Friday, 8 July 2016

3 Inches of Blood Interview by Christine Leonard-Cripps

Ankle-deep in a bloody good time with 

3 Inches of Blood

Fantasy-metal sextet 3 Inches of Blood prepare to Fire Up the Blades

Whether you’re waste-deep sluicing out a clogged floor drain in a slaughterhouse or applying tiny squares of tissue to a zit inadvertently decapitated during a morning shave, blood is blood, and the red stuff always gets a reaction. The same can be said of the formidable heavy metal ensemble known as Three Inches of Blood. Riding high on the success of their latest release, Fire Up the Blades, the fast-shredding sextet has captured headlines and hearty praise for the over-the-top duelling vocals of high-ranger Cam Pipes and doom-growler Jamie Hooper, backed by Alexei Rodriguez’s punishing percussion and the crunching black metal bass riffs of Nick Cates. Moving beyond novelty act niche, Three Inches of Blood has undergone some significant lineup changes in the interest of establishing themselves as a true metal superpower. Guitarists Shane Clark and Justin Hagberg joined the band shortly after the release of the group’s 2004 album, Advance and Vanquish. According to Clark, their new material is their most extreme to date.

“For me, as an individual musician, the process of recording the new album marked the end of being stifled creatively,” he says Shane Clark. “Justin and I joined at the same time and we have been touring on the last album for two and a half years. I loved the music, but I wasn’t involved in writing it. Being on the road has made us a lot tighter as musicians and personally, too. Working on this album was a very collaborative effort, we all shared our influences, and I’m happy with the fact it came together so well. It’s fast, heavy and rockin’; kind of like Deep Purple.”

Clark says the baker’s dozen tracks that rage within Fire Up the Blades reflect an evolution in the band’s taste for fantastical imagery. Giving new meaning to the words “heavy metal,” Three Inches of Blood have raided the Viking’s armoury in search of razor-sharp steel fit to slay the giants of Jormungrund. Leaving behind the evil-yet-bloody-amusing pirates and hobbits that inspired their music in the past, they still maintain their signature combination of Pipe’s lightning-hot shrieks, and twin guitars laying down thunderous power chords.

“There has always been an element of fantasy to our songs,” he says. “Mythological themes seep into the music, and our lyrics often talk about finding inner strength and overcoming the odds. It’s very escapist in nature. The last thing we want is for people to come home from a horrible day and then have to hear about ours. We wanted to explore serious fantasy that touches on what some may call the plague on the planet that is Christianity. Some of the songs deal with demons and things from the Crusades in a hypothetical way. ‘Trial of Champions’ is about gladiators as slaves who rise up and overthrow their masters. It’s about becoming free, but it’s done in an indirect way. We just put a new twist on an old idea.”

Rising to the challenge like the champions of mayhem they are, Three Inches of Blood recently completed a full tour with Ozzfest, in which they flexed their collective muscle and exposed their new and improved chops to a rapidly growing international fan base. Known for donning horny Viking helmets and hoisting medieval weaponry of every description, Three Inches of Blood’s adherents seem to take enormous pleasure in immersing themselves in the fantastical action. Security staff be warned — it may be harder to spot a homemade double-head battle axe in a pat-down than you’d think. Damn fur-lined underwear!

“We seem to be able to appeal to a broad spectrum of fans,” Clark explains. “There are so many subgenres of death and black metal, including stuff I’ve never heard of. We have been so fortunate to have toured with so many different types of acts within the death metal realm in so many cities. Of course, things are at their craziest when we perform for audiences in Western Canada. They’re always the most intense, patriotic and steadfast. I wouldn’t put it past them to show up with a lot of weapons. We take it as a compliment when people genuinely enjoy our stuff and really get into the lyrics, whether they show up in an actual full suit of armour or just something they made out of beer cases. We love that enthusiasm. There’s no political or religious agenda here, it’s just about having fun, burning off energy and letting out your aggression.”

By Christine Leonard

3 Inches of Blood perform with Verbal Deception & Gallows Eve
Royal Canadian Legion #1  Saturday, September 29

Originally published September 27, 2007 in FastForward Magazine

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