Album Review: Various Artists – Moshin’ the Roof On Volume 3

If you are a fan of thrash metal then you’ll hopefully be fully aware of UK Thrashers, the social media site that promotes thrash metal from across the UK and beyond. If you aren’t aware of it, then you seriously need to get involved. You should also be aware of the gargantuan effort that ‘Branny’ (Neil Brannagan – brains behind the site) has made over the past two years in raising money for the housing charity Shelter via his two compilations under the Moshin’ The Roof On title. Well, despite the huge amount of work that goes into curating a double album with 30 artists, the man is back once again with Volume 3 and this time he’s pushed the bar higher and harder.

Reviewing an album that is for charity is a double-edged sword. If you were giving it a rating, you’d give a high score regardless of the quality because of the cause involved. (As it was, when I reviewed Vol 2 last year the music was impressive enough to give it top marks anyway). Be critical and you’re being a bastard, for all the bands have donated their time and music and, in many cases, these are advance releases or exclusive tracks rather than just a song already out there. There is little fat amongst the 30 songs here. It may sound a little sycophantic, but this compilation stands loud and proud and even after a mere couple of early plays, it’s as good if not better than the preceding releases.

Diving into the melee that is side one, it’s those cheeky blackened thrashers Hellfekted who are amongst a plethora of returning MTRO alumni and who have the honour of opening the whole shebang – they do it with aplomb. The gnarly quartet from Stoke-on-Trent have provided a feral advance track in the shape of “Death of Iron” which rocks comprehensively. It’s a crushing, disgusting slab of dirt that draws from a wide range of influences, utilising the power and intensity of the band to deliver their own brand of heaviness. Blackpool’s Blacklist are also returning alumni and their ferocious Blood Baptism is another feisty advance track. And they are joined in an opening triple salvo by their Trifecta touring brothers Thrasherwolf with “Blood Moon”, which is not only an absolute banger of a track but also the longest on the album at just under nine minutes long. Greedy buggers!!

The UK thrash scene has been mushrooming for some time, and this release is a demonstration of just how strong it has become. As well as the out and out thrash delivered by the likes of Thrasherwolf, Elimination and Imperium, there is huge variation spread across this double album. You cannot ignore any of the tracks on this release and picking highlights is a devil of a job. Beyond Salvation’s ripping groove demonstrates how the thriving Manchester scene is pushing the quality with their track “Dead Behind the Eyes” combining the power of Lamb of God, the beating heart of Machine Head and the downright thrash of Slayer in one awesome curled fist of music.

Newcomers to MTRO are always welcome and there’s plenty of juicy new bands to sink the teeth in. Dundee’s Catalysis bring a symphonic groove to the party, Midlands death metal bruisers Disinherit add some spine breaking extremity, King Abyss blend thrash and death metal in fine style and although Necropolis don’t have the best quality to their sound the potential is still there. Elsewhere the Liverpudlians Devil’s Henchmen stick to a pleasing retro mix of thrash and classic heavy metal on their song “Built by Hate”, Leicestershire’s demonic Blood Oath spread their darkness on “Infernum Diabolus” and the hardworking Gutlocker finally get a spot, ironically with a track called “Absence of Chance” which drifts closer to the core than most bands on this and the previous releases. Making up the rest of side one are Welsh thrashers Excurisa who featured on Volume 1 with a different line up with their advanced track “Solace”, the blazingly heavy Acid for Blood with their punishing instrumental “Death by a Thousand Shots”, the rawness of Thrashsquatch and finally the intricate, clever wordsmiths of London’s excellent Tempashot, whose Mordred style rap metal and vocalist Luke Alexander’s performance is a delight to listen to again.

If this was vinyl, then you’d flip the beast over and refasten the belt for side two. It starts with some heft as veterans Helgrind, buoyed by their fine return last autumn with the rereleased “Insurrection” open with the punishing “Last Dance”, showing confidence and the devastating power that these veterans possess. This is ferocious stuff and leaves the rest of side two with some work to do. Madicide push hard with the aggressive “Carnivore Incarnate”, Yorkshire’s Riptide show their progression since Volume 1 with the ferocious “Inhuman Race” and Chimp in a Box bring something a little different but good with “Sixes”.

What’s noticeable on this release is the progress that several of the bands have made since the first release. There are impressive performances from several of the returning outfits. These include North East’s musical collective Scarred by Truth who are welcomed back with open arms, their track “B.L.E.E.D.S” bringing their unique flavours and style to the party. Sidewinder BC’s bruising crossover thrash is angry and potent, whilst the blackened thrash of Devastator brings the old school front and centre with their track “Merciless Onslaught” which is possibly the fastest piece of music here.

New bands on side two include the horror metal of More Death and Horror, the one-man machine Rick ‘Tricky’ Hudson with his Heavy Claw project, and surprisingly, the debut on MTRO of Lancashire’s Bloodmores, whose “Fuel for the Fire” is yet another exclusive and a great follow on from 2021’s excellent Too Close to the Sun.

There is little to complain about although the production values on a couple of tracks struggles to match the consistency of most of the release. West Walians In Which it Burns have been through a few challenges with changes in line-up over the past 18 months but the fire still burns hot with advance track “The Eyes of My Enemies (Are Mine).” Unfortunately, it suffers with a horribly muffled mix, which is a real shame. Days of Wrath have a similar issue with their track “If Fell from The Sky”, which sounds like a raging thrasher but has very poor clarity. Surrey’s Dead Before Mourning also have a slightly foggy sound, which keeps the vocals low in the mix and takes away a little of their obvious sparkle!

MTRO Volume 3 finishes as strongly as it begins. The penultimate band are London beasts Imperium, who bring the muscular power with excellent new track “Deceived” and pave the way for returning alumni Elimination to put this excellent album to bed with the snarling “Icon of Despair”, a track which fully justifies why their 2021 album Echoes of the Abyss received such good reviews.

Whatever I’ve written here can’t really capture the overall quality of this magnificent release. Full of blood, sweat and tears, and more than a couple of beers, it’s a huge statement about the quality of the UK thrash scene. The fact that it’ll likely raise a couple of grand for Shelter as well makes it even more of an essential purchase. So, there you are. You know what to do!

Moshin’ the Roof On Volume 3 is out on 1st April

Check out all the bands we review in 2022 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

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