Tracklist1. Through the Horned Gate
2. Night Marauders
3. The Goatriders Horde
4. Trial of Champions
5. God of the Cold White Silence
6. Forest King
7. Demon's Blade
8. The Great Hall of Feasting
9. Infinite Legions
10. Assassins of the Light
11. Black Spire
12. The Hydra's Teeth
13. Rejoice in the Fire of Man's Demise
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The jury is still out regarding whether or not 3 Inches of Blood is fronted by an Orc. If this is the case then it is quite reassuring to know that this particular Orc has given up its day job terrorizing Middle Earth (or outer space if you are an avid Warhammer 40K enthusiast) and traded it in for the swanky confines of the music industry. Those familiar with this band's previous work will probably understand the reference and it’s safe to say that 3 Inches of Blood has raised the bar both musically and thematically on their latest Roadrunner effort Fire Up The Blades. Brandishing a barrage of blistering guitar solos, galloping guitar chords and high pitched King Diamond-esque vocal work, this record is not only a great distraction from the floundering metalcore scene but a worthy gateway into a genre of metal that has fallen somewhat under the radar.
Sounding more like an homage to 80’s speed metal rather than one of their chode-rock label mates, 3 Inches of Blood has crafted quite a barnburner of a record. The noticeable production improvements courtesy of Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Hatebreed) and fabled Slipknot percussionist Joey Jordison really help separate this album from its predecessors. As a result, the music sounds more mature this time around and much more menacing with the already furious guitar licks packed so copiously into the record providing the framework. Metal fans not familiar with the 3 Inches Of Blood back catalog might be turned off by the vocals on this thing, as they sound more like a sample taken from one of the bird attacks in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, however those can who appreciate and embrace their outlandish nature will be in for a real treat.
From a musical standpoint, Fire Up The Blades draws a lot of comparisons to riding coach on a Southwest Airlines flight but instead of being stuffed full of unpleasant, sweaty, disgusting people, it’s packed with countless moments that could provide adequate material for your next drunken air guitar competition. The band went so out of control with guitar shreddery and frantic chord chugging, that pointing out one specific instance of brilliance that trumps everything else is quite impossible for this whole record stands on its own from start to finish.
3 Inches of Blood won’t win any awards for being the most groundbreaking act to grace the planet, but the fun factor involved with the style of music they play more than makes up for any minor shortcomings in the originality department. I've read comparisons to this band ranging from Overkill to Judas Priest, but I'll let you guys make that decision yourselves. Fans of 80’s British metal and speed metal would be wise to check this out though, as well as anybody who gets hard or wet in the pants as a result of medieval themed lyrics.