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3 Inches of Blood
Battlecry Under A Winter Sun
January 2002
Released: 2002, Teenage Rampage Records
Rating: 3.7/5
Reviewer: JP

I didn’t give this band much thought when I first heard/played their EP last year. I subconsciously designated them a decent, indie Maiden clone. The EP did have great packaging, however!



What a difference a year makes. Vancouver’s TIOB have really improved in my mind. I am delighted to see younger bands adapt a true metal style instead of some derivative mallcore style like so many of their peers. Suffice it is to say, TIOB now kick some serious ass!



I cannot believe the improvement. Musically, vocally, production…everything.

A nice dark cover greets us with a decent rendering of skeletal remains with a knife blade through its rib cage. When it comes to packaging and presentation there are a few tips I have for the band. To help create more of an identity, they should maybe try including lyrics, and/or a breakdown of who does what in the band. There are six guys in the band and I have no clue who does what. Some consistency in the name would be good, too. Is it “three” or “3”? Both appear on the packaging. No big deal. Lyrically, they deal with medieval, fantasy themes but in a far darker manner than many of the other bands in the genre. Instead of knights, heroes and quests, the band seems to write about the dark side of the topic. Song titles like “Lady Deathwish”, “Curse of the Lighthouse Keeper”, “Skeletal Onslaught”, “Heir to the Chaos Throne” and my favorite “Destroy the Orcs”, help conjure great imagery.



Vocally (and musically) the band reminds me of Iron Maiden, Stormlord and Fiurach, an excellent blend of grating death, clean, and even touches of a black shriek/hiss. The vocals are very cool and add another dark heavy element that makes them stand apart from others with clear soaring majestic vocal styles. Musically, the band really does remind me of Maiden in terms of song construction and even the tone of the guitars, which is, to me, a good sound to emulate. It works nicely and gives a familiar frame of reference without being slavishly unoriginal.



The individual performances are solid but not fantastically superior. Not much Malmsteenian wankery to be found here! With time, practice and touring the sound will tighten up I am sure. The production is adequate as is expected with indie bands on a budget. The songs are not too fast or too plodding but fit nicely into a midrange with some kick and punch when needed. The song construction is however, very well done; interesting and catchy but not in a sweet melodic way. At one listen I was hooked. Their almost unique blend of traditional metal, death and black (cranked up a notch in terms of vocals and down a notch in terms of image) make for an exciting blend that will either alienate purist fans of either sub-genre or work in the bands favour. I am betting on the latter. I really enjoyed this CD and for fans of something new and cool from deep in the underground check this out. The band can be contacted at http://www.threeinchesofblood.com

Next review: » 3 Inches of Blood - Battlecry Under A Winter Sun
Previous review: » 3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish

3 Inches of Blood
Battlecry Under A Winter Sun
September 2003
Released: 2002, Minion Music
Rating: 4.8/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Vancouver’s eastside has a reputation for being, well, not the best part of town, let’s just say. Sandwiched between the low-income housing and high immigrant population is an eclectic mix of Italians, lesbians and hippie culture on Commercial Drive. This is the last place you would expect to be the stomping ground of one of Canada’s most highly-regarded metal bands, Three Inches of Blood. Their first full-length CD, BATTLECRY UNDER A WINTER SUN, was released in Canada last year but just received a major release in Europe and U.S. distribution is in the works for fall 2003. It has already been awarded the 2002 Canadian Independent Music Award for “Metal Album of the Year”



The six-piece band features TWO lead vocalists, one with a Black metal shriek and the other with more of a high-pitched wail along the lines of Rob Halford or King Diamond. Their music is galloping power metal with obvious influences from Iron Maiden, Helloween and Judas Priest. Lyrically, the band focuses on Tolkien-like themes of medieval imagery, battles and orcs. MP3s and a few video clips are available on the band’s website (http://www.3inchesofblood.com) for those who are curious.



Standout tracks include “Ride Darkhorse Ride”, “Headwaters of the River of Blood”, “Heir To The Chaos Throne”, “Lady Deathwish”, “Curse of the Lighthouse Keeper” and of course the fan favorite, “Balls of Ice”, which generates chants of “BALLS…OF…ICE!!” at the band’s shows. The intro for “Ride Darkhorse Ride” has the sound of horse’s pounding hooves and the drawing of a sword that would make Manowar proud! The skull-crushing music is separated at the halfway mark with the acoustic track “Journey To The Promised Land”, which features of all things…a mandolin! Guitar solos, pummeling drums and the twin vocal attack of 3IOB create what should be a metal masterpiece. In person, the band looks nothing like you’d expect (jeans, ballcaps, short haircuts) based on their sound and you’d half expect them to be playing alt-rock like Weezer or Foo Fighters but the music tells another story indeed.



My only complaint with this CD is its short length—37 minutes!! I guess 3IOB subscribes to the theory of “leave them wanting more”, and in this case, WE WANT MORE!!!
Track Listing

1. Ride Darkhorse Ride
2. Destroy the Orcs
3. Headwaters of the River of Blood
4. Heir to the Chaos Throne
5. Skeletal Onslaught
6. Journey to the Promised Land (Instrumental)
7. Lady Deathwish
8. Curse of the Lighthouse Keeper
9. Blazing Fires of Evermore
10. Hall of Heroes
11. Balls of Ice

Lineup

Cam Pipes—Vocals
Jamie Hooper—Vocals
Sunny Dhak—Guitar
Bobby Froese—Guitar
Rich Trawick—Bass
Geoff Trawick—Drums


Next review: » 3 Inches of Blood - Fire Up The Blades
Previous review: » 3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish





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