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Bathe in 3 Inches of Blood 

Vancouver’s dungeon metallers are so dark they can kill your comic book enemies.

"When I started playing music, the ambition was always to do it for a living---it's still something I want to be doing," says Cam Pipes. Over the phone from a pitstop in Wawa, Ontario, the 3 Inches of Blood singer comes off as a pretty serious customer. Not stern, not mean---just serious. It may seem incongruous the singer for a band that once released a single called "Destroy the Orcs" would boast such a studious countenance, but 3 Inches of Blood, through nearly 11 years of existence, have proven that when it comes to heavy metal, they're lifers.

After "Deadly Sinners," from 2004's Advance and Vanquish, propelled the band to new heights of popularity, years of flux followed. The band was let go from its contract with Roadrunner Records at the end of 2008 and found a happier home at Century Media Records last May. They've also endured their fair share of trials over the past few years, including multiple lineup changes and the death of former bassist Brian Redman last September. Most dramatically, Pipe's shrieking counterpart, vocalist Jamie Hooper, was forced to gradually withdraw from the band after his voice developed irreparable damage in the summer of 2007.

"He took time off and never really got better," Pipes remembers. "He said, 'I'm not going to hold you guys back,' and bowed out instead. I think him being a throaty singer did the most damage. I used to sing in a death metal band, and that's pretty strenuous. There's right and wrong ways to do that stuff."

The band continued to press forward with Pipes assuming lead vocals and guitarist Justin Hagberg singing the screaming parts that had previously been done by Hooper. The band's fourth and most recent album, Here Waits Thy Doom, is an assured effort in Hooper's absence. Pipes' raspy falsetto stands as a natural presence on its own; overall the album hearkens to a more classic approach than previous efforts---less metal-core and more Maiden.

In mid-May the band will embark on another new experiment: Two of its shows in its Vancouver hometown will be filmed for a live DVD. Considering the magnetism of the band's live presence---you try looking away from four intimidating, heavily bearded men playing songs about forest battles and hydras---it's surprising that it's taken them this long to release a DVD. Pipes says it was simply a matter of schedule and timing.

"We've been such a busy band for the past five years or so, and we've always had video cameras around," he says. "We wanted to do something in our hometown." The shows will be held at the Rickshaw Theatre, a new venue in downtown Vancouver. Pipes says it makes more sense to play an atmospheric place like the Rickshaw than say, the Commodore. "It's a different venue, a different vibe, and it's in a crappy part of downtown," he says. "Some of the guys work there when we're not touring. It just seemed like a natural fit."

The band has also left its unique impression on another medium: The Punisher. Artist/writer Rick Remender wove the band into an issue last summer when Frank Castle killed a foe by flooding his ears with the band's music, taking him down with "the dark powers of dungeon metal." Remender went on to design one of the band's t-shirts. "I still have a copy of Punisher #2," says Pipes. "It's like the only comic I still have. We thought it was pretty cool."

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