Three Inches of Blood
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Three Inches of Blood

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The best kept secret in music

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

You've heard them ad nauseum: "Nu-metal", "Hair-metal", "Emo", "Screamo", "Post-hardcore", "Metal-core", and on, and on.

3 Inches Of Blood has arrived to tread on the bleached bones of those exhausted genres. A band to unite the tribes of mall rats, skaters, punks and bikers under one banner. Because, after years of a steady de-evolution of the founding tenets of heavy music, to today's ears, 3 Inches Of Blood's ADVANCE AND VANQUISH could not be more fresh.

Make that banner the skull and crossbones, because the Vancouver-based metal band 3 Inches of Blood write about pirates. And swords. And, for good measure, warring cyborgs from the future. But most importantly, the band write about heavy metal. The best way to describe 3 Inches of Blood is "reverential" - essentially, take everything great about heavy music before 1985, and go from there. Which means the shrieking vocal assault of Rob Halford, the epic guitars and storytelling of Iron Maiden, the pirate theme of Running Wild, and, most importantly, the lasting influence of the British New Wave of Heavy Metal. 3 Inches of Blood is a band that knows their Diamond Head from their Motorhead.

"That's definitely our biggest influence, the late 70's British stuff," says one of 3 Inches' two singers, Jamie Hooper. "And also bands that were influenced by those U.K. bands, like early Slayer, and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica." On the other hand, singer Cam Pipes asserts, "3 Inches of Blood are influenced by barley, hops, yeast, and water… and heavy metal!"

When 3 Inches originally formed in 2000 in Vancouver, British Columbia, they had no idea they would someday sign to the world's biggest metal label (Roadrunner) and tour with a platinum hard rock band (The Darkness - more on that in a minute). Jamie Hooper and company originally got together to do a one-off reunion gig for an old group of their's - however, things went so well they decided to continue under a new moniker. A five-track demo of the new band, now dubbed 3 Inches of Blood after a particularly gruesome dream of a former member, found its way over to the house of Hot Hot Heat keyboardist Steve Bays. Bays' friend, death metal vocalist Cam Pipes (and yes, Cam Pipes is his real name), was impressed with 3 Inches' old school sound. "I was asked to lay down some backup vocals on the demo EP and they liked it. Afterwards I was asked to join as a permanent member and naturally, I said 'fuck yeah!'" exclaims the aptly-named Pipes.

It worked. What could have been just a simple experiment ended up changing 3 Inches of Blood forever. "We liked him so much on the demo, we asked him to be in the band," says Hooper. Over the next two years the group became a popular local concert draw, and recorded one well-received album, BATTLECRY UNDER A WINTER SUN, in 2002. That record, full of Dungeons and Dragons fantasy imagery and lightning-quick guitar riffs, set the tone for the group. First rule of 3 Inches: metal. Second rule of 3 Inches: metal. Third rule: no angst. "My first bedtime story was Lord of the Rings, which was read to me when I was three," says Hooper. "So that influenced me a lot, and my lyrics. We just want to be a story-based, imaginative band that plays metal."

Although the group had little distribution for the record, they did share the same U.K. label as The Darkness, who at the time were on their way to becoming the UK's latest rock sensation. When 3 Inches went overseas, they hooked up with The Darkness for a UK tour. The pairing, as it turned out, could not have been more natural: both bands forsake modern, formulated music in favor of the undeniable giants of rock's past. The tour was a smash success. The Darkness fans loved 3 Inches, and Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins soon became a huge fan. So much so that on one of the tour's final nights, Hawkins asked to go on stage with 3 Inches and scream backup on their speed-metal blitzkrieg "Deadly Sinners." Unfortunately, Justin's appreciation of the track, and his own experience in upper-register anthems, where not sufficient to get him through unscathed. "By the next night, he had crazy laryngitis," says Pipes, laughing. "So we kind of feel responsible."

Since inception, this purity of vision has earned the band critical acclaim in metal and alternative circles alike. Due to this bubbling under at the press level, Roadrunner Records took notice of the group's demo, and signed the band in 2004. "We're kind of in a weird position, considering the more modern leaning line-up of that label," says Hooper. "We're nu-metal's greatest enemies, so it's a weird juxtaposition for us. But let's just say that we fit in very well with their back catalogue - Annihilator, Pestilence, King Diamond, Suffocation. We're very pleased to be a part of that."

3 Inches began work on ADVANCE AND VANQUISH early this year, determined to make it a "classic" metal album in every sense. That meant hiring a classic metal producer (N