How much Iron Maiden do you like? This is the question you must ask yourself before listening to any 3 Inches of Blood song. Their newest album Long Live Heavy Metal is the latest in what is now a long list of releases (five albums and three EP’s in 11 years) and does its best to get fans of blistering speed to pick up their favorite pair of headphones.
The talent is still there, the speed is still there, and the vocals are still there. The band does not do a great job of selling it, however, by burying the quality tracks in the second half of the work. Opening this album with “Metal Woman” was a good and bad choice, as it both sets the tone for the next few songs and confuses fans at the same time. But these lyrics are just painful to hear when all you wanna do is hear about some orcs or headbang to a vicious solo:
“Metal Woman/Demon in the sack/Demon Woman/Ready to attack”
Click here to see if it gets any better!
The acoustic track four tracks into the album was also a curious choice, not because of its arrangement, but because it totally buries possibly the best song on the album, “Dark Messenger.” This song sees the band getting back to what fans crave: unbridled battle-waging metal. Both “Look Out” and “Leave It on the Ice” do the same thing, but for different reasons, as the band’s first foray into an allegory about hockey probably only works if you’re a fan of hockey. And I am. Subtract one star from my review if you are not.
Iron Maiden and Rush both hit a period where they were told to stop writing crazy goddamn songs. No more monsters and war songs and science fiction, because the general public wasn’t willing to put up with that nonsensical chicanery and also because it was obviously burning out the band and no longer indicative of their experiences. In both cases, both bands made changes and found ways to stay relevant. This album does not scream change, and in fact shows the band’s decision to often veer the other direction and play up their narrative even further. The guitar solos are still worth the listen, and few other vocalists, if any, have sustained the vocal strength Cam Pipes has flexed over the past decade.
The album is bogged down by a questionable track list and way-too-obvious chorus lines, but the band is not trying to win anybody over anymore. They have to understand that with such a distinct vocal style, they are one of those groups that you either hate or love and you know it the moment you hear a lyric escape Pipes’ pipes. The finale, “One for the Ditch,” shows off the true talent the men behind the instruments possess helps make the album one I would overall recommend.
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