3 Inches of Blood have been around peddling their tribute to traditional heavy metal for well over a decade and return with ‘Long Live Heavy Metal’. The revolving door approach to members of the band means that not a single original member of 3IOB remains in today’s line-up. Lead singer Cam Pipes has been around for pretty much all of their career however, and is a very distinctive part of what 3IOB are all about. He has become more of an essential part of the group over the last few years since long-time vocal partner Jamie Hooper left. Jason Hagberg fills in the lower growls to 3IOB nowadays, but the new stuff is very much a single vocalist approach.
The result of Cam Pipes being the main voice of the band means that ‘Long Live Heavy Metal’ is 3IOB’s most traditional sounding album in their back-catalogue. Where as previous efforts have dabbled in Death and Black metal, this is straight forward Heavy Metal. A fact that they are no doubt unashamed of if the title is anything to go by. For those who have never heard Mr Cam Pipes vocals before, well just think of an insane Rob Halford on helium and you’ll be somewhere in the right ballpark. Admittedly, not everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t deny he has a stand-out voice.
Cam Pipes may well be one of 3IOB’s best selling points but he is well backed up by the rest of the band. Justin and Shane in particular deliver a traditional guitar-soloing duel to melt the hardest of faces.
Mixing up some NWOBHM and some 80’s style Thrash is the perfect accompaniment to the Halford style vocals. Anthems on the album such as ‘Metal Woman’ and ‘Leather Lord’ conjure up images and songs in your head before you’ve heard them, but they are executed to high standard on ‘Long Live Heavy Metal’. Throw in some instrumental atmospherics such as on ‘Chief and the Blade’ and even a monstrous keyboard solo on ‘Look Out’ to keep things fresh and you have yourself a very fine record indeed.
3 Inches of Blood have carried a bit of a bad reputation for many reasons over the years (try thumping a member of Saxon for instance) and have gone off on some very strange tangents in the marketing department too. They can’t be faulted for this effort though and the fact that they are still here and busting out tunes like these should be respected. There are plenty of bands out there reliving past glories but not too many of them have histories of their own.