3 Inches of Blood

Fire Up the Blades
(Roadrunner Records)

All right, you metal maniacs! Here's a hard-hitting album that'll give you a sore throat just from listening to it. 3 Inches of Blood takes all the melodic sensibilities of '80s metal monsters like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and serves them with a heavy dose of modern thrash madness. Vocalists Cam Pipes and Jamie Hooper belt out fantastical lyrics about goat riders, Nordic gods, and dark forests in falsetto and high-pitched metalcore screams, respectively, while the band rages behind them in a barrage of double-bass drumbeats and twin guitar harmonies. And although 3 Inches of Blood harks back to some of metal's cheesier moments, the Vancouver-based band resents being called a "spoof" group — they're serious about what they do, and one listen to a song like "Trial of Champions," with its whiplash rhythms, throaty vocals, and creepy keyboards illustrates the sincerity of 3 Inches' approach; the song sounds like a sinister marriage of Motörhead and Maiden, with a Blue Öyster Cult affair on the side. Other highlights include "Demon's Blade," a sonic nod to old school Headbanger's Ball bands like Helloween, and "The Hydra's Teeth," a high-octane blast of meaty beats and speeding six-strings.
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