3 Inches of Blood -- Fire Up the Blades
3 Inches of Blood are probably the only band who I've ever completely reversed my opinion on. At first, I thought they were a ridiculous joke band and I paid them no attention. But after listening to "Advance and Vanquish," I started to understand their appeal more, and before long I was banging my head and singing along. "Advance and Vanquish" is a great album, but everything that was good about it has been made 10x better and more kick-ass for "Fire Up the Blades." The riffs are heavier, the choruses are catchier, and the vocals are more refined and less over-the-top.
The album starts off with "Through the Horned Gate," an instrumental intro track with a cool riff that perhaps goes on a bit too long, but that's alright, because it's just a warm up to "Night Marauders," which starts with a riff that I would call one of the best of the year so far. "Goat Riders Horde" continues the onslaught and lets Cam Pipes (the guy who sounds like Halford) really show off, especially in the verses. The second vocalist, Jamie Hooper, shines on this album as well, but he takes a bit of a back seat to Cam on most of the songs. The great riffs keep coming on "Trial of Champions," which also boasts an awesome chorus. "Great Hall of Feasting" really threw me off at first, because it's very power-metal-ish and a little more light-hearted than most 3IoB songs, but the riff is one of the coolest on the album, so I'm not complaining.
I have to say, the first half of the album is a little stronger than the second, but overall it's an awesome metal record, and will be making its way into my year-end top 10 for sure.
"COLONEL KLINK, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?!"