3 Inches of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal (Century Media Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Probably a smart move to go back to full-on metal for 3 Inches of Blood, especially considering the toned-down, 70’s rock attack of 2009’s Here Waits Thy Doom. As the title suggests, Long Live Heavy Metal is about as metal as they come, with the Vancouver bearded boys reveling in their usual topics of metal swords, metal chicks, metal honor, and anything else that fits Cam Pipes’ he-woman roar. Pipes might be the only guy in metal outside of King Diamond that can get away with a constant falsetto and not be annoying…

Suitably, Long Live Heavy Metal drifts back to the band’s formative Advance and Vanquish and Fire Up the Blades days. This of course, means that side-swinging twin-guitar harmonies, Pipes’ sky-high uh, “pipes,” and a hearty gallop are in regular formation. Such happenings are on display during opener and lead single “Metal Woman,” which is everything you’d imagine it to be about, complete with a “Demon in the sack!” tag-line. Down the line, the sterling “Leather Lord” meets atop Iron Maiden’s hill, while album interlude “Chief and the Blade” is an old-western acoustic jaunt that breaks up the action nicely.

There are times when Pipes pushes the rafter-touching vocals a bit too much, like on the silly “Look Out,” but for the most part, he is able to ride along nicely the effusive melodic front the band puts on. Elsewhere, the thundering “4,000 Torches” and “Die For Gold” are among the most brazen songs the band has ever put to the tape, culminating with the gallant instrumental, “One For the Ditch.”

3 Inches of Blood practically has the bearded metal Maiden crowd covered, and on Long Live Heavy Metal, their concerted effort to be (again) more metal works like a charm. Quite hard to knock this one; it’s every bit as steely, angular, thematic, and overblown as it appears to be. Oh, and it’s a metal album. Easy to decipher that one.

 www.myspace.com/3iob

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)