One’s of Canada’s most beloved metal bands, Vancouver’s 3 Inches of Blood, don’t concern themselves too much with the trends that have sprouted up in the genre in recent years. More than a decade after forming, they’re still committed to delivering the guitar-driven, traditional heavy metal that has earned them a legion of fans across North America.
“We see trends in metal come and go and some stick around longer than we thought they would. You’d be surprised by some parts of the States where there’s still nu-metal bands plugging away and getting gigs, and more so nowadays you see it’s the metalcore and deathcore stuff,” said the band’s frontman Cam Pipes. “Some of it’s good and some of it’s really not, but like any genre there’s going to be some good, some bad and the true talent will adapt and rise to the top and the imitators will just fade away.”
As the only member to appear on all five of the band’s full-length albums, including last year’s Long Live Heavy Metal, Pipes has seen 3 Inches’ lineup evolve into its current core, which has remained relatively stable in recent years.
“As far as the core of the songwriting group, that’s been the same for almost 10 years now,” said Pipes, who went on to discuss the group’s collaborative approach to songwriting.
“We all get together as a group once riffs and lyrics have been presented, we show them to each other in the rehearsal space and it goes from there with arranging it, critiquing each others stuff and figuring out how we can make things better,” he said. “It’s important how a song is arranged; the riffs are the foundation of it, but the song doesn’t ever really come together until everyone’s picked at it and had their say.”
While Pipes said he’ll always be drawn to the fantasy-based lyrics popularized by Scandinavian power metal bands of the 1980s, he’s made some adjustments recently to avoid being pigeonholed.
“Maybe in recent memory I’ve steered away from the full-on dragon battle type of thing. I like to keep with battle scenarios, but maybe at times I’ve gotten a little more modern,” he said. “It’s still escapist, it’s still fantasy at a base level, but I wouldn’t put us in the realm of some of the European power metal bands with dragons fighting knights on flaming horses.”
Pipes battle songs are sung in a high falsetto reminiscent of other heavy metal giants like Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Denmark’s King Diamond, a vocal style he discovered while singing along to records at home for fun.
“A friend mentioned the band was looking for a singer, and said they didn’t have vocals like that but sounded like they should,” said Pipes. Once the rest of 3 Inches heard Pipes’, well, pipes, they asked him to be the lead singer. “I kind of had to develop my singing style as I went along after I joined the band.”
In the last year, the band has been touring across the U.S. and Canada in support of the well-received Long Live Heavy Metal, and just wrapped up recording at Vancouver’s legendary Mushroom Studios, which has played host over the years to recording sessions for artists like Heart, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Sarah McLachlan, before closing its doors and relocating to Toronto. They plan to release a series of EPs in the coming months commemorating their session at the iconic studio.
3 Inches of Blood play Merlins Wednesday (March 27) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at Merlins, Showcase in the Village, Billabong and online at www.clubzone.com.