3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish (Cover Artwork)

3 Inches of Blood

Advance and Vanquish (2004)


There's probably no way that you can be indifferent to a band like 3 Inches of Blood. Their over-the-top, modern-day Manowar style usually polarizes people into those who worship it, and those who despise it. Generalizations can be harsh, but I think it's safe to say that if you don't like 3 Inches of Blood, then you don't like fun. Because that's exactly what Advance and Vanquish is: A big load of fun.

The first thing about 3 Inches of Blood that jumps out is obviously the vocals, most notably those of Cam Pipes. His high-pitched, wailing vibrato of a voice might seem ridiculous at first, but it proves to be quite a weapon. There's no arguing that Pipes can't sing. When he hits the highest of high notes, it's as if the gods of metal are smiling down upon him. Nicely complimenting Pipes' vocals is Jamie Hooper's straight-forward but powerful screams.

With all the warrior imagery and outrageous vocals, 3 Inches of Blood could easily be a disaster, but the strong musicianship throughout Advance and Vanquish holds everything together. Every single track is built on great guitar riffs and rock-solid rhythm. Somehow, they make power metal songs into a format that's even catchier than an Ashlee Simpson song. You might find a lot of this getting mercilessly stuck in your head, and you'll love every second of it.

Advance and Vanquish does have one flaw: Its length. 13 tracks at 50 minutes does get a bit tiring, especially when it's pretty much the same sound the entire time. After about 9 or 10 tracks, the album has pretty much done all it can do, and then it goes on for a few more tracks. 3 Inches of Blood's lack of musical variation definitely has something to do with this, but that lack of variation is probably something they're proud of. I'm sure they see no reason to deviate from a formula that works so well.

If it really seems necessary to talk shit on 3 Inches of Blood, then knock yourself out. I doubt they even care. It's obvious that these are just young dudes who love to play metal the old-fashioned way, with no fancy breakdowns or modern tricks thrown in. They're metal purists, which is something you don't get a lot of these days. So if you're feeling down and you need to become a mighty warrior in a hurry, then Advance and Vanquish is the perfect soundtrack to your battle.