The Porcelain Throne: 3 Inches of Blood
The throne is occupied again, this time thanks to another submission from Xan. With some (hopefully good) major life events happening here for the flusher of poor logic, I may take a little longer to get your submissions posted, but please keep them coming!
Galloping, catchy, bad-ass riffs calling upon Iron Maiden? Check. Falsetto that would make Rob Halford and King Diamond smile in approval? Check. Poser stomping lyrics that cover topics such as killing orcs, killing fools who get in the way of killing orcs, and killing people while playing ice hockey? Check. All of these components are the essence of 3 Inches of Blood. The band is always able to sate my appetite for riff-oriented heavy metal, the likes of which only Visigoth and Enforcer have been able to come close to sating. I discovered this band through the video game Brutal Legend – a game featuring several of their songs, along with about fifty other metal bands. One of the defining features of the band is Cam Pipes’ falsetto. Pipes has masterful control of high soaring cries of magical, masterful, majestic majesty.
3 Inches of Blood was formed by Jamie Hooper, Sunny Dhak, and Bobby Froese, and Rich and Geoff Trawick in Vancouver. Cam Pipes joined the band slightly later, around the time of the first EP. By the time they released their second album, both Pipes and Hooper were the only remaining members. The lineup more-or-less stayed consistent since 2004 until Hooper left the band in 2008 and Ash Pearson joined as the drummer in 2007. 3IOB are absolute masters of the riff, which can be seen throughout their entire careers. With the sad announcement on June 2, 2015 that the band was going to be disbanding, I could think of no better way to celebrate the legacy of one of my favorite bands than by listening to their entire discography and induct them into the Porcelain Throne.
Battlecry Under a Wintersun (2002)
3IOB’s first full-length album establishes them as a force to be reckoned with. Though the production is far from grandiose, the music speaks for itself. Songs like “Heir to the Chaos Throne” and “Skeletal Onslaught” have riffs that get stuck in my head for days at a time. “Destroy the Orcs” is an instant classic that you will quickly learn and sing along to. It tells a simple story of a man’s revenge against a band of orcs who raided and killed his family. “Balls of Ice” is an example of the quintessential galloping riff. In addition, there aren’t very many songs that I can think of where you can have lines like, “Balls, balls, balls, balls,” and not have the music suck. Battlecry established 3IOB’s place in metal (though they did have a pretty gnarly EP before this). Their next release would secure them a glorious crown of heavy metal glory.
Advance and Vanquish (2004)
Advance and Vanquish is quite possibly my favorite heavy metal release in the last fifteen years. The band steps up their game on all fronts on this album. The production is noticeably less muddy, the riffs are catchier, the songwriting has improved immensely, the guitar tones sound driving and powerful, and Pipes’ vocals are charged with energy and are set to explode. This album is absolutely armed to the teeth with amazing songs. “Deadly Sinners” is perhaps 3IOB’s most well-known track. Even after reading the lyrics, the only story I can attain from it is WE’RE KILLING POSERS – exactly how it should be. “Premonition of Pain” is my favorite song on this album. It tells the story of a soothsayer who has a vision of a coming army that will destroy the kingdom. He informs the king, who doesn’t believe him. The army attacks and the soothsayer laughs at the king as he is presumably killed by the invading tyrant. The last song that I’ll highlight from this album is “Axes of Evil”. Everything about this song is fantastic. The solo and riffs are extremely memorable and catchy. It also contains one of my favorite lines of all time, which is, “Bloody raw Lucifer meat.” In typical 3IOB fashion, this song is about a hero who goes to claim the axes of evil to stop an invading force.
Fire Up the Blades (2007)
This album is very similar to Advance and Vanquish in many ways. The catchy riffs and combination of falsetto and harsh vocals continue. Pipes seems to have an even larger range, and some of his vocals are shouted, which can be seen in songs like “The Goatriders Horde”. Hooper’s vocals have increased significantly, no longer sounding as screechy, and have more power behind them. Fire is more or less a more refined Advance without as many memorable songs. This album seems to have a different feeling than Advance, sounding darker and more serious. Advance sounded like the journey of a bunch of drunken warriors slaying dillholes, whereas this album has much more of a “staunch warriors fighting back the hordes of chaos” feel. It is much thrashier, perhaps demonstrated best by songs like “Demon’s Blade”.
Here Waits Thy Doom (2009)
This is the only album by 3IOB that I don’t listen to with regularity. While there are some killer tunes in here such as “Rock in Hell” and “Silent Killer”, many of the songs feel lackluster and uninspired. This album sounds very similar to Fire Up the Blades in riff and vocal styling. Some of the songs on this album are significantly longer than songs on previous albums. One fourth of the album is comprised of nearly seven-minute long tracks. Overall, there isn’t much to say about this album other than it is similar to Fire Up the Blades but lacks the memorability that I expect of 3IOB.
Long Live Heavy Metal (2012)
This album is a total shift from Here Waits Thy Doom. This album absolutely slays from beginning to end and brings back some much needed life into 3IOB. “Leather Lord” would be my preferred soundtrack for most things, with excellent riffs and an infectious chorus. “Metal Woman” has the most dope of riffs and a great chorus and “My Sword Will Not Sleep” has an epic chorus. “Leave it on the Ice” is a song about knocking a busta’s teeth out whilst playing hockey. “Look Out” is a wonderful tribute song to Ronnie James Dio – the King of Metal, and probably has the best solo on the album. Closer “Men of Fortune”, (the last song with vocals at any rate) is a perfect album finisher. Perfect riffs, catchy choruses, and amazing use of a bridge. This album is an absolute masterpiece and is, in my opinion, on level with Advance and Vanquish. This album is a must buy.
3 Inches of Blood have had a great discography and truly do a service to the genre of heavy metal. With the monoliths of majesty that are Advance and Vanquish and Long Live Heavy Metal, I wouldn’t be surprised if people look back and hail 3 Inches of Blood as legends in twenty years. I can only hope that the disbanded members work projects that will live up to their legacy. Until that time arrives, rejoice in the glory that is 3 Inches of Blood.
Thank you Xan for this rowdy throne occupant! As always, check The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines and help me fill up the throne!