3 Inches of Blood is a 6 piece metal band hailing from the Canadian city of Vancouver. They've released two albums so far, 2002's Battle Cry Under a Winter Sun
, and 2004's Advance and Vanquish
. The band fuses the traditional Iron Maiden/Judas Priest-ish sound with a modern metal sound. Too accomplish their mission, 3 Inches of Blood employ 2 vocalists, one supplying the traditional high pitched power metal-esque vocals while the other supplying a set of harsh screams. So how does the band's old-new style hold up against the competition? Read on and find out.
As mentioned earlier, the music is reminiscent to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Really reminiscent. Everything from the riffs to the harmonies to the drumming is basically Iron Priest or Judas Maiden on overdrive. From start to finish, 3 Inches of Blood pulls off this style really well, with exceedingly excellent performances on songs like Deadly Sinners
, Axes of Evil
, and Destroy the Orcs
. The solos that the guitarists pull off are really impressive and fun to listen to. At times they make up for some of the lesser parts of the album. But unfortunately, the good ends at the riffs.
While the guitarists are obviously talented, the rest of 3 Inches of Blood is quite shaky. Vocalists Cam Pipes and Jamie Hooper are fairly mediocre. Though they try, the screaming/high pitched singing does not work out very well at all. Their excruciating vocal style is very off-putting and totally ruins the music for me. They are both hard to understand and do not really add anything to the music at all. Jamie Hooper's harsh vocals do not fit the Maiden-like riffs and harmonies found on Advance and Vanquish at all and they are thankfully not used as often as Pipes' Halford impressions. While we're on the topic of Cam Pipes, I feel that on occasion he pulls off the high notes well enough, but for much of the album his voice is either way too high or way too scratchy to enjoy. At times when he sounds like he's inhaled helium and the result is laughably bad and very distracting. Some consistency will do you wonders, Cam.
Also disappointing are both the bass lines and the drumming. The bass is very difficult to hear beneath the chaotic mix of screaming & riffs and the talents of Brian Redman are put to waste. Had the bass been more audible, it could have anchored the rhythm of the album's songs, but as it is, is completely useless. Like the vocals, the drumming is very unimpressive. Throughout the album, Matt Wood's drumming is fairly simple and unexciting. It does not compliment the music very well, and rather than adding to the overall sound, the drumming takes a backseat to the guitars. Matt left the band after the album and was replaced by Alexi Rodriguez, for better or worse.
Another poor aspect of the band is songwriting. The band's songwriting needs a lot of work in the future, as many of the songs sound the same after awhile. Advance and Vanquish could have used a little more variety, maybe a ballad or at least a slower paced song. Advance and Vanquish like listening to the same song thirteen times. The band could easily have chopped 10 minutes off the album, and it would have made absolutely no difference. Some more time should be spent on the very important writing process.
Lyrically, the band opened the Book of Power Metal and transferred it word for word into their music. The lyrics on the album are the run of the mill fantasy styled lyrics found on any stereotypical power metal offering. The songs that 3 Inches of Blood has written describe the tales of orcs, swords, pirates, and even robot warriors fighting in the future. Yeah, fairly cheesy stuff, but they shouldn't bother big power metal fans. However, unlike bands that employ similar lyrics such as Dragonforce and Rhapsody of Fire, the lyrics are much more difficult to make out, thanks to our two vocalists. The band is just having fun creating and playing music and their lyrics aren't meant to be taken seriously.
Overall, the sound that the band attempted to create on Advance and Vanquish is a fast, melodic sound. In that regard, they have succeeded, but they have also introduced a harsh, chaotic sound as well. The band has a lot of potential and I'm interested in seeing what they can do in the future. 3 Inches of Blood has finished writing material for their new album and are entering the studio in November to record their third full length album. Hopefully they can work out the issues that plagued this release and for the love of God, just ditch the screaming.
Destroy the Orcs