3 INCHES OF BLOOD is a known quantity in the world of metal, but I'm not sure the Canadians always get the attention they deserve from all corners of the traditional heavy metal community. Perhaps it is the purists that haven't invested any time in the band's four albums for juvenile reasons that include 3 INCHES OF BLOOD's place on the roster of a high-profile label like Century Media and all the marketing power that comes with it. Maybe that makes 3 INCHES OF BLOOD suspect in the eyes of those suspicious of anything not firmly wrapped in the comforter of underground credibility, perceived or otherwise. Cast such illogical notions aside and wrap yourself up in the true blue, indisputably credible blanket that is "Long Live Heavy Metal".
With a title befitting the spirit of the music involved and a direct connection to the Gods of Classic Metal (JUDAS PRIEST, et al), "Long Live Heavy Metal" is filled to the brim with white hot riffs, scorching solos, and fist-pumping choruses that recall a bygone era given new life by bands like 3 INCHES OF BLOOD in the 21st Century. Led by the throaty wail of veteran Cam Pipes, much of the album is defined by songs that are immediate in impact, yet bolstered with just the right amount of compositional depth. Some are more straight forward, such as "Metal Woman", the rather PRIEST-like "Leather Lord", and body-checking hockey anthem "Leave it on the Ice", none of which smack of the lukewarm treatments given by the retro imitators. Others songs like "Die for Gold (Upon the Boiling Sea VI)", "Dark Messenger", and "4000 Torches" are a tad broader in reach though undeniable in their metallic forcefulness. The seven-and-a-half-minute "Men of Fortune" is the album's epic piece, one with quieter sections and the grand elements of power metal. In some respects more surprising, albeit in a more direct metal context, the boogie-riffed "Look Out" benefits enormously from the incorporation of terrific organ playing straight out of the DEEP PURPLE Playbook of the Jammed. A couple of acoustic instrumentals, "Chief and the Blade" (complete with flute melody) and the folk-infused "One for the Ditch" resemble nothing even close to filler material. The seamlessness of flow of "Long Live Heavy Metal" from beginning to end becomes even more apparent with additional spins, which speaks to the obvious thought that went into writing/recording the album.
Overall, "Long Live Heavy Metal" sounds like an album made by a group that is confident in its considerable playing abilities, grounded in the heavy metal fundamentals, and skillful in its interpretation of its influences. 3 INCHES OF BLOOD has earned its placed among the respected traditionalists and deserves the attention of those seeking nothing more than a quality example of proper heavy metal.