3 Inches of Blood
Fire Up the Blades
pin the rock cheese-meter past Spinal Tap, past the Darkness, past Turbonegro, even past loincloth beefcakes Manowar, and the dial circles back around to "awesome." This is where 3 Inches of Blood reside. Fire Up the Blades is that metal karaoke party where you're standing up and shouting with Dio, you're screaming for vengeance with Judas Priest, and you're kicking so much ass that you tear a hole in your pants and are actually rocking out with your cock out. So much rock and so much cock can be hard to handle—you've been given fair warning.
Such absurd amounts of rock almost never came to be. Only the band's two singers remain from the original lineup. A 2002 debut full-length, Battlecry under a Winter Sun, quietly came and almost went, had not 3 Inches of Blood somehow ended up on tour with the Darkness. Insanely hot rockin' ensued. Roadrunner Records, the Matador of metal, signed the Vancouver-based band, resulting in four new members and an album, Advance and Vanquish, so metal that its single, "Deadly Sinners," was about metal itself.
Now, metal about metal is nothing new, as anyone who has suffered through a Manowar album can attest. But "Deadly Sinners" took this theme to the next level, thanks to the most aptly-named singer ever, Cam Pipes. Pipes is blessed with a mighty pair of such, hitting such glass-shattering heights on "Deadly Sinners" that even the Metal God himself, Judas Priest's Rob Halford, took notice. Halford is Pipes' most obvious inspiration, in shrill timbre and Mariah Carey-esque range, though the way Pipes trails off on notes recalls another master of falsetto, King Diamond. The band has another singer, Jamie Hooper, who supplies competent screams and growls, but he is the Garfunkel to Pipes' Simon. 75% of this band is Pipes' dog-killing, blood-curdling shriek.
Before, the band over-relied on it; now, its other 25% is more than up to speed. In true Spinal Tap fashion, the band again has a new rhythm section. Drummer Alexei Rodriguez has a knack for spicing up thrash beats with goofy accents; imagine dancing the polka with someone randomly elbowing you in the ribs. Not that the band needs such stimulation—it has the galloping feel of '80s thrash down cold. "Demons Blade" has an intro riff so ripping, it induces headbanging even before the band enters. "Night Marauders" also thrashes thoroughbreds; its half-time breakdown is nothing less than a command to ram your forehead through the nearest wall. The subsequent wah-drenched solo is the musical equivalent of the milliseconds before orgasm—again, watch it with that cock.
My hasty listening notes are indicative. "The Goatriders Horde": Motörhead + blastbeats + Judas Priest screams + Ride the Lightning harmonies. "Trial of Champions": '70s Hammond organ, searing solos in unison with organ, kill kill kill. "The Great Hall of Feasting" even has more cowbell, fer chrissake. The band isn't afraid to dig into the '70s and unearth some bluesy swagger or bell-bottomed prog—then steamroll it in blastbeats. "Assassins of the Light" unleashes yet more cowbell, then kicks it aside with improbably fleet-fingered shredding. If "God of the Cold White Silence" doesn't have you throwing goats, swilling beers, and manhandling air guitar like you haven't masturbated in months—I'll eat my pants.