When it comes to metal, the big new thing is the big old thing. Rather than go to the usual metal-core extremes, younger acts such as Vancouver's 3 Inches of Blood hark back to the '80s days of British steel, when the leather was black, the wristbands were spiked, and the guitars were multiplied for maximum firepower. On 2007's Fire Up the Blades, these brothers in Blood mate Tolkienian imagery, epitomized by titles such as "Through the Horned Gate," with highly melodic sonic aggression and vocals by Jamie Hooper, who regularly unleashes high notes capable of piercing the ozone layer. The combination has its goofy moments, but Hooper and crew are serious about this stuff — and thanks to the efforts of Joey Jordison, the Slipknot member who produced the disc, the album is heavy enough to keep nü-generation metalheads happy, too. Although 3 Inches of Blood, joined on this pre-Ozzfest bill by Hatebreed and Behemoth, draws from more mature sources, it hardly requires a transfusion.
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