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Concert Review: 3 Inches of Blood and the Black Dahlia Murder

Hate Eternal, 3 Inches of Blood, and the Black Dahlia Murder

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale

Better Than:Oh, making offerings to false metal gods?

The Review:It's always a reassuring sign when, after driving almost an hour in torrential rain, one is greeted at a venue's entrance by security guards waving metal detectors. (Hey, they were absent from this very same venue when I came to watch indie acts Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV a couple of weeks ago!) Still, this hardly seemed like a stabby crowd -- who has time to cut a bitch when there is major air riffage to be played?

Thanks to the torrential downpour, I missed opening act Hate Eternal. Further, Decrepit Birth didn't make it at all, so soon after I arrived it was already time for 3 Inches of Blood, hailing from Vancouver. By now, the inside of Culture Room was a morass. For the rest of the evening, my eyes would continuously water, thanks to an acrid atmosphere pungent with weed smoke, sweat, damp denim, and dirty hair, all boiling at a temperature befitting Dante. The male pheromones were almost tangible as the band took the stage.


And it was as if an "on" switch was flipped at the sound of the first note. The entire main floor of the venue instantly transformed into a circle pit, egged on by the screeching falsetto of vocalist Cam Pipes. And it was also as though we had stepped into a transporter to the past, set at warp speed metal. 3IOB are burly and hairy, rocking faded denim with the best of them. Their stage presence is commanding, and their sound is unrelenting, spewed forth at breakneck speed, while still clutching at strands of melody.

While Pipes flung his forearms for emphasis, bassist Nick Cates jabbed his pointer finger vehemently, and, when really overcome, broke into that claw-hands, angry-at-the-sky metal stance. The crowd ate it up -- and regardless of the music, 3IOB, live, is a wildly entertaining spectactle that only a complete killjoy couldn't appreciate.

After a brief intermission during which most of the audience tried to gasp for fresh air on the club's half-flooded patio, it was time for the Black Dahlia Murder. The quartet was less costumey than its predecessors -- literally, for by the first song, vocalist Trevor Strnad was alreayd naked from the waist up, glistening under the bright, flashing stage lights. Skinny male bodies instantly went flying, and would continue to catapult towards the stage for the duration of the show. (I have never seen Culture Room's onstage security guards look so happy. Their smirks were barely plugged by their cigarettes as they gleefully tossed strays back into the crowd.)

Strnad possess an impressive ability to quickly switch from a bellow growl to a throaty yell without faltering. Too bad, then, as is often the case at this venue, that his vocals were too much buried in the instrument mix. The loud rhythm section, however, effectively created an appropriate air of menace. And Strnad made up for technical shortcomings with pure frontman brawn, his "heartburn" stomach tattoo rippling in time with his pumped fists. Yes, there was much testosterone released Wednesday night, and it was good. -- Arielle Castillo

Personal Bias: I love heavy shows, because regardless of whatever happens onstage, I will doubtless catch some awesome air band action in the crowd.

Random Detail: 3IOB's got a bit of a crossover following from the hardcore scene, evidenced here in the crowd by a few straightedge T-shirts, a Coalesce hoodie, and so on.

By The Way: To the drunk girl who fought with the bathroom attendant over, possibly, paper towels: It goes without saying that resorting to racial slurs makes you, your friends, and even your entire scene look ignorant and low-class. I'm not sure why you were screaming about your multiple children, but I can only hope that for the sake of humanity, they somehow do not inherit your major rage issues.

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo