June 14, 2007

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3 Inches of Blood, Fire Up the Blades
Roadtunner Records, 2007

Somewhere in cyberspace, a 14-year-old is skipping the spellcheck part of writing a glowing Amazon review of 3 Inches of Blood. Like their paid 30something counterparts — litter-pawing New Music Guide moonlighters practicing their English Comp 101 grammar rules after listening to exactly 10 seconds of Fire Up the Blades — the only comparisons they’re able to shake out of their brains are Priest and Maiden, because to their knowledge those two acts are the only bands in rock history who ever did fast melodic metal with a screamy singer. Besides, 3IOB’s first album ripped off Nazareth’s No Mean City for the cover art, so just how wildly original could this be? Well, not that much; only the era’s been changed to protect the innocent, a vague sloppiness added to the production for the benefit of In Flames lovers. Caffeine-blooded completists will get a kick out of 3IOB’s attempt to bring back the late-80s power-metal days of Savatage and Nuclear Assault, which is precisely what this is: cigarette-torn shrieks laid over Flying V guitars dugga-dugging along at slightly above middle-gear speed. B- — Eric W. Saeger