3 Inches of Blood: Advance & Vanquish

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3 Inches of Blood: Advance & Vanquish
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3 Inches of Blood: Advance & Vanquish
Heavy Metal, Power Metal
Roadrunner Records
September 28th, 2004
Release length: 50:33
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Considered one of the worst ideas for a joke band, 3 Inches Of Blood managed to find their way with Roadrunner Records for their second full length album. Having a higher budget and a better production quality definitely helped this band out with their major label release Advance And Vanquish, a release that really makes people question why this band was ever regarded as a joke in the first place. This is not the first metal band to use falsetto vocals, and given the current folk metal trend, does writing about pirates make them that much less metal? If anything, this band is one of the most metal bands alive.

Advance And Vanquish takes a lot of it’s musical inspiration from modern day heavy metal acts, as well as the NWOBHM acts that really started it all. The falsetto vocals on this release are absolutely superb and very reminiscent of early Mercyful Fate. But, while some of the tracks on here take a lot from the old school sound, such as “Deadly Sinners”, “Revenge Is A Vulture” and “Crazy Nights”, tracks like “Dominion Of Deceit”, “Wykydtron” and “Crazy Nights” take more inspiration from power metal bands. But, regardless of which style the songs have inherited more from, this album is absolutely punishing. But while much of the lyrical material on this release is flat out metal, some of it just happens to be things that some metal fans enjoyed, and those fans are those who are the die hard nerds.

While this release has a lot of references to pirates, pillaging, and maniacal robots, there are references to fantasical worlds such as Lord Of The Rings and, every nerd’s favorite late night role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. While it may not be considered metal for the NWOBHM inspired metal the band plays, nearly every metal fan will have a connection to the song “Destroy The Orcs”, and may leave you chanting along as you remember clobbering them with your +1 mace back in the highschool days with Paul the Dungeon Master and world renown Dragon Slayer with his level 10 charisma. So, the question here is, where is the joke aspect?

The band has two seperate vocalists, and it’s the background vocalist that has been catching the most heat. While the main vocals are a clear falsetto singing style, the background vocals are a much harsher falsetto scream that some would consider to metalcore or melodic death for this release. While these vocals are a nice addition to the music, adding some tenacity to tracks like “Revenge Is A Vulture” and “Premonition Of Pain”, they can often be overused and, like in “Deadly Sinners” not just be background vocals. These are better used as background vocals to add a sharper edge to the falsetto singing, or right after in some instances, such as during a chorus.

But, the truth of the matter is that this band is serious, and just as metal as any band you would consider metal. Advance And Vanquish is one of the most original albums to come out in a long while, with only a few faults from the background vocalist having too much input, causing the song to just have too much going on. This throwback to the glory days of metal is one that is well needed with today’s metal society, and one you definitely will have to hear once you can put your preconceptions of who is and isn’t metal behind you.

01. Fear of the Bridge (Upon the Boiling Sea I) – 3:14
02. Deadly Sinners – 4:30
03. Revenge Is a Vulture – 3:26
04. Dominion of Deceit – 4:18
05. Premonition of Pain – 4:35
06. Lord of the Storm (Upon the Boiling Sea II) – 5:05
07. Wykydtron – 3:52
08. Swordmaster – 4:24
09. Axes of Evil – 4:28
10. Crazy Nights – 3:18
11. Destroy the Orcs – 2:21
12. The Phantom of the Crimson Cloak – 3:11
13. Isle of Eternal Despair (Upon the Boiling Sea III) – 3:51
Overall Score: 7.5/10