Released: 2002, Teenage Rampage Records
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