Sound — 9
3 Inches Of Blood have been practicing. They've always been excellent at playing tricky songs inspired by thrash and '80s British metal, but with "Long Live Heavy Metal" they have broken through to the level of Metal Gods. With their previous album "Here Waits Thy Doom" they stumbled a bit in their transition to Classic Arena Metal Masters. That album was inconsistent, which makes sense. They lost screamer Jamie Hooper and seemed to be on the fence between Maiden-esque metal and more straightforward, ballsier metal/rock. The awesomely faithful B.O.C. cover at the end signified where 3IOB would go with their next album. They have the technical skills of any symphonic/extreme metal band out there, but they use their powers for Rock. They'll dole out the insane complicated changes, riffs and fills, but all the playing serves the purpose of getting your adrenaline pumping and your head banging. Check out the intro to "4000 Torches". That is a bad ass chuggalug riff that runs into twisty techno-wizardry.
Lyrics — 7
Cam Pipes. If you're reading this review, you know what you're getting. He brings it. The lyrics are where my minor quibble with 3IOB lie. Sometimes they get too tongue-in-cheek. "Metal Woman" is the most egregious example, but that doesn't keep the song from rocking. This is a fine line. It works on "Leave It On The Ice", a rocker about hockey fights, and of course, the great "Leather Lord".
Overall Impression — 9
"Long Live Heavy Metal" Is a Metal Classic That Can Stand Alongside The Best From Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Etc. It's So Catchy, So Exquisitely Technical At Times, I Imagine The Musicians Who Inspired 3IOB Hearing This And Shaking Their Heads, Wondering How In The Hell They Do That.