3 Inches Of Blood
Long Live Heavy Metal
26 March 2012
by Tom Dare
If you’re the kind of metalhead that reacts to that particular end of the metal spectrum – you know, the one draped in leather and fur, that’s unduly fond of Vikings and loves the first four Manowar albums as much as it doe its own kids – the same as you would if your local served you a pint of horse’s piss instead of beer, 3 Inches Of Blood probably aren’t for you. However, if you look at Rob Halford decked out in leather screaming ‘Painkiller‘ and think it’s the most amazing thing in human history, step this way.
The requisite description of 3IOB for new listeners looks like this: straight-up, hyper-manly heavy metal made of big NWOBHM riffs and duelling leads with frontman Cam Pipes’ astonishingly high register singing powering over the top. Listen carefully and you’ll catch the occasional break of something totally different – on album number five, this time it’s the country-sounding ‘Chief And The Blade‘, which wouldn’t have been out of place on the O, Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.
Opener ‘Metal Woman‘ begins with a slow-burning intro that isn’t a million miles away from ‘Aces High‘ (and Maiden are never, ever a bad band to be compared to) before rumbling bass comes in. At this point, if you aren’t nodding your head, instinctively folding your middle and ring fingers under your thumb while extending your little and index fingers and raising your drinking horn in the air, you’ve gone badly wrong in your choice of album. By the time that opening scream comes in and the first of many catchy choruses rolls around, we’re really in business.
And it’s a business that doesn’t tail off quickly either. The opening is all strong, but as the middle of the album approaches – the bit where some bands start to dump the filler – things actually get more interesting. The powerfully Primordial-tinged ‘Dark Messenger‘ is moody and (appropriately) dark, the thrashy aggression of ‘Leave It On The Ice‘ packs a punch and then suckers you with a particularly inescapable hook, ‘Die For Gold (Upon The Boiling Sea IV)‘ mixes that thrashy attack with the more “trad” parts of 3IOB’s sound and the most true of true metal songs imaginable ‘Men Of Fortune‘ is the welcome (if a tad predictable) “epic one” near the end.
Watch 3 Inches Of Blood during the recording of Long Live Heavy Metal:
Long Live Heavy Metal by 3 Inches Of Blood is bound to get the metal-speaking world making jokes about how incredibly “METAL!” it is. But don’t let that blind you to the fact it’s a collection of songs that get you banging your head, singing like no one’s listening and practising your best Sign Of The Hammer poses in the mirror. Is it over the top? Of course it is. Is it profound? Not really. Is it revolutionary? No.
Does any of that matter, or stop you enjoying it without a shred of irony or po-faced humour? Shit no.
Sounds like: Judas Priest, Diamond Head, occasionally Bathory, Deep Purple (once)
Stand-out tracks: Metal Woman, Dark Messenger, Leave It On The Ice