Released: 2002, Minion Music
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!!!