Metal All-Stars Unite At Roadrunner Show

It was ambitious enough for Roadrunner to release "Roadrunner United," an album featuring 55 members of 42 of its bands collaborating on songs to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary.

It was ambitious enough for Roadrunner to release "Roadrunner United," an album featuring 55 members of 42 of its bands collaborating on songs to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary. But they went even further last Thursday (Dec. 15) by lining up many of those artists and more to play a concert at New York's Nokia Theater.

While "Roadrunner United" live could have been a logistical nightmare, the show went off without a hitch in what was truly a unique evening for everyone involved. While the participating musicians alone read like a who's who of hard rock, even the attendees stood out, with slain Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's widow Rita and "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice among those mingling at the show and holiday party for the label beforehand.

A core band, featuring Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, Machine Head bassist Adam Duce and Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser held things down while various other musicians took the stage throughout the evening. During changeovers, a screen dropped, playing montages of the bands and songs that have defined the label for the past quarter century.

Roadrunner started life in 1980 as a Dutch import company (first album: "Jim Croce's Greatest Hits!"). However, a handful of acts that helped establish the company in the late '80s and early '90s were from New York, so it was only fitting that music from Biohazard (whose Evan Seinfeld joined for "Punishment"), Madball (with show host and Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta singing "Set It Off") and Life Of Agony (featuring singer Keith Caputo revisiting "River Runs Red") started the show.

Other genres of Roadrunner's past were unearthed, as Deicide's Glen Benton represented death metal with Obituary's "The End Complete" and former Judas Priest and Iced Earth vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens filled in for King Diamond doing one of his songs ("Abigail"). Thrash was also represented, with Annihilator guitarist Jeff Waters joining Ripper and the core band for their "Alison Hell."

The new school and nu-metal were also dealt with. Killswitch Engage's current and former frontmen (Howard Jones and Seemless' Jesse Leach, respectively) dueted on "My Last Serenade." Trivium's "Pull Harder on the Stings of Your Martyr" was sung by both frontman Matt Heafy and Machine Head vocalist Robert Flynn and Chimaira's "Pure Hatred" was also performed.

The sole acoustic number, Corey Taylor's "Bother," was sung by he and Caputo, and was followed by several tunes from the "Roadrunner United" album. A few Slipknot songs, "Sic" and "Surfacing," were also performed. By the finale of Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots," tackled by the key band plus Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and Flynn, the crowd was fully aware that the night would go down in the annals of metal history.