A Battle Cry for METAL

A decent Monday night turn out greeted 3 Inches of Blood whose constant touring and hard work are beginning to show signs of paying off. The stage at Jilly's Rock World in Manchester isn't really a stage, it's more of a raised platform. It's a great nightclub and has atmosphere oozing from the walls but as a live venue it's flawed in two areas. Firstly there are two columns in the middle of the room hindering the line of view to the band for the people towards the back. Secondly the platform/stage is too low, so if you are at the back the only things you can see are the tops of the performers' heads, that's if the columns aren't in the way.

An enthused crowd didn't seem to mind however, and 'Swordmaster' was greeted with crowd surfing and moshing. Having spoken with vocalist Cam Pipes before the show, I found him to be a pleasant, down to earth guy, but put a mike in his hand, clasp a studded band on each arm and he turns in to a heavy metal beast. The falsetto screams that come out of his mouth is something to behold and such a contrast to the quietly spoken man I met a few hours earlier. If you can picture Savatage's Jon Oliva's top end and then imagine him singing like that all the time then you won't be too far from Cam's vocal style. Vocalist Jamie Hooper provided the death metal shrieks however he was very low in the mix and only a couple of lines managed to breach the wall of sound. Cam's voice has the tone to cut through the sonic assault, even hurting my ears at times with his high pitched screaming. The guitar work of Shane and Justin was tight but the intricacies of their toil were drowned out by the pounding bass drum.

They were constantly in the crowd's faces, their battle metal fury was more like a call to arms than a regular gig. The advantage 3 Inches of Blood have over many new bands is they have some great songs, 'Wykydtron', 'Destroy the Orcs' and 'Deadly Sinners' are all excellent metal anthems and are all totally sing-a-long-able, if you can get as high as Cam that is. On the down side, too many of their ideas are picked from the same song-writing tree and after half an hour they started to sound all the same. Hopefully with experience, they'll experiment with different ways to express their call to arms, however they stirred the traditional metal beast that lurks in my soul, so I guess it was a job well done. Next time the crowd should bring their own plastic broadswords and cardboard axes a la Dragonforce, that's if they can get them past the security on the door.