An actuality of today’s rock, metal and music scene in general is how generic the mainstream has become. Day after day, we are flooded with bands that sound almost exactly the same as one another, so much so you might think some record company people found a method of cloning the same four members of a rock group over and over again. The current crap (excuse my language) that is currently flooding the mainstream is the pop/punk, emo/screamo wave, led by bands like Fallout Boy. Even hard metal has become a bit plain these days, but one up and coming heavy metal group that is trying its best to bring some flavour to the mainstream is 3 Inches of Blood.

Roughly seven years ago, 3 Inches of Blood formed on the pacific coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. Although the band is now made up of six members, the roots of the group really originate with lead vocalist Jamie Hooper. At first, the band’s lineup was quite the revolving door as members came and went, but Hooper was able to find an ally and bandmate in singer Cam Pipes. Pipes and Hooper ended up working well together, especially in the studio and on stage where Pipes high pitched shrieks provided a good contrast to Hooper’s ferocious growls. The result of their collaboration was 3 Inches of Blood’s debut LP Battlecry Under a Winter Sun which came out in 2001.

Like so many other debut albums, Battlecry Under a Winter Sun was for the most part ignored by metal fans, but the group would soon catch a big break in the form of a spot on a big tour. Around the year 2002, the British, operatic-like band The Darkness was becoming a hit, so much so that they reached platinum sales in several different countries. Fortunately for 3 Inches of Blood, the group’s UK distribution label put them on as a supporting slot for a tour with The Darkness. This tour garnered 3 Inches of Blood a lot of mainstream attention from fans and critics and it ultimately resulted in the band signing on with Roadrunner Records in 2004.

To coincide with the band signing to Roadrunner in 2004, 3 Inches of Blood released their Roadrunner debut Advance and Vanquish the same year. The album was reminiscent of classic metal bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and was a real triumph for the band, despite the laborious writing and recording process that went along with it. On the first day of recording for the disc, the group’s drummer and bass player quit, followed by two guitar players leaving and in addition, the band went through dozens of songs trying to create a good enough record. Fortunately enough for the existence of the band, their two new guitarists Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark gave the group a much needed shot in the arm and they haven’t really looked back since.

The new chemistry brought on by the addition of Hagberg and Clark, coupled with the mounting word of mouth success of Advance and Vanquish has resulted in skyrocketing popularity and a brand new album for 3 Inches of Blood. The new disc is called Fire Up The Blades and it carries with it a bit of a concept. There is a Dungeons & Dragons feel to the record and the general theme is one of being united together in battle.

To produce Fire Up The Blades, the band enlisted the help of none other than Slipknot’s drummer extraordinaire Joey Jordison. Jordison became a fan of 3 Inches of Blood when he substituted in for Satyricon on a 2004 tour which 3 Inches of Blood served as the opening act for. Impressed by what he saw, Jordison offered his services to the band and they promptly accepted. The writing and recording process was quick and smooth and the result is perhaps 3 Inches of Blood’s best work yet. Look for the band on tour all this summer 2007 throughout North America and look for them to be at the forefront of the metal picture for years to come.  [ END ]