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Although officially I “like” 3 Inches of Blood, the truth is that since their first album they kind of slipped off my radar. Even so, the band are still very much together and recording so I was intrigued to hear what, if anything, had changed since they first entered my consciousness. A handy and easy to manage ten years later, here I am again, sat around listening to 3 Inches of Blood – I’m sure my teenage self would be proud. So what’s different? Not a lot really. If you’ve been a fan for a while, there’s enough development in this that you’ll be happy with. If you’ve never been a fan then I doubt there’s a lot here that’ll convert you. If you fall into that mysterious third category of “never heard of them”, then this is as good a place as any to start.

‘Long Live Heavy Metal’ opens with the anthemic ‘Metal Woman’, which is a good vehicle for the excellently named Cam Pipes’ marmite-y power metal vocals. This is then followed by more of the same until ‘Chief and the Blade’, which is a departure from the regular 3 Inches of Blood fare. It’s a completely stripped back acoustic instrumental track that, despite only being two and a half minutes long, acts as one of the highlights of the album and a nice respite from the out and out power metal that is the opening of the album. It’s also a nice lead track into ‘Dark Messenger’ which, besides being a classic 3 Inches of Blood song, does manage to bring in some of the more folky elements in the early bars of the track and it would have been nice if they’d used this a bit more throughout.

As the band are so aurally unique, thanks mainly to Cam’s vocals, it’s easy to miss the fact that there is some nice guitar work going on in the band as well and that’s evident throughout this album. It’s probably safe to say that the improvement in both the guitar work and production values since ‘Battlecry Under a Winter Sun’ make the band not only sound more credible and less gimmicky but also make them sound more solid and mature. They’ve still kept the slight tongue-in-cheek lyrical and musical style, which is good because that’s what makes them the band that they are but there’s definitely some growth in there as well.

They’re understandably proud of this album but I imagine that comes from them becoming more comfortable with their own style and sound, and that’s to be admired in itself, rather than for breaking the mould. It’s instantly recognisable as being a 3 Inches of Blood album so you could say that sticking with their own sound has somewhat paid off.
Century Media
Review by Siân Williams
26th March 2012
1) Metal Woman
2) My Sword Will Not Sleep
3) Leather Lord
4) Chief and the Blade
5) Dark Messenger
6) Look Out
7) 4000 Torches
8) Leave It On The Ice
9) Die For Gold (Upon the Boiling Sea IV)
10) Storming Juno
11) Men of Fortune; 12) One for the Ditch
"...instantly recognisable as being a 3 Inches of Blood album so you could say that sticking with their own sound has somewhat paid off."