Cam Pipes -
Justin Hagberg - guitar/vocals
Shane Clark - guitar
vacant - bass
Ash Pearson - drums
3 Inches of Blood is a Canadian heavy metal band from in
Vancouver, British Columbia, formed in 1999.The band was highly
influenced by the bands involved with the New Wave of British
Heavy Metal of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their sound is
also very thrash-influenced and contains major elements (namely,
vocals) of early death metal and black metal bands. Before 3
Inches of Blood, members Cam Pipes and Justin Hagberg were in a
black metal band named Allfather. When Pipes was around 10 years
old, he sang in his school's choir.
There's a reason
fans have come to their shows wearing Viking helmets and
brandishing both real and plastic swords. Born out of a love for
pure metal, weaned on a diet of fantasy and mythology, 3 Inches
of Blood have been slaying the infidel and defending the faith
for nearly eight years.
In that time, they've released two albums and splattered the
ground with crimson streaks while on tour with Satyricon, Black
Dahlia Murder, Motorhead and Cradle of Filth. These are mighty
accomplishments for dedicated warriors from Vancouver, British
Columbia, a region that's not exactly the Camelot of heavy
metal. And with their new album, Fire Up the Blades, 3 Inches of
Blood have surpassed even their own manly exploits, crafting a
baker's dozen of anthems and stormers that crash, rip and roar
like a Medieval skirmish.
"With this album, the blacksmith is heating up the blades and we
are preparing for battle," says vocalist Jamie Hooper. "We are
forging the steel that we'll use to annihilate the heavy metal
posers, and in every town we play, the streets will run red with
Throughout Fire Up the Blades, 3 Inches of Blood demonstrate
that the best way to stay ahead of the heavy metal curve is to
write music that comes from the heart and sounds nothing like
the horde of bands tapping into the latest trends. To that end,
they draw fuel from their favorite artists, including Iron
Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Manowar and Enslaved and
compile it all into their own lethal potion. Once more, 3 Inches
of Blood demonstrate great skill for riding galloping steeds
into fiery realms of crunching riffs and banging heads, but Fire
Up the Blades is darker and more aggressive than 2004's
critically acclaimed Advance and Vanquish. "Demon's Blade"
starts with a crushing, technical thrash passage and peaks with
twin guitar harmonies over throat-shredding vocals and "Infinite
Legions" features hailstorm blast beats and orchestral swells
between martial riffs.
"This album is heavily influenced by low quality beer, bong rips
and listening to black metal in the dark," Hooper says. "It
doesn't sound blatantly black metal, it still sounds like us.
But it's a faster, more intense version of us."
Fire Up the Blades marks the recording debut of four out of six
of the bandmembers. Hooper, who co-formed the group, and
co-vocalist Cam Pipes are the only soldiers to return from the
last battle, and they're joined by guitarists Shane Clark,
Justin Hagberg, bassist Nick Cates and drummer Alexei Rodriguez.
But even though the lineup is different, the aesthetic remains
the same, and the skill level actually eclipses that of the last
"Sometimes when bands change members it seems like big step
backwards, but this was a major step forwards for us," Hooper
says. "Everyone new who came in was at their best, which forced
everybody else to pick up their game a little bit and we came up
with things we just couldn't have done before."
Also adding to the skull-splintering vibe was Slipknot drummer
Joey Jordison, who produced the record. Jordison became a fan of
3 Inches of Blood in 2004 when he filled in for Satyricon on
tour and 3 Inches of Blood opened. "When he found out we were
doing another record, he offered his services, and we were like,
‘Dude, of course!" Hooper says. "He added a fresh perspective to
the songs and helped us work on some parts and arrangements.
Also, he's a beer drinking encyclopedia of cult black metal, so
we sat around drinking Pabst Blue Ribbons talking about necro
black metal the whole time, which was awesome."
3 Inches of Blood started writing Fire Up the Blades in late
2006 and composed many of the songs in a house they rented in
Tacoma, Washington early this year. They entered the studio with
Jordison in October and recorded at three locations in Vancouver
-- The Armory, Mushroom Studios and Hipposonic -- before
finishing up at London Bridge Studios in Seattle.
"Our engineer saw a ghost, but other than that, everything went
smoothly," Hooper says. "No one was tearing their hair out or
yelling at each other. We were just drinking, having a good time
and churning out the metal."
Hooper co-formed 3 Inches of Blood in Victoria, British Columbia
in 2000. In addition to a batch of musicians who are long gone,
he recruited singer Cam Pipes, whose high pitched shrieks both
contrast with and compliment Hooper's vicious growls. In 2001
the group released its debut, Battlecry Under a Winter Sun,
which was released by a label owned by a local record store.
When the shop closed, 3 Inches of Blood self-financed additional
pressings of the album, which laid the foundation for the band's
epic style of music with songs like "Destroy the Orcs,"
"Skeletal Onslaught" and "Headwaters of the River of Blood."
"When we started, a lot of us came out of this DIY scene where
most of the bands had some sort of message," Hooper says. "I
support that, but we wanted to be band that was just about good
times, and would just cut loose. The music that we love and puts
smiles on our faces is classic metal. And, we're all fans of
shitty movies and fantasy novels, so we decided to use that
stuff as well in our music."
Compelled by the band's dedication and determination, Roadrunner
Records signed 3 Inches of Blood and in 2004 released Advance
and Vanquish, an album that brought to mind the best of bands
like Running Wild, Grave Digger, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and
Diamond Head. As triumphant as it was, its creation was a long
and bloody process. "We went through about 12 records worth of
bullshit making that," says Hooper. "On the first day of
recording, our drummer and bass player quit. So we had to
replace them with guys who basically learned the songs as we
were recording them. And, after we recorded, our two guitar
players quit. But then our new guitarists [Hagberg and Clark]
joined and we were like, ‘Alright, it's go time.'"
Which brings us back to Fire Up the Blades, an album that
combines fist-tight musicianship, rib-sticking riffs and more
monsters and mayhem than a game of Dungeons & Dragons. No
longer, do 3 Inches of Blood sing about pirates and cyborgs, now
they're more rooted to a dark, mystical era when great beasts
roamed the land, and a man was defined by the strength of his
armor and the power of his sword.
"The general theme of the whole thing is that we are all united
in battle," Hooper says. "But a lot of the songs are also about
the imagined Christian demons coming forth from their
imaginations and reaping the whirlwind, so to speak. It's more
of a post-apocalyptic doom scenario. ‘'Mad Max' barren
wasteland, everybody's fucked kind of stuff."
While 3 Inches of Blood are eager to see how fans react to their
new album, and are even looking forward to the return of the
kids with swords and shields, they're also curious about what
new kinds of lunatics will pop up at their shows. "The music's
more extreme now, but I don't know how much more extreme some of
these fans can get," Hooper says. "In Cincinnati, we had a
fellow come onstage with a pig's head on a stick. He fell down
and dropped the head and we had to soccer ball kick it off the
stage. Then, in Fargo, North Dakota, a guy came on holding a
severed deer's head over his head. The tongue was sticking out
and blood was dripping all over his face. How much more metal
can you get than that?"
Take a running dive into The Blades, and find out.