Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, 3 Inches Of Blood mixes the lyrical imagery of the old guard of American Heavy Metal with NWOBHM grunt, spicing it with just the occasional touch of thrash.
In this instance, they clatter along with the gusto of K9 suffering an electric surge, their sound sitting somewhere between the ferocious onslaught of 07s 'Fire Up The Blades' and the vintage groove of 09s 'Here Waits Thy Doom'.
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Where most albums fade after a good start, 'Long Live Heavy Metal', the band's fifth, turns things arse-about-face and gets better the further in you go. The triumvirate of tracks that provide the album's opening salvo is ok but nothing spectacular.
Then with the subtle 'Chief And The Blade', a traditional styled acoustic arrangement that gives a nod to Canada's indigenous heritage, something changes that is hard to put your finger on and 'Long Live Heavy Metal' steps up a notch and the following 'Dark Messenger', the first killer track, heralds the end of the quite interlude where the album's Metal kicks back in good and proper.
With the spaghetti western groove of 'One For The Ditch' closing the proceedings, the album motors along as if the devil himself is on its tail.
Whilst 'Long Live Heavy Metal' more than lives up to its title, 3 Inches Of Blood seem to have the self confidence to allow the influences of its homeland to filter through. Long term fans should not be disappointed and for the uninitiated there are enough hooks to make it a good point of introduction.
Yet despite its occasional native flourishes, this remains an album that suggests the band would be a lot more at home on a Viking dragon ship than an Inuit kayak.
Long live Heavy Metal? Oh hell yeah!