3 Inches Of Blood - Advance And Vanquish
3 Inches Of Blood is a new aquaintance to me, even though they have had another album on the market for some time (Battlecry Under A Winter Sun, 2002), and I approached this with some degree of anticipation since I had heard that they play straight and basic metal in the vein of Accept. That should suit me well I thought, since I am a sucker for very basic, riff based heavy metal of the old school. And that is exactly what we get here. Musically it is nothing more and nothing less than a delightful hybrid of early Accept, early Judas Priest and a tiny bit of early Iron Maiden as well. It sounds very european, but as always when it comes to bands from american continent, you can hear that tiny special touch to it that gives them away.
The songwriting did not feel especially strong at the first encounter. Fully sufficient, yes, but nothing special, but it grew on me quite a bit for every listening, and the final verdict is that it's actually quite appealing and good. The dual riffing is good, and the solo work is also well performed, even though I would have preferred way more in the latter area. There are two vocalists in the band. Jamie Hooper and Cam Pipes. Which one doing which part of the scratchy/raspy vocals, and the more clean ones (which are only sporadically represented), I am not clear over, but it sounds damn good. Imagine almost equal shares of Udo Dirkschneider and Rob Halford, with emphasis on the first, and add to that a spoonful of King Diamond. The production is intentionally very european 80's, and it constantly feels like it's an old classic friend that is spinning.
It is very simple structured, as previously mentioned, and follows a pretty strict pattern regarding verse, bridge and chorus. There are however enough variations to make it interesting, in form of changes in speed, and then almost exclusivly to the faster side. During a brief moment in the opening of Dominion Of Deceit, my mind immediatly wandered in the direction of early Holy Moses, for example. Overall the material is a bit agressive and adrenaline filled and has a good flow in constant uptempo, and the energy they put into it is being projected back at the listener. What is missing is perhaps some real peaks on this album, but the lack of downsides make up to that. The material is very even, and you feel like you are gliding through a cavalcade of newly dug up metal treasures from a hidden vault just discovered. During the midsection with songs like Wykydtron, Swordmaster and Axes Of Evil, the head- and fistbanging factor is total.
The ideal album to warm up with when sinking a few whisky before going to an U.D.O./Accept concert later in the evening. If you want your metal simple, raw, basic and familiar, and if all of the above mentioned bands are house gods of yours - be sure to check this one out.