SO I GUESS ROADRUNNER RECORDS IS STILL SIGNING METAL BANDS AFTER ALL
After the fracas that ensued following my post about the supposed non-metal future of Roadrunner Records, it would appear that Roadrunner Records hasn’t given up on metal after all. In the past week they’ve announced two brand new metal signings, which would seemingly indicate that Roadrunner is going to try and forge ahead with metal while also building up their non-metal roster.
First came the news that Roadrunner signed Grand Magus, a Swedish trad metal outfit that’s been grinding it out in the indie circuit for 10-some-odd years. This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher, as these types of “classic” metal bands — while they’ve certainly experienced some resurgence in popularity of late (think: The Sword, Saviours, Priestess etc) — haven’t gained nearly the amount of attention necessary for a massive label like Roadrunner to turn a profit. Both press release quotes from Roadrunner about the signing are from staffers of Roadrunner’s German office, a devil in the details that could shed some light on the situation; perhaps Grand Magus have a huge following in Europe, or perhaps this style of metal is much bigger there than it is in America. After all, Roadrunner is a company that started in the Europe.
Then came the announcement that Roadrunner signed the Canadian band Baptized in Blood, which we’d first reported a couple of weeks ago as a rumor. This signing makes a lot more sense to me, at least from an American label standpoint. Baptized in Blood’s bio describes them as such: “Mix a little bit of the ‘Gothenburg’-style of metal with the classic anthemic sound of the ’80s…” a description I find to be fairly accurate. Baptized in Blood seem to have a lot more relevance to the modern metal scene than Grand Magus, and I can definitely see them fitting in well with the bands that Roadrunner has had the most success with — a good mix of true heavy metal and some commercial accessibility.
So how will these two bands fit in with Roadrunner’s other new decidedly non-metal signings? Can a label staff that’s best suited for promoting metal do a good job with both metal and non-metal acts or will they be stretched too thin? Will these newer metal releases (along with Mutiny Within) prove profitable enough for the label to continue on with heavy music, or will they be dropped by the wayside in favor of more popular, mainstream music? Lots of questions still surround the future of Roadrunner.