Inch by inch

Slowly but surely, 3 Inches of Blood play their way around the world again

3 Inches of Blood are relishing playing their new material at home and abroad.
3 Inches of Blood are relishing playing their new material at home and abroad.

There’s a pretty badass story that goes along with the naming of Vancouver-based hardcore quartet 3 Inches of Blood.

“One of our friends slammed his hand in a drawer,” guitarist Shane Clark told me, “he lost his finger and in the drawer there was three inches of blood.” Slightly grotesque? Maybe. Impressively and undeniably metal? Definitely.

Despite a high turnover rate in band members over the years, the group continues to rise to the occasion, whether it’s a cross-national tour or dealing with quitters.

“When people leave the band it’s an obstacle,” Clark said. “We’ve had a few members who’ve handled it properly, and we’ve had a couple people head out mid-tour. We’ve definitely dealt with that, just trying to rise above peoples’ bullshit.”

Although the band’s first studio album Battlecry Under a Wintersun came out in 2002, the current incarnation of 3 Inches of Blood has been playing together since 2004.

Ten years into the business and in a heavily-touring group, Clark is sympathetic to the need for some to head home.

“This is a hard way of living to stay in relationships and have a life at home,” he said. “In our band anyway because we’ve toured so much, it’s kind of detached from reality.”

The band consists of vocalist Cam Pipes, guitarist and vocalist Justin Hagberg and drummer Ash Pearson. With Clark and Hagberg writing the majority of the songs, they cite traditional metal influences in creating their own unique sound.

“We write the stuff that we love to hear, you want to write your new favourite music,” Clark said. “Everyone has a big range of personal influences. If you mash all those things up together that’s a way of summing it up.”

Their latest record Here Waits Thy Doom was released in September and gave them the opportunity to fully explore their potential, giving way to a serious and professional approach.

“The time in the studio went really smoothly. We were staying focused and not being wasted all the time,” Clark said. “I didn’t drink or anything; I wanted it to be the most focused thing I’ve ever done. In the scheme of leaving a musical legacy, I didn’t want to disappoint myself and the rest of the guys.”

A slight departure from their 2007 release Fire Up the Blades, Clark said the band reaped rewards from experimenting and refusing to settle with the new record. “We’re really happy with it, it feels really good after all the touring,” he said. “It’s a great representation of the band. Our last record was very polished in the studio but with this one what you hear on the album is what you’ll hear live, from the production to the songwriting.”

An album jam-packed with a wide variety of styles of tracks from mid-tempo to acoustic interludes followed by fast blazers, it’s evident the band was unafraid to take risks with their fourth studio offering.

“It touches on everything the band has done up until this point and the difference in metal styles we incorporate,” Clark said. “We wanted to try some new stuff. There’s some departure like songs, we tried a couple new things—we didn’t want to rip the fans off and just re-create what we’ve already accomplished.”

Opening for Ozzy Osbourne and bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest gave the group a platform to get their music heard. Taking a look at the band’s upcoming tour schedule would make anyone’s knees weak and heart skip a beat. The band will play across Canada east to west, south throughout the States followed by Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia—and that’s just a third of the countries the quartet will cover before stopping over in Holland to finish out this leg of the tour.

Though their tour schedule may seem intimidating, Clark said the band relishes touring and connecting with the fans.

“Especially when we have a new album out,” he said. “We like to play for their people.”

After touring the United States for four or five weeks, the band is finally returning to Canadian soil.

“I swear it’s always awesome to come back into Canada because you can instantly sense you’re home,” he said. “There are little things you really appreciate when you come back. There are friends in Canada, and if anything bad were to happen, we’d have health care.”

Clark discussed the excitement and anticipation the band had for the tour and the subsequent positive response thus far.

“You can tell there are people who have heard the songs before, heard the record before they saw the show. The response has been great,” he said. “After two years of playing the last record it’s so refreshing to do the new stuff, and it’s challenging to make it sound good.”

Clark said it’s easy for the band to find fuel for their high-energy performances.

“We just feed off each other, the music and having fun.”

With that attitude, 3 Inches of Blood are sure to melt faces with their metal at Time to Laugh this weekend in their second visit to Kingston.

Clark said his hopes for attendees at the gig are high.

“Hopefully they all have a sore neck from head banging and ringing in their ears,” he said. “I look at it as an escape so I hope they forget about their shitty lives for an hour, or forget about their really great lives for an hour. It works for people all across the board.”

3 Inches of Blood play Oct. 18 at Time to Laugh Comedy Club. Tickets are $12 and are available at The Jungle, Brian’s Record Option, Sunrise Records at the Cataraqui TC, Chumleighs, Destinations and at

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