Thursday, 24 December 2009

CD Review: Here Waits Thy Doom, by 3 Inches of Blood (2009)

Here Waits Thy Doom is an album that walks a tight rope between brilliance and parody. For the most part, it succeeds in delivering excellent heavy metal, but on occasion is does descend into simplistic and cringe-inducing fist pumping passages that undermine credibility.

The third album from Canada's 3 Inches of Blood, a band that appears to have a rapidly revolving door membership policy, appears to answer the eternal question: what would the love child of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest sound like? Here Waits Thy Doom is filled with Maidenesque guitar majesty coupled with wailing high-pitched vocals from the appropriately named Cam Pipes that channel Rob Halford at his peak. The impact is jarring at first, but once the shock subsides, the results can be brilliant.

On two tracks in particular, 3 Inches of Blood nail the essence of traditional power heavy metal. Opener Battles and Brotherhood wastes no time in establishing the band's intent to deliver fast, controlled, simple melodies pinned by massively crunchy chords. If nothing else, Here Waits Thy Doom revives the sheer joy of producing monstrous guitar chords backed by as many watts as a stack of amps can produce before tumbling down the mountain of metal.

An even better track is All of Them Witches, which makes a strong case for best heavy metal song of 2009. After opening with a brilliant almost two minute long intro that is one of the best ever salutes to Maiden, All of Them Witches soars into epic territory featuring a grand melody coloured by dueling guitars, controlled vocals and a long instrumental section that both varies and enhances the vibe of the song.

Rock In Hell is a straightforward metal anthem that works well, and Execution Tank is a rousing album closer. The rest of the tracks are a mix of the solid and the forgettable, with the band drifting into filler territory on tracks like Snake Fighter and At the Foot of the Great Glacier (as mentioned, that this is a Canadian band, hence the glacier references).

For a collection of four individuals recording together for the first time, the compositions are tight and professional, and the band sounds like they've been together for years. This is an unconventional and multi-talented group, with Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark sharing lead and bass duties, and Hagberg also contributing the rougher growly vocals and keyboards. Credit to veteran heavy metal producer Jack Endino, who has a long history including recordings with Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Bruce Dickinson, for producing, mixing and recording the album, and bringing out the best of the band.

The album artwork confirms that this is a band that appreciates the history of the genre, with the shadowy figure evoking no less than Black Sabbath's classic first ever heavy metal album cover.


Cam Pipes - Vocals
Justin Hagberg - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Shane Clark - Guitar, Bass
Ash Pearson - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of10):

1. Battles and Brotherhood - 10
2. Rock in Hell - 9
3. Silent Killer - 8
4. Fierce Defender - 7
5. Preacher's Daughter - 7
6. Call of the Hammer - 7
7. Snake Fighter - 6
8. At the Foot of the Great Glacier - 6
9. All of Them Witches - 10
10. 12:34 - n/a (short instrumental)
11. Execution Tank - 9

Average: 7.90

Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Jack Endino.
Mastered by Alan Douches.

Here Awaits Thy Doom at the Ace Black Store.
The Ace Black Blog CD Review No. 63.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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