Raining heavy metal 

3 Inches of Blood return to Whistler on Wednesday

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3 Inches of Blood have always rained praise on good ol' traditional metal. With all the subgenres that have been thrust like miserable bastards upon the music landscape, it appears that only traditional heavy metal, the kind championed by Iron Maiden, Anthrax and Judas Priest, has any sort of lasting power for the masses. It's fun and cathartic. That is arguably what metal is all about.

And so Vancouver's 3 Inches of Blood have named their new album Long Live Heavy Metal. It's the closest thing a metal band can do toward hosting a celebration for its cause.

"Every album, we've tried to convey that message that its about honest, no-f---ing-around heavy metal and I think with this one, the title is a little more of a statement," says vocalist Cam Pipes

Their song "Leather Lord" is streaming now on various sites online, and if its any indication, Long Live Heavy Metal, due out on March 27, will offer more tales of Celtic battles, ancient gods, modern day assassins and other fantastical elements customary in heavy metal culture, and of 3 Inches of Blood's body of work. Pipes says the album is of a piece with their previous work — in other words, relentlessly brutal fun.

"Each album's different and this one, I can say the same, but none of them are so unrecognizable as being us," he says.

He says they incorporated a lot of old school techniques into the songs, inspired by Turbo-era Judas Priest, where the instruments were dripping in reverb, which they wouldn't normally try. They also co-produced the album for the first time, so their hands are all over the albums sound from start to finish.

Like all their work, Long Live Heavy Metal is a direct rebuttal to all the subgenres of metal that have sprouted up over the last 20 years. Since 2000, the Vancouver-based group has been hosting its own de facto metal revival, reminding audiences that the genre isn't all doom and gloom, that its as cathartic as it ever was without the moody growling or the corpse paint.

Most of it Pipes finds ridiculous — from nu-metal to deathcore, to the so-called "thrash revival," the whole industry seems to be overrun by ham-fised whiners who seem content on cloning each other.

"In a perfect world," he says, "fashion wouldn't be a focal point in heavy metal. These bands that call themselves deathcore or whatever and they're just whiny, emo kids who can make a growly voice and that's supposed to be deathcore or fake death metal."

He adds, "But the cream always rises to the top and the masters of the genre are always still around. You just weren't paying attention."

He doesn't say it explicitly but he's talking about his own band — and fair enough. Trendy metal bands have come and gone over the past 12 years while 3 Inches of Blood have managed a steady increase in popularity, building a solid fan base all over the world. If metal's good for anything, it can certainly tie an international audience together.

They'll be playing a string of B.C. shows in February, including a stop at Garfinkel's on Wednesday, where they will flaunt a new bassist — Byron Stroud, formerly of Strapping Young Lad and Fear Factory — as well as a few new songs.

"We want to test them out and luckily, one of the songs ("Leather Lord") has already been previewed online. Hopefully there will be some familiarity, people will have heard it already so that helps a little bit," Pipes says.


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