By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Refreshingly retro, this Canadian sextet makes old-school metal that should thrill those mining their (foggy) teen years for memories of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Vocalist Jamie Hooper is a shrieker of the highest order, but he does maintain a semblance of comprehensibility that sets him apart from many in the genre. Dual guitarists Sunny Dhak and Bobby Froese love those galloping riffs lifted straight from "Run to the Hills" but update the proceedings with a modern, sonic sheen.
Fire Up the Blades is the band's third effort, and it reconstructs '80s metal even more precisely than previous efforts. Produced by Slipknot's Joey Jordison, songs such as "The Sentinel," "Night Marauders" and "Demon's Blade" may continue metal's silly preoccupation with images of war and the occult, but they do rock with conviction and unassailable power.
From "Through the Horned Gate" to "Rejoice in the Fires of Man's Demise," the 13 cuts contained on Blades thrash with gleeful abandon, showing a band with an honest appreciation of metal's past as well as a hint of humor amidst the cacophony.
All Three Inches of Blood really need now is their own mascot, some demonic puppet to add to the sideshow atmosphere.