Those of you whom know me personally know that I have an affinity for 3 INCHES OF BLOOD. That since their second album, “Advance And Vanquish”, I have been valiantly fighting for the good word/music that are these Canadian Power Metal mongers. My love for them grew on their third album as they went even faster and Thrashier. So when I finally got my sweaty mitts on a copy of their anxiously awaited (at least on my part) fourth album, “Here Waits Thy Doom”, I was practically ecstatic.
By the time I was done with my first spin I was somewhat dumbfounded. “Here Waits Thy Doom” wasn’t the 3 INCHES OF BLOOD I had come to love and expect. It was definitely those Canadians there in the music, but they had, dare I say it, pulled back from their more extreme ways.
All right, I suppose this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many had complained that the band had lost sight of their more melodic side on the album prior, so perhaps some of you out there are going to find this more reserved 3IOB even more likable. They definitely have taken their music back to its roots in the somewhat MANOWAR-ish ways. Focusing more on the melodic interweaving of songs and structuring and pulling back from the 300 mile per hour Thrashy riffs and burst solos that made me delight in “Fire Up The Blades”, 3IOB tend to sound more straight up old school Power Metal now more then ever. The leads are simpler for the majority of the album and bring back some of the mindset of classics like U.D.O. or even some early German Power Metal albums while the band has taken to just pulling it back for most of the instruments…except for vocalist, Cam Pipes.
Which is where one of my major issues with this album comes to play. I can deal with the band pulling back and focusing more on the song writing and writing more mid tempo material, I may not like it as much, but I’ll deal with it. But the loss of Jamie Hooper (originally a second vocalist for the band – the harsh screaming guy to those of you who don’t know) is a major blow to the style and originality of the band. Not only are there now no founding members in the band, but it feels a bit lop sided vocally. Pipes’ vocals continue to soar and annihilate the clouds with classic Metal prowess, but Justin Hagberg’s attempt at countering it with his own roars pales in comparison to their former sound. He only appears occasionally on his own and mostly acts as a backing vocalist to Cam now. It’s a major loss for the band that significantly makes the music suffer.
I also find it weird that the band has some odd bluesy (and once again – dare I say) Country style elements in their music now. “Preacher’s Daughter” and the opening of the epic finale “Execution Tank” have some odd Country style guitar tones in them that just didn’t feel in unison with the rest to me. It’s a small nitpicky thing that just sort of rubbed me the wrong way when they appeared.
Of course, the band still has their faster and older sounding tracks like “Call Of The Hammer” but overall, this album just felt shallower and more hollow then what I have come to expect from this very talented group. Not enough vocal balance, plodding song pacing, and some odd choice elements make “Here Waits Thy Doom” 3 INCHES OF BLOOD’s most disappointing and lackluster effort yet. As a fan I find myself somewhat at a loss of words now.
Songs to check out: “Call Of The Hammer”, “Battles And Brotherhood”, “Snake Fighter”.
(Online September 26, 2009)