From thrash and death metal classics to nu metal numptiness, prog, hard rock, oddball releases and more, the story of Dutch-founded label Roadrunner has taken many a twist and turn - imagine trying to convince the denim and leather-clad kid who had just bought Obituary's Cause of Death in 1990 that the same label would eventually have Lenny Kravitz on its roster.

The latter doesn't get a look-in but the former do on this 54-track collection which offers more to the younger listener keen for a history lesson than the greyer (and probably rounder) metaller who still has the albums from back in the day.

For a box set marking such a milestone, XXX is, to older ears and eyes, defined by a lack of imagination. It's disappointing that the liner notes and artist quotes aren't more extensive, while the opportunity to include unreleased live tracks, demos and alternate studio versions hasn't been taken. The likes of Pestilence, Sadus, Gang Green and Madball do not feature (there was space on the CD) and it could be argued that when it comes to some of the icons who do, the wrong tracks have been selected. Sepultura's Roots Bloody Roots instead of Beneath the Remains? Machine's Head's Imperium instead of Davidian? Slipknot's Spit It Out instead of Wait and Bleed? Fear Factory's Shock instead of Replica?

As with all compilations, tracklist-wise it's impossible to please everyone, but the feeling here is that they should have tried a lot harder. Those beyond a certain wide-eyed age who buy XXX (or, more likely, find it under the Christmas tree) will skip many a song across the four CDs and find themselves squatting in others as their own nostalgia mind movie starts playing.

As a peace offering to that demographic, some of Roadrunner's records from the late Eighties and Nineties could be reissued on vinyl. File that under very big hint.

Harry Guerin