has an amazing shred solo and although the vocal line is good I just don't like Dani Filth's style of singing or the death metal genre particularly. 09. The Rich Man - this song is clear spit in the face of George W. Bush for his oil/war mongering in Iraq. The intro is full of facts about the war and what it has cost the American government to do it. The lyrics are based on a soldier trapped in the war uncertain of his future. Who better to give these lyrics justice than Corey Taylor (Singer of Slipknot -pioneers or speed/rap/thrash/nu/hardcore metal). This song is amazing; the chorus uses a simple chord to octave sequence, which suits Corey's work in Stone Sour and Slipknot. 10. No Way Out - to me this a travesty to roadrunner and not worth my time to review it but I shall anyway. Although the lyrics are not directly emo, the style and emphasis on the notes is extremely emo. More the shock to me that Joey Jordison wrote this song and produced it. It is a surprise and as Joey himself says I did it as it is the least likely thing you'd expect me or roadrunner to produce. 11. Baptized In The Redemption - this is another thrash/death metal song with full screaming lyrics provided by Dez Fafara (singer and frontman of Coal Chamber). The guitar solo is sweeeeet and uses a wah effect. The drumbeat is really strong and you can clearly hear the Blast Beat technique being used (pioneered by Mike Smith from Effigy Of The Forgotten). 12. Roads - this is one of the best songs on the album, again not fitting in with the whole thrash metal theme of the album it gives the listener a break to reflect on the last 45 minuets of pure metal. The song was written and sung by Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. The song is similar to Opeth's calmer songs for example 'Benighted' from the album 'Still Life'. 13. Blood & Flames - truly an amazing song. The guitars are played by Josh Rand (Stone Sour) and Matt K. Heafy so expect a monster of a song. There's a nice ascending riff to open the song and with Killswitch Engages original singer (the best one) Jesse David Leach it makes for an amazing song. The vocal line, solo and verse riffs are extremely catchy and make for an excellent song. 14. Constitution Down - another great song by the monsters of metal. With 4 guitarists playing individual solos or rhythms throughout it's a pleasure to listen to. The vocal line is extremely catchy although it took me 3 months to really get into. 15. I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)! - is possibly the shortest and the best song on this album. Each of the team captains on the album has one song entirely to themselves where the standard RR artists were used as session musicians. This is the result of the Matt K. Heafy session. With a nice complimentary solo and strong catchy vocals it makes for one of the greatest songs on the album. With Michale Graves (current Misfits' frontman and signer) on vocals it sounds really good. 16. Army Of The Sun - Robert Flynn sessions. There isn't much to say about this song, its catchy but it's a bit samey with Machine Heads other stuff. I'm a fan of the lyrics here but not much else it's a god song don't get me wrong I just over played it I think. 17. No Mas Control - Dino Cazares sessions. True Mexican metal (Soulfly style) Pounding intro riff thrashing vocals in half English half Spanish (slightly confusing). The bridge has a sweet little acoustic moment, which suits the song really well. The singer here is Cristian Machado (Ill Nino) so when you get hold of this CD you'll expect a quality song. 18. Enemy Of The State - Joey Jordison sessions. I find this song wholly confusing and a bad note to leave the album on. This song has a large combination of styles - death metal lyrics with a piano and acoustic verse and then a heavy chorus with no vocals.
Overall Impression — 10
With this album comes a free DVD, which is so good. It gives you a behind the scenes tour of the different studios used by the team captains and a look into there lives. To conclude this is an amazing album truly. There are odd moments where it doesn't suit the roadrunner brand image but all of the songs are well construction and performed to the height of accuracy.