Released: 2007, Roadrunner Records
You would think that a band who has replaced every member who plays an instrument between albums would suffer in quality. 3 Inches of Blood defies that expectation, though, as FIRE UP THE BLADES is probably an even tighter and crisper performance than its predecessor, ADVANCE AND VANQUISH. Listeners can still expect a similar affair, though, as the songs still have that classic metal vibe, populated with the two vocal attack of Cam Pipes, the Rob Halford/King Diamond squealer, and Jamie Hooper, the snarling growler. This time, however, there is a heightened sense of intensity and even a little bit more variety of song styles.
On one hand, you have your PAINKILLER-inspired songs like the fantastic “The Goatriders Horde.” Fans of double bass blasting, blazing guitar solos, and insistent choruses will raise their devil horns to this cut during their first listen. On the other hand, though, the album offers some more groove-laden material. Songs like “Trial of Champions” and “God of the Cold White Silence” offer tempos in a more middle of the road range while still maintaining their heaviness. These tracks also feature some of the coolest instrumentation on the album with some organ sounds thrown in to create interesting atmospheres behind the pummeling guitars and drums.
Overall, the album has a real crisp and clean production that will treat listeners to an updated version of classic metal motifs, including some galloping Maiden riffs, some Priest speedsters, and a heavier sound that is all their own. Fans of European power metal will even hear a lot of what they like here. The only drawback to the album may be a sort of shortage of standout tracks in the second half. Still, there is an intensity throughout the album that will be appealing to metal fans of all ages that should make this a well-received record. With an all new cast of supporting characters, 3 Inches of Blood have once again proven themselves to be a fiery and vicious metal entity.