Sound — 7
Say Iron Maiden had never started out in 1976. Say the history of music would've been just as we know it, minus Maiden and their enormous influence. Say they'd surfaced in the 21st century, with a modern sound and their name had been 3 Inches of Blood. The comparison is not all that farfetched, if you play with the idea. 3 Inches Of Blood borrow heavily from the classic late '70s/'80s metal scene, both lyrically and musically. Of course, they mix in some modern touches, such as an up-to-date production and some Gothenburg-breakdowns, but the sound is distinctively classic heavy metal, wrapped in a 2007 package. In terms of sonic production, it's about the industry standard for a fairly major new metal act.
Lyrics — 6
This is probably one of the key areas when it comes to if you like 3IOB or not. Some people see the lyrics for what they are, in areas they absolutely reek of cheese (swords, blades, battle, bloodthey're used more times than I can remember), but if you want to play the clever card you can relate quite a few of the lyrics to modern day events. It's not all hail and kill, but it's not exactly Shakespeare (in the sense that they reinvent the language). If you can see the lyrics for what they are, being incredibly tongue-in-cheek and written to fit the mood and the music, then you can enjoy this. If you're allergic to swords, battles, blood, goatriders and similar, you might as well stop reading this now.
Overall Impression — 6
For a long-time Maiden fan like myself, this leaves me with a smile on my face. I can't help but get huge Iron Maiden circa 1981 vibes from some of the tracks and sections. "Trial of Champions" for example sends me right back to Iron Maiden's 1981 effort "Killers" and the track "Twilight Zone". It is close enough to give that vibe, but it's not a rip-off. The guys just have managed to lock into that old school metal vibe without coming across as overly cheesy, trying to recreate the past or some half-assed Maiden/Priest tribute. It's quite enjoyable, even though they're exactly pulling a Meshuggah and rewriting the Book of Metal. If you can stomach your metal not being 100% serious, gloomy and "Listen to us, we're so angry because everything is f**ked up", then you can probably like this.