I'm sorry to see 3 Inches of Blood announce their breakup this week. The BC (British Columbia, not Before Christ) quartet were ferocious live, and infected the NWOBNHM-inspired music with enough black metal and death metal, not to mention killer hooks, to rise above the neo-NWOBHM heap. The last time I caught them, at St. Vitus on a skull-crushingly great bill with Goatwhore, Revocation and Ramming Speed, they were easily the most traditionally metal band on the bill, but played just as brutally as their peers. I'm guessing more than a few death metalers got into Iron Maiden through 3IOB, and they probably got some old school metalheads into Behemoth as well.
"Deadly Sinners", from 2004's Advance and Vanquish, comes close to packing everything that's great about extreme metal into four and a half minutes. The lyrics are Manowar-worthy, and the vocals are clearly indebted to King Diamond, but no one I can think of had ever put it all together so smoothly until 3 Inches of Blood. This was a rare modern band that exhibited the fun of metal music without pretending there was anything shameful about being in a metal band, getting headbangers on their feet and putting a scene full of Sunn O)))s to shame. Thanks for the music, gentlemen. Best of luck with that final show, and please keep us posted on your new projects.