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3 Inches of Blood Live Review
with Dearest Azazel, and Western Lands @ Cell Block in Mobile, AL
by Progprince


Hello, all! I tell you what...it sure is nice that my ears have settled down from all that ringing they were doing last night after the show. My audio pieces were thoroughly raped and tortured with metallic devices of every device, starting with a little band named Dearest Azazel. Interestingly enough, I found that I could actually hear the singing a little better if I lightly plugged my ears with my fingers, though I imagined some scenario where band members would think I was being rude.

Before I go any further, I must explain why Bad Wizard and Early Man were not at the show. Yes, unfortunately, they had to cancel because both of their vans broke down in some cruel twist of fate. Perhaps it was a negative karmic result of displeasing the metal gods in some way, but at any length, there was a relief bucket set up on a table somewhere to get the boys back on their feet.

On to the first act--before this band even went on stage (before I even knew they were a band and that they were going to open the show), I caught a glimpse of whom I would soon get to know as the lead singer and my first thought was 'Man, this guy looks like Alexi Laiho from CoB'. Upon talking to one of the band members, however, I determined that the band's style would be far from the crazy Finns. Actually, they term themselves as 'dance metal' and what a fitting moniker that is. Imagine The Cure smashed with Iron Maiden and a general 80s aesthetic and you have a combo that just blew my mind. The keyboardist was laying on the heavy synths from the get-go, the guitarist was working the axe way up front, the drummer was bringing the new wave beats, and the almost-androgynous singer was performing with the confidence of a national act. What's more, they plunged through a ripping cover of Judas Priest's immortal classic "You've Got Another Thing Coming", which had people pumping fists more with surprise than a veneratory worship.

Next was something I deemed very odd, and that's only because the sequence of the whole thing. Well, 3 Inches of Blood were on stage next and I had caught wind that a third act, Western Lands, was going to be next. So, anyway, we had a headliner sandwich, and boy was it scrumptious. I had not been very familiar with 3iob outside of reading some reviews and listening to samples on their site, so it was a treat to hear their full songs in action. On stage, the energy was overwhelming, what with the mouthpiece wearing these Dimmu-Borgirish studded leather wristcuffs and wailing like some kind of unholy spawn of Bruce Dickinson and King Diamond. Credit goes to other band members too, such as one of the guitarists (I'm not really sure who plays what) who contributed a metalcore backing scream (on a footnote, this guy was the most unmetal-looking guy in the band, save for the black metal T-shirt he was wearing. Imagine some cover model for GQ with glasses); and what I take to be the bassist, who was wearing a Napalm Death shirt.

The band's stage persona was so convincing it's almost as if they ceased to be human beings anymore and instead morphed into characters from Lord of the Rings, such as orcs (though that wouldn't make sense since they sing about killing orcs). You can bet there was a mini-moshpit in no time and right now I'm left wishing there was more room to do it in because I got pushed back to the forefront of the audience by some buzzkill ne'er-do-well who was content not to show any emotion for music at all. With that, I retreated to the back in irritation, but came back in enough time to hear the closer "Deadly Sinners", the ditty my friend and I had premeditated our fist-pumping falsetto antics for. Can we say 'incredible'? Wow, 3iob really brought the goods. It was almost like seeing Maiden or BG or some other great in concert.

As can be expected, when 3 Inches of Blood were done with their set, the venue really died down a lot. The population of the place was probably cut down by more than half, and it was quite a wait for the next act, Western Lands, to play. It almost seemed as if some scheduling conflict prevented them from playing in the middle, as if 3iob really really needed to do their thing and start packing up. Who knows? So, after a while, WL took the stage and instead of being some exciting headliner, they were more like some casual way to fade away into the night. Their style can best be described as some whirling dervish of dissonant guitars shifting rhythms almost constantly, but not really appearing all too technical. One of the guitarists uttered some bizarre quote before the show started, and then got to work unleashing their downtuned instrumental fury. The way the band moved onstage reminded me of Converge, but to find band comparisons for them is a real chore. When they slowed down and brought the melody out, there was a definite ISIS feel; however, most of the time I couldn't really pin down a good point of reference. Eh, my sentiments are a little divided on Western Lands...much of the time they just sounded like incoherent noise, but I could tell something more was at work later on. I just wish that more bands valued putting beauty into their songwriting nowadays. There's too much emphasis on cathartic release and masochism.

So, in conclusion, this was definitely a kick-ass event and if you missed it, you now officially suck. Mobile is definitely on a roll and somehow the validity of the website 'mobilesucks.net' in now under question. Did I mention that Gwar and Horse the Band will be at the same venue next week? 


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Posted by Anuj:
Great review! Too bad about Early MAn, I found them to be quite the enjoyable live act.


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