I think it’s becoming commonly known that us here at That Devil Music are of the above age demographic for fans of metal and bloggers in general. I think if I did the average age for the regular people that contribute it would come out to like 38 or 40 years old. The reason I’m making this observation (or claim) is because the one thing I think we can all agree on is that though we love the bands that have come out over the past 10 years or so, the one thing we miss is the kick ass bands from our youth. I’m talking classic Judas Priest, Iron Maiden,Accept,Iron Maiden,Scorpions….etc. There are revival bands recently that try to capture the magic of the old days such as Holy Grail and do a great job at it. But the one band that stands out and really brings back the vibe, energy, and themes of those days gone by is Vancouver British Columbia’s 3 Inches of Blood. Songs about battles,orcs,cruel women,and occasionally overt sexual themes is what got our hormonal attentions in the 80’s. 3IOB’s latest album (that released today at the time of this writing)’Long Live Heavy Metal’ can easily be summed up as everything that us old farts claim is true heavy metal. But let’s get a little bit further in depth about this shall we?
You see, 3 Inches of Blood have never really deviated from the classic worship of legacy bands but they have always tried to put their own spin on metal too. This is admirable but also had mixed results in the past. The first three albums had the classic vibe but also tried to incorporate metalcore in the mix which was hot at the time. I know a lot of long time fans find those albums to be more of their liking and that’s fine. But secondary vocalist Jaime Hooper who did the core screams could no longer continue so it was left to Cam Pipes to carry the load. At least for one album on 2009’s Here Waits Thy Doom which led to mixed reviews overall. While I enjoyed the hell out of that album I did sort of miss the offsetting vocals too. So we now come to the latest offering in Long Live Heavy Metal and what stylistic changes if any were going to be present here.
I’m happy to report that LLHM satisfies an older guy like me and should be considered a modern classic of heavy metal. All of the components are there for a great record and at the center of it is of course Cam Pipe’s vocals. Now if you have taken issue with the almost screeching unique falsetto in the past then you might want to stop reading here because that will never change but Cam sounds better on here then he has for a long time for those of us that do dig his vocal style. 3IOB feeds off a bunch of influences and pays tribute to each of those influences in every song.
‘Metal Woman’ opens the album with a cool melodic instrumental that switches to a hooky bass line that builds up to a song that pays tribute every song you ever heard about ‘Wicked Women’. There is no let up in the next track ‘My Sword will Not Fail’. ‘Leather Lord’ is a straight up Judas Priest style song. Chief and the Blade changes things up with a tribal sort of instrumental that is a catchy and memorable as hell. ‘Dark Messenger picks the tempo right back with scorching riffs in the mode of classic Iron Maiden. I could go on about each and every track but I’d really like people to pick up a copy and hear for themselves.
Justin Hagberg has taken over the harsh vocal duties but they’re used sparingly on only a couple of tracks. The rest of the time he is sharing ripping guitar duties with Shane Clark and producing memorable riffs. Drums are handled by Ash Pearson and his playing style is perfect for 3IOB with rapid fire precision. New bassist Byron Stroud is someone Fear Factory fans should recognize and makes his presence felt with distinct bass lines on the album.
Overall there are 12 tracks on Long Live Heavy Metal and while not every song is a complete winner in terms of lyrical content, none of them are boring and all have a certain level of entertainment rarely seen these days. I believe LLHM is the perfect balance of what I’ve enjoyed about this band but never all together on one album before. And the amazing thing about this is that 3IOB never seems to have the time to record new material since they are always on tour but managed to come up with a stellar album that had better take the band to the next level. I’m not a huge fan of trends but this old dog would not mind if 3IOB starts one that continues to bring back the vibe of the classic days of metal that brought generations together in the first place. It’s long overdue.
If you want to hear for yourself what the album sounds like head over to this stream that’s up for a limited time. Also check them out on Facebook if you haven’t already. Definitely one of the more entertaining and interactive Fan pages out there.