Sound: If you've missed vocalists like Rob Halford or King Diamond ruling the metal scene, then the appearance of 3 Inches of Blood was certainly a welcome addition to the music world. Vocalist Cam Pipes is a throwback to another era, and his falsetto-styled cry is fairly courageous considering that the Scott Weiland-style of singing has been popular since the 1990's. That being said, if you spent any time in the 1980's, you're likely to find more than a few likeable qualities to 3 Inches of Blood's latest record Here Waits Thy Doom. The record is the first to put most of the focus on Pipes' vocals, and the guttural screams of Jamie Hooper (who is apparently on hiatus for medical reasons) have been set on the backburner. The resulting sound is more vintage (if the 80's can be considered such a term) than ever.
While it is certainly Pipes' vocals that garner the most attention at first, the guitar team of Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark are just as essential in creating the traditional metal sound. The Iron Maiden and Judas Priest links are always present just from the very nature of the dual guitar work, but Hagberg and Clark deserve such lofty comparisons. In pretty much every single track on Here Waits Thy Doom, you'll hear at least one section that boasts impressive guitar harmonization. Fierce Defender is a standout in this area, particularly because it does have a similar structure to Maiden's classic The Trooper.
Although the reason behind the lack of screams has more to do with the fact that Hooper was left physically unable to perform such a duty without injuring his vocal chords, the band actually works better without them. Yes, it might be going against any hardcore vibe they're striving for, but the concept behind 3 Inches of Blood works much better if they stick to the classic metal sound. Some might claim this makes the band obsolete, but the addition of screams would not have added much to the 11 new tracks.
Highlights include the blues-driven riff work of Rock In Hell and Preacher's Daughter, with the latter featuring a juicy wah-fueled solo and big sing-along in the final moments. Most of the tracks do follow a pretty standard blues/rock format, but All Of Them Witches veers from the formula with its more solemn, creepy approach. As one of the longer tracks, you could also consider that particular song an epic number. It should also be mentioned that 1234 is a completely instrumental number revolving around the beautiful classical acoustic work of Hagberg and Clark. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrical content doesn't necessarily exemplify thinking outside of the box, and for many people it may be a little cheesy. Between the talk of heresy and burning people at the stake in All Of Them Witches and the age-old battle themes in Fierce Defender (Find the courage to last another day; So all of us will stay alive), the topics may be slightly over the top. If you look at the individuals that inspired 3 Inches of Blood (i.e., Judas Priest and Iron Maiden), then taking this lyrical path makes perfect sense. // 7
Overall Impression: If you're a child of the 1980's, 3 Inches of Blood's Here Waits Thy Doom will likely be embraced. Without the inclusion of screams, the band is closer than ever to sounding like the metal giants. There isn't necessarily any particular track that can match the legendary status of a song like Run To The Hills, but 3 Inches of Blood delivers the goods in terms of classic metal vocals and guitar work. If you can appreciate a good harmony and generally like the rock genre, Here Waits Thy Doom will be an enjoyable listen. // 8