3 Inces of Blood

Battlecry Under A Winter Sun 3 Inches of Blood - Battlecry Under a Winter Sun (Sonic Unyon) 2002

1. Ride Darkhorse Ride (3:26)
2. Destroy the Orcs (2:13)
3. Headwaters of the River of Blood (3:03
4. Heir to the Chaos Throne (3:42
5. Skeletal Onslaught (3:48
6. Journey to the Promiseland (2:26)
7. Lady Deathwish (3:44)
8. Curse of the Lighthouse Keeper (3:12)
9. Blazing Fires of Evermore (3:16)
10. Hall of Heroes (4:21)
11. Balls of Ice (3:44)
12. Sunrise Over the Fjords (3:31)
13. Conquerors of the Northern Sphere (2:06)
14. Onward to Valhalla (3:10)
15. Tonight We Rejoice (2:33)

3 Inches Of Blood hail from Vancouver, Canada. It’s pretty clear from this, their debut, that they loved the NWOBHM bands and especially Iron Maiden. (I’d bet that Anvil are their heroes as well.) All the elements of their heroes are here, including the galloping guitars and the melodic leads. However, 3 Inches of Blood are very far from an Iron Maiden close. What makes them distinctly different from anything heard from the NWOBHM camp is the more modern elements that 3 Inches of Blood employ. This is especially true of the two vocalists, one who uses insanely high pitched falsetto vocals, the other that shrieks and growls like a banshee being hung, drawn and quartered. It’s these more modern, almost metalcore-like screams that gives 3 Inches of Blood their more modern sound. Frankly, I think it works quite well coupled together with the galloping riffs and speedy licks.

Having heard their Advance and Vanquish" album before this album, I was already familiar with “Destroy the Orcs”, one of the band’s finest songs. I’m not sure which version I prefer, though hearing it here I can understand why the band decided to re-record it for their first international labelrelease. The rest of the album isn’t that much different from “Battlecry”, though I do think the band offered better hooks and songwriting on “Battlecry”. The songs on the debut are mostly short, the longest clocking in at just over four minutes, while most remain around the three minute mark. All in all, this was a very promising debut release from a Canadian band whose influences are some of my favorites as well. It’s no wonder I’ve found their follow-up releases so enjoyable.

"Battlecry under a Winter Sun" was originally released independently, though it was pretty readily available on Ebay. It was re-released in 2009 by Sonic Unyon and distributed for the first time in the U.S. by Caroline Distribution. The re-release comes with four bonus tracks that were previously released only on various singles in 2003. Of course I had to have the re-release for the four bonus tracks.

Advance & Vanquish 3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish (Roadrunner Records) 2004

1. "Fear On The Bridge (Upon The Boiling Sea I)" (3:14)
2. "Deadly Sinners" (4:30)
3. "Revenge Is A Vulture" (3:26)
4. "Dominion Of Deceit" (4:18)
5. "Premonition Of Pain" (4:35)
6. "Lord Of The Storm (Upon The Boiling Sea II)" (5:05)
7. "Wykydtron" (3:52)
8. "Swordmaster" (4:24)
9. "Axes Of Evil" (4:28)
10. "Crazy Nights" (3:18)
11. "Destroy The Orcs" (2:21)
12. "The Phantom Of The Crimson Cloak" (3:11)
13. "Isle Of Eternal Despair (Upon The Boiling Sea III)" (3:51)

I saw this disc in my local CD store and thought about picking it up, based on the cover. However, since Roadrunner Records was the record company I decided against it, since most of what they release these days is utter 'core crap! Fortunately that is not the case here. 3 Inches of Blood is real heavy metal. Imagine a mixture of Running Wild and Mercyful Fate and you might get a slight picture of what to expect here. "Advance and Vanquish" features two vocalists, one high and screechy like a mixture of Rob Halford, King Diamond and Edith Bunker (...those were the days...), and one more modern deathy, 'core style. The mixture of vocals, along with an album packed with infectious riffs makes this one of the better "new band releases" I have picked up in a while. I mean, we're talking complete guitarmageddon here! Manowar would be proud! Ok, there are some hints of more modern styles, mostly in the one vocalist who has that typical metalcore grunt and growl, but overall this is just a solid heavy metal platter. Lyrically the band is about as cheesy as metal can get. However for those who enjoy a good chunk of cheese, then dig in because these guys dish out songs on the glories of heavy metal, warriors, revenge, orcs, pirates and even a robot who is hell bent on destroying the world. HAIL! POSERS LEAVE THE HALL! 3 Inches of Blood have come to annihilate! If they continue to release solid albums like this, they just might do that.

Fire Up the Blades
3 Inches of Blood - Fire Up The Blades
(Roadrunner Records) 2007

1. "Through The Horned Gate" (2:07)
2. "Night Marauders" (4:15)
3. "The Goatriders Horde" (4:13)
4. "Trial Of Champions" (3:39)
5. "God Of The Cold White Silence" (4:24)
6. "Forest King" (5:16)
7. "Demons Blade" (4:10)
8. "The Great Hall Of Feasting" (3:53)
9. "Infinite Legions " (4:55)
10. "Assassins Of The Ligh" (3:20)
11. "Black Spire" (5:23)
12. "The Hydra's Teeth" (4:49)
13. "Rejoice In The Fires Of Man's Demise" (1:32)

3 Inches of Blood

The internet is aglow with positive reviews of 3 Inches of Blood's follow up to "Advance and Vanquish". I was a bit more apprehensive about this album for several reasons. First of all the four of the original members of the band, including both guitarists, drummer and bassist have all changed since the band signed with Roadrunner Records. With the entire band changing, except for vocalists Cam Pipes and Jamie Hooper, I expected the band's sound to change radically. Also, with Joey Jordison (of Slipknot) and Zeuss (Shadows Fall) having their hands in producing and mixing, I was even more the skeptic. However, the changes weren't nearly as radical as I imagined. The most noticeable change isn't even in the music, but rather with the vocalists. This album seems a lot more heavily weighted on Jamie Hooper's harsh vocals than Cam's falsetto howls, as in the previous albums. I also felt that this album is a bit heavier, more monotonous and the overall musicianship seems a bit more polished in both technique and production. To some this may be a good thing, whereas others will probably prefer the rawer sound of "Advance and Vanquish". However, overall, 3 Inches of Blood still sound like 3 Inches of Blood. The guitar work is solid, containing plenty of duel guitar parts, heavy riffs and quick leads. Also, the lyrical content seems to have stayed the same, with songs of warriors, battle, Vikings, good vs. evil, and metal, metal, metal. Indeed, Manowar would be proud of these lyrics. Overall, I wasn't as immediately taken with "Fire Up the Blades" as I was with "Advance and Vanquish", but overall, "Fire Up the Blades" is a solid follow-up.

Here Waits Thy Doom 3 Inches of Blood - Here Waits Thy Doom (Century Media Records) 2009

1. Battles and Brotherhood (4:46)
2. Rock In Hell (4:56)
3. Silent Killer (4:12)
4. Fierce Defender (5:15)
5. Preachers Daughter (6:47)
6. Call of the Hammer (2:57)
7. Snake Fighter (3:18)
8. At the Foot of the Great Glacier (3:17)
9  All of them Witches (6:42)
10. 12:34 [instrumental] (1:45)
11. Execution Tank (7:33)

“Here Awaits Thy Doom” is the fourth album from 3 Inches of Blood and their first for new label Century Media. It is also their first to feature only one lead vocalist. Founding member Jamie Hooper, who’s harsh core vocals offset the high, shriek of Cam Pipes is now gone. As such, on first listen, it almost seemed as if something was missing from the band’s sound. I kept anticipating those harsh vocals, but they never really surfaced other than a few complimenting backup vocals from guitarist Justin Hagberg. Honestly, however, this is quickly overlooked as this is a still a strong metal platter. Frankly, I’ve always thought that Cam Pipes vocals gave 3 Inches of Blood their distinction, and that is certainly the case here. Without Hooper, there is not even a hint of core in the bands music. Actually, the band stays away from genre jumping all together. “Here Waits Thy Doom” is straight forward power metal bordering on speed metal. This is the type of metal that would make any classic metal fan gush with pride! Even the lyrical themes hint at the "proud to be true metal" attitude. Yes, 3 Inches of Blood are waving high their heavy metal freak flag, beating Hammerfall and Manowar at their own game.

The first three songs on this CD are some of the best the band have recorded yet. These three songs alone are worth the price of admission andare addictive. I would imagine that all three of them will be concert staples for years to come. However, that is not to say the entire album isn’t enjoyable. Guitarist Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark trade off riffs and licks as if they were playing in Mercyful Fate circa 1983. As a matter of fact, "Preacher’s Daughter" reminded me of King Diamond & Co. a bit, until the gang chorus came in towards the end of the song, which had me shouting along. "Call of the Hammer" is a fast speed metal number that recalls the sound on “Fire Up the Blades”. If the chugging riff in the middle of this song doesn’t get your head to banging, your probably not a metal fan to begin with. The album finishes off with a short, acoustic instrumental that acts as an intro to the epic "Execution Tank". This track builds from a chugging, mid-paced number to a speedy, fist pumping, power metal song.

I am sure the mallcore fans and extreme metal junkies will be disappointed at the direction 3 Inches of Blood have chosen to take with “Here Waits Thy Doom”, but this metal fan couldn’t be happier. 3 Inches of Blood have found their sound and that sound is metal!

My copy is autographed by vocals Cam Pipes after the band's performance in Albuquerque, NM opening for Death Angel, 2013.

Long Live Heavy Metal 3 Inches of Blood - Long Live Heavy Metal (Century Media) 2012

1.   Metal Woman (4:49)
2.   My Sword Will Not Sleep (4:38)
3.   Leather Lord (3:58)
4.   Chief And The Blade [instrumental] (2:28)
5.   Dark Messenger (4:08)
6.   Look Out (5:30)
7.  4000 Torches (4:16)
8.  Leave It On The Ice (3:35)
9.  Die For Gold (Upon The Boiling Sea IV) (4:03)
10. Storming Juno (4:25)
11. Men Of Fortune (7:35)
12. One For The Ditch [instrumental] (3:31)
3 Inches of Blood

The Canuck metal heads known as 3 Inches of Blood return in 2012 with their fifth studio album titled "Long Live Heavy Metal". Manowar would approve! "Long Live Heavy Metal" is a natural progression from 2009's "Here Waits Thy Doom". The band continues to crank out their own brand of over-the-top metal parody; combining NWOBHM riffs with thrash and those unworldly shrieking vocals. Yes, this is what heavy metal is suppose to sound like in 2012. There are not 'core' influences and though there are some harsh death vocals, you won't hear any hardcore barking. It's all about the guitars: the riffs, the harmonies and the solos. While "Here Awaits Thy Doom" paired down the speed, "Long Live Heavy Metal" brings back some of the thrash metal influences on songs like "Leave it on the Ice" and "Die For Gold."

The album opens with a metal anthem titled "Leather Lord" that has a Judas Priest-inspired intro. "My Sword Will Not Sleep" is injected with a bit 'ol dose of testosterone and has an epic Manowar feel. At different moments in the song Cam's vocals remind me of Warrel Dane in his Sanctuary days. Once again, the guitars are the driving force of the song. "Leather Lord" with it's fast double-bass and repeated chorus has some similarities to Judas Priest' "Painkiller". When Cam shrieks, "Leather! Lord! Leather! Lord" I can hear Halford bellowing in that glass shattering falsetto voice, "Pain, Pain, Killer, Killer"! The song also features a little Ritchie Blackmore inspired guitar solo. On the amusingly titled "Look Out" the band pays tribute to Ronnie James Dio. The song is loaded with heavy guitars, excellent harmonies and a Rainbow-style organ guitar duel. "4000 Torches" has a  touch of Thin Lizzy influence. Of course any band that writes a heavy metal ode to hockey is alright in my book. "Leave It On the Ice" sings the glory of blood on the ice in fine fashion. (GO FLYERS! GO KINGS!) Of the more surprising moments, "Chief and the Blade" and "One for the Ditch" are both acoustic instrumentals with a bit of a tribal vibe. "Chief and the Blade" features some nice melodic flute work.

Overall, "Long Live Heavy Metal" is exactly what anyone would expect from 3 Inches of Blood. It's scorching heavy metal at it's finest. Sure there is some clichés and silliness. That's all part of the fun of 3 Inches of Blood. It's all about heavy metal! Oath!

Mushroom 1 Mushroom 2 Mushroom 3
3 Inches of Blood - Live At Mushroom: Vol I  (Century Media) 2013
7" purple vinyl

A 1. Leather Lord Side
B 1. The Goatriders Horde

3 Inches of Blood - Live At Mushroom: Vol II  (Century Media) 2013
7" grey vinyl

A 1. Look Out Side
B 1. Deadly Sinners

3 Inches of Blood - Live At Mushroom: Vol III (Century Media) 2013
7" white vinyl

A 1. Metal Woman Side
B 1. Battles and Brotherhood

An  exclusive seven-inch vinyl series called "Live At Mushroom" featuring new "live" recordings of Blood classiscs. The band recorded all the songs live in the studio. The 7" vinyls were sold during the band's 2013 tour with Death Angel, though were not exclusive to the tour as copies were also available through Century Media distribution. 

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