It’s no easy task making a classic modern, or a modern classic for that matter, but Vancouver, British Columbia’s heavy metal stalwarts 3 Inches Of Blood are somehow doing just that on both accounts. Vocalists Cam Pipes and Jamie Hooper, guitarists Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark, bassist Nick Cates, and drummer Alexei Rodriguez have taken their love for New Wave of British Heavy Metal, ’70s First Wave of Metal, ’80s Bay Area Thrash, and modern Black Metal, and concocted their own brew of “straight up” speed metal that’s chock full of nostalgia. Steering clear of the word “throwback,” 3IOB aren’t doing this for hipster kicks, they are simply playing “the kind of metal that we want to hear that you don’t really hear a whole lot these days.”
Classic metal fans with a penchant for battle and a fixation on all things fantasy, these guys are indeed the real deal. Gearing up for the release of their sophomore effort, Fire Up The Blades—produced by fan and label-mate Joey Jordison— as well as this summer’s free Ozzfest, we caught up with Shane Clark to find out who they are in their own words, and why we can expect to hear more about them in the coming months. If you haven’t done so already, by all means, please meet 3 Inches Of Blood, Roadrunner’s esteemed swordsmen:
How do you describe 3IOB in terms of sound and style?
What the band’s all about is just straight up metal; six individuals all coming from a different place musically that all have metal in common. Lyrically it’s a melting pot of all things fantasy. Jamie and Cam, our vocalists, they come up with lyrics and they’re very influenced by Tolkien, fantasy movies, comics, stuff like that. Cam plays a lot of D&D, so they write about battle: past battles, futuristic battles, etc.
How does that resonate thematically with the new record? I know the last record focused a lot on D&D themes, and this record doesn’t seem to have any…
You’re right, there’s no D&D references on this one; no songs about pirates, no trilogies. No one had any intention of doing Advance And Vanquish part two. The themes on this are still themes of battle, but the whole overall vibe is a lot more sinister, focusing on the dark side of things. The main theme, like the title [Fire Up The Blades] implies, would be we’re forging metal; we’re forging our own brand of metal— what we think it should be. Us letting our influences show, and just creating something new at the same time with the ‘working as an army in battle’ underlying theme.
Who are your influences?
Straight up metal is the influence that we all came together on, what the band’s always been about: the early ’80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal. On this one, our influences grew in that era—there’s a little more late ’70s First Wave of Metal, more in the vein of ‘a little less Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, a little more UFO and Deep Purple.’ There’s definitely the early Priest influence with the dual guitars and stuff, but that also crossed over into a little more Exodus/Slayer kind of dual guitars. We’ve got a lot of influence of the Bay Area/first wave of Thrash in California kind of thing, too.
But also, there’s just a big black metal influence that wasn’t really apparent on the first couple records that’s shining through on this one more. We listen to Black Metal at least once a day in the van, so that definitely came through on our writing for this, too. I feel we mixed all that stuff up together and created something pretty ‘fresh,’ I guess you’d say?