Ozzfest’s four hottest bands are playing an off-date show at the Agora Theater on Tuesday, August 13. The diverse bill brings together the kind of groups that wouldn’t have been caught dead together 10 years ago, and they’ll be raging for an audience ranging from kids in hoodies to longhaired metal lifers. The headliners are Pantera emulators Lamb of God and metalcore kings Hatebreed. C-notes scored last-minute interviews with the two opening bands, 3 Inches of Blood and Behemoth.
On the new Fire Up the Blades LP, power-metal revivalists 3 Inches of Blood have distilled all the most devastating skill moves from the last 30 years of metal, combining high-pitched hellion vocals, twin guitar harmonies, and beat-you-silly drum-bashing. Guitarist Shane Clark weighed in on the enduring power of metal. Click “more” for the full interview.
Scene: What does this tour’s lineup say about the state of metal in 2007?
Clark: The old saying goes that real, true, honest-to-God metal is an underground phenomenon. I mean, we’re playing with some really big bands on this tour, but they definitely have their roots attached. Metal is a very diverse thing - it’s like art or painting. You can have a band like us playing traditional metal or thrash metal, but then everyone can find something they like.
Is metal back for good? Did it ever really go away in the first place?
It didn’t ever go away for me. It comes in and out of the spotlight here and there, in the mainstream media, but metal is just as powerful as it’s always been. There’s always an underground metal scene everywhere you go, whether it’s big or it’s small. Metal is everywhere. It’s the kind of stuff people live for.
You joined the band in 2004, after the Advance and Vanquish album, but before the tour. How do you think this album is different?
[Fellow new guitarist] Justin [Hagberg] and I were in a really good position to do some creative stuff. I have my own personal metal shit that I want to hear and want to play. It’s a little more aggressive, a little more riff-oriented on this album. We didn’t want to do Advance and Vanquish part two. Those guys had their own style of chord progression, but we didn’t want to sound like those guys. It gets a little more aggressive with some blast beats, but then we back it up into UFO-Deep Purple territory. We wanted to bring a few more peaks and valleys. I think a lot of the European power metal fans might not like this one. I think it’s a little more on the thrashy side of power metal.
The last album had some cheesy musical touches, like the high-pitched vocals on [breakthrough single] “Deadly Sinners,” and it wasn’t always clear whether the band was being serious or ironic. And when you toured with [hair-rock revivalists] the Darkness, a lot of people got the idea that you were kidding around. How are people reacting to this album?
In the last 15 or 20 years of metal, the higher-register vocals throw people off immediately. Like, people either like Rush or they hate Rush because of the vocals. But if people are skeptical of our sincerity, I think if they’d check out a show, they’d know that we’re just really into what we’re doing.
Does [singer] Cam Pipes practice a lot to be able to pull off those ripper vocals?
I don’t know how he does it. For a dude that smokes whiskey and drinks cigarettes, he’s got a lot of range. He hasn’t had any formal training. He sang in a death metal band years ago. He drinks beer and plays videogames and smokes ciggies all day. -- D.X. FerrisStay tuned for an online exclusive with Behemoth frontman Nergal.