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Old 05-05-2006, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
CallingToAllUnbelievers
 
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Post Roadrunner United-The All-Star Sessions

Roadrunner United

Roadrunner Records
2005

Tracklist:
- The Dagger
- The Enemy
- Annihilation by the Hands of God
- In the Fire
- The End
- Tired 'n Lonely
- Independance (Voice of the Voiceless)
- Dawn of a Golden Age
- The Rich Man
- No Way Out
- Baptized in Redemption
- Roads
- Blood & Flames
- Constitution Down
- I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)
- Army of the Sun
- No Mas Control
- Enemy of the State


Roadrunner Records turned twenty-five years old this year as a record company that prided itself as the label that would always look for the next revolution in heavy metal and would never follow trends. The top people at Roadrunner wanted to celebrate this special occasion, but weren’t sure as to how they would do that, and wanted the people working at the label to come up with something original that no one had ever done before, that no one else could pull off. Eventually someone suggested that a group of musicians that were well known from Roadrunner to collaborate together to write a single. Obviously that idea was turned from one single to a whole album filled with musicians from the beginning days of Roadrunner to up and coming artists such as 19-year old Matt Heafy of Trivium.

Overall there ended up being a total of 57 musicians from 45 bands that are or were once signed to Roadrunner Records. Four “team captains” were chosen to head up the project. Those four team captains that were chosen are; Matt Heafy of Trivium, Joey Jordison of drummer Slipknot and the guitarist of the Murderdolls, Dino Cazares the former guitarist of the great Fear Factory, and the fourth team captain chosen was Robert Flynn of Machine Head.

Working in different places, each of these captains chose different musicians to record with, and a different singer for each song that they wrote. Many infamous people are on this record that I was very excited to hear about. Namely drummer Mike Smith, Dani Filth, and Dino Cazares (God in other words Fear Factory J) were some of musicians that made me excited about this album. There are a total of 18 tracks on this album in all and there was also a DVD that came with this that I will get into later. There are many stellar performances on here of people that I knew of, but never heard any of their material before. This record works well as an introduction to some certain types of metal for people.

The first song on this album is, “The Dagger”, which the vocals are done by Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage, and backup vocals are by Robert Flynn. “The Dagger” never loses its intensity even during the short little chorus where it does slow down a bit. There is a strong double bass, and half way through the song there is a really cool guitar solo done buy Jeff Waters. At the end of the solo there is some clean singing from Howard and Robert Flynn, which I liked because it added diversity to the song. After that the song goes back to being heavy again with more screaming until it ends. It’s an appropriate way to kick things off, but I probably wouldn’t have actually liked it if not for the guitar parts. The second song, “The Enemy”, starts out with a Spanish feeling acoustic guitar that lasts for about the first forty seconds. After that the heavy metal comes in with some very nice guitar and drumming. Then Mark Hunter of Chimaira comes in screaming, which is some of the best screaming on this album. The music on this song is excellent, and I pretty much love this song. The actual lyrics are well written, and are probably the some of the best on this record. “I can’t forgive, and I can’t forget. Don’t you know who the *** I am? I’m the enemy, the enemy, the enemy! Take a good look at me; I’m your enemy.” The song never slows down until near the end where the last 30 seconds are the acoustic guitar again that I thought was an interesting way to open, and close this song.

The next song on here, “Annihilation By the Hands of God”, is once again another heavy metal song that is definitely the heaviest of all the songs on this album. It is sung by Glen Benton of Deicide, who I must say does one of the ***ing best performances on this album. The music and the vocals are brutal and awesome; growling for the win! The guitar is decent and there is of course the fast double bass as expected from any song like this, which is done by team captain Joey Jordison. The solo in this I thought was first-rate technically, but it’s boring. This is an enjoyable track, but Glenn Benton’s growling is the only thing that really stands out. “In the Fire” is a superb metal song that is sung by the infamous King Diamond who does an excellent job on this song as much as Glen Benton, and Mark Hunter did. I really like this style of singing that King Diamond has, very epic sounding to me, but the lyrics are total bull. “I see the moon outside with its evil grin. Watching the breeze tonight accuse me of sin. Oh, help me! No you gonna die!” Of course the drums on here are wonderful, and the guitar solo here by Cory Beaulieu is exceptional.

Matt Heafy wrote the first single for The All-Star Sessions, and it is titled, “The End”. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what to think of this album. As a song overall I don’t think it is that put together well, but is incredibly catchy to me, especially the last minute of the song. I really like the keyboard on this, but the rest is incredibly simple. The main guitar part is strictly power chords. I like Matt’s clear singing on this and I think he shouldn’t scream in Trivium. The actual lyrics I must say are pretty poor. “The End” isn’t the best song on here, and it feels more filler than being worthy of a single. “Tired ‘N Lonely” is another of my least favorite songs on this album. The main reason is that I don’t like Keith Caputo’s voice with the music even though this is the kind of music he does. The music is pretty bland. It’s just not a pleasing song, which is sad because except for Soul Searching Sun, I usually like Life of Agony’s work. The tambourine is neat though.

Well this sucks; metalcore is making an appearance. “Independent (Voice of the Voiceless)” goes back to the full on metal again, which you’d think would be a positive thing, but it’s not. The entire music in the song is choppy, and boring. Max Cavalera’s scream is fairly tedious, and unoriginal. The solo done by Jeff Waters feels forced, and takes a while to start up, but after a while it actually turns out pretty sweet, right before ending though. “Dawn of a Golden Age” reminds me of Cradle of Filth. Maybe that is because it is Dani Filth himself doing the vocals on this gem of a song. Everything about it is wonderful. The vocals, drums, and guitars made me view this as one of the top five songs on this album. The guitar leads are slick, and the double bass is impeccable. I enjoyed the breakdown near the end of the song the most with Dani singing/screaming wonderfully. I don’t know what it is about his voice, but I find it rather unique, and electrifying. “Dawn of a Golden Age” feels like Matt Heafy wrote it from scratch with the intention of putting Dani on vocals, which leads it to feel slightly forced, but this is still a fantastic song.

It was going to be interesting to see how Corey Taylor’s performance on this album would be, and I was disappointed. Corey himself isn’t at fault however; the music just doesn’t match up with his vocals at the beginning of the song, but does seem in place during the heavier parts. Then the music slows down to how it was before leading Corey to feel out of place again, and this happens a couple more times before it ends how it began with reports about the Iraq War. “No Way Out” is a definite change from the rest of The All-Star Sessions. Glassjaw, and Head Automatic vocalist, Daryl Palumbo lends his slightly whiny voice to the record. The song is alternative rock oriented, and is quieter than most of the songs on this album. It is catchy both musically, and vocally. Sometimes however Daryl's high-pitched vocals can be annoying.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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“Baptized in the Redemption” is a splendid death metal song that has some cool music on it along with some ear tearing screaming from Dez ***ara from Coal Chamber, and Devil Driver, both respectable metal bands. This song is one of the ones written by ex-Fear Factory member Dino Cazares and it really reminds me of his band. The song is over three minutes long, but it could easily have been longer, and not grown old at all. The song “Roads” is a ballad from Opeth frontman, Mikael Akerfeldt who is a music god. I must of course credit Josh Silver from Type O Negative for the keyboards, and backup vocals as well. I’m glad Roadrunner included this song because it is so soothing, and relaxing. The singing is eloquent, and the use of strings is an impeccable choice. After “Roads” is “Blood & Flames” with vocals from former Killswitch Engage singer, and present Seemless singer, Jesse David Leach. He seems to attempt to imitate King Diamond, and only does an average job on this. The music is okay, and is mostly quiet the entire time, but does get heavy at a point. This would have worked as a single because even though the vocals are slightly average, they are still catchy.

“Constitution Down” is probably the most monotonous track for the whole album. At times it seems to rip-off Metallica from the Ride The Lightning days in terms of vocal styling from Kyle Thomas, and at times Philip Anselmo of Pantera. The riffs are incredibly monotonous, and uninspired as well. This is perhaps the most tedious of songs for The All-Star Sessions. The next song is a treat for people into punk called, “I Don’t Wanna Be (A Superhero)”. It is sung by Michale Graves who was the singer of the latter day version of The Misfits. Like most punk songs it is barely two-minutes long, but is extremely catchy, and is a great surprise that not many would have expected. “Away from the Sun” is the best song, hands down. It’s a relaxing hard rock song that is absolutely thrilling. With vocals from Tim Williams of Bloodsimple (clean singing), and some really great music makes this original, and is epic compared to most other songs on here.

“No Mas Control” took a while to get used to, but eventually won me over. Cristian Machado handles everything surprisingly well, and Dino Cazares was correct to choice him to work the vocals of this. Both his screaming, and singing are attractive to hear, and the music behind him, while not completely satisfying, is still acceptable. The last song, “Enemy of the State”, is a mixed bag for me. I like the chanting, and singing from Kyle Thomas (ex-Exhorder, Floodgate), but it becomes tiresome after a while. Rob Barrett (Cannibal Corpse, ex-Malevolent Creation), James Murphy (ex-Testament, Death, Obituary), and Andy La Rocque (King Diamond) all play parts of the solo in this song, which is tolerable, and matches the music well, but this isn’t a very exciting way to end the album.

The DVD that comes with it is an hour-long movie about the making of Roadrunner United. After an intro to the movie it starts out with an eleven-minute segment from Los Angeles with Dino Cazares and him getting all of the people for his group together and a few interviews. There are three more segments which each are fifteen-minutes long featuring each of the other team captain, Robert Flynn in Oakland, Matt Heafy in Florida, and Joey Jordison in Iowa. Each of these segments feature interviews and showing the musicians when they were writing and recording the music. There are plenty of funny parts in here to, such as Jeff Waters trying to nail a solo for a minute, but would always mess up.

This is a decent album that is written, and performed by some of the most prolific people in metal from the past as well as the present. There are a lot more than a couple duds in this album, but there are also some stellar songs as well. However, it may be wise to check out a few songs before reaching a final decision. The DVD though helps to justify purchasing this because it gives an intriguing insight to the making of this album.

A few recommended tracks:
-“Army of the Sun”
-“Dawn of a Golden Age”
-“No Mas Control”
-“Roads”
-“Baptized in the Redemption”

3/5
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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pissa review
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Despite the coolness of this idea, I found most of the songs on this CD terribly bland. The DVD was cool to watch through once.

Now if a couple other record labels decided to do this...
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