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3 Inches Of Blood: Yes, We Do Play Dungeons And Dragons!

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Band Photo: 3 Inches Of Blood (?)

With swords held high and shields in position, 3 Inches of Blood have been waging a valiant battle against — well, anyone who doesn't have a soft spot for mythical beasts and medieval warfare. And, for the most part, their holy war has been a great success.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, power/classic-metallers' 2002 debut, Battlecry Under a Winter Sun, earned them a deal with Roadrunner, through which they issued their second disc, 2004's well-received Advance and Vanquish. And the band has wowed crowds on tour slots opening for Iron Maiden, Cradle of Filth and others. This summer, 3 Inches of Blood will play Ozzfest's second stage around the time they release their third disc, Fire Up the Blades, June 26.

Of course, there have been casualties along the way. Original drummer Geoff Trawick and his brother, bassist Rick, left the band in 2004, leaving 3 Inches scrambling to find last-minute replacements before recording Advance and Vanquish. Then, shortly after releasing the LP, guitarists Sunny Dhak and Bobby Froese quit the band and were replaced by Justin Hagberg and Shane Clark. After that, drummer Matt Wood quit in July 2005 because of personal and professional differences.

"War is never easy, but sometimes reinforcements are a necessity to make you stronger," singer Jamie Hooper shrugged. "I'm sure those guys think they're better off where they are, but we're definitely in a better place now, too. The new guys are more into what we're doing and they're better players, so there are skills there that weren't before. And with [newcomer] Alexei [Rodriguez] on the drums, we're able to play faster than ever."

The improvements are evident on Fire Up the Blades. Like its predecessor, the album is rooted in charging rhythms; thick, crunchy riffs that sound like a cross between Hammerfall and Judas Priest; and the shrill-yowl-meets-guttural-growl of dueling singers Hooper and Cam Pipes. But this time, the playing is sharper, the arrangements more multifaceted and the hooks more deeply embedded.

3 Inches of Blood started writing songs for the new album last fall at a house they rented in Tacoma, Washington. "We wanted to get away from Vancouver so we wouldn't be distracted by our drunken friends," Hooper said. "So we spent a few months there jamming eight hours a day and drinking even more than we would have back home."

The band entered Vancouver's the Armory and Mushroom Studios in October and spent two months tracking with producer and Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison. The oft-masked barbarian took a few turns at the drum kit and even recorded a few background chants.

"We were so stoked to find out he was a fan of our band," Hooper said. "We met him when we were on tour with Satyricon and he was playing drums with them. And that's where we really got to know him. He's an amazing producer and an even better beer drinker."

Amazingly, the partying didn't impair the band's timing or ability to groove. And, while 3 Inches of Blood have been known to argue with past members on previous occasions, this time they got along in the studio like frat brothers at a strip club. "The songs were so exciting and fun to record," Hooper said. "Nothing had to be forced and everything came out so easily."

As much fun as 3 Inches of Blood have when they're recording, they're pretty serious about the final musical results and redo anything they're the least bit unsatisfied with. The same can't be said for their lyrics, which are goofy as hell and inspired mostly by fantasy, horror and science fiction.

"We try to keep reality out of the lyrics as much as possible," Hooper said. "I like the idea of music being escapist fiction. I hate writing songs about how sh---y your day was or how sh---y the world is. Yeah, let's all get bummed out and cry. F--- that. I'd rather go off into a dream world. And, yes, we do play Dungeons & Dragons, and we're not ashamed to admit it."

Source: MTV News

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