I feel like Music Monday should have its own jaunty jingle. I’m not saying I should attempt to come up with one, because it would be horrible and probably cause bleeding out of the ears, but someone should really get on that. Anyway, for today (in this adapted meme created by Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek) I am going to pick an album to go with The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier, published by Angry Robot.
This review contains an affiliate link to Bookshop.org, which will earn me a commission if used, and will help to support independent bookshops.
If you’re a regular reader, you might well remember my review of this book from a couple of weeks ago. It’s fair to say that I was quite the fan of The Phlebotomist. The debut novel from artist Chris Panatier (he drew the cover art too, because yeah, he’s one of those disgustingly talented people), it features an elderly main character – the utterly fantastic Willa – fighting back against the system in a dystopian world driven by the economics of blood. Society is divided based on the desirability of your blood type, the random chance of biology’s lottery determining everything in your life. When Willa accidentally uncovers a secret at the heart of the organisation she works for, it throws her neatly ordered world into chaos, and she’ll need to rely on her wits, compassion and resourcefulness if she’s going to stand any chance of getting through the situation unscathed.
What album do I pair with this then? Something about rebellion perhaps? Maybe one of the many albums out there that deal with dystopias?
Nope, this one, because the band’s name has the word blood in it.
I’m only half serious here, there’s actually slightly more reason to it than that. Many reviewers have been quick to point out just how much fun The Phlebotomist is, and they’re right to. It whips along at a fair old pace, with villains that are memorable and wickedly scheming. The heroine wears a pink wig and there’s tons of other fun (yet crucially, believable) characters elsewhere. And damn, if 3 Inches of Blood don’t just literally scream fun. At glass shattering pitch, no less.
Like many other fans of the band, my first experience of them was the song Deadly Sinners, which is actually on the album prior to this one, 2004’s Advance and Vanquish. While that album is pretty damn good (in fact if I’m being honest, they don’t really have a bad album), Fire Up the Blades is their best release.
Produced by none other than Slipknot’s Joey Jordison, the album was a tighter, deadlier sounding offering than anything the band had done previously, yet still saw them with tongues firmly lodged in cheeks. They’d always taken their cues from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), but this was the sound of the band sharpening their axes and going in for the kill.
3 Inches of Blood faced multiple lineup changes, and lost founding vocalist Jamie Hooper shortly after this album was released. They carried on regardless, the distinctive vocals of Cam Pipes still marking them out as one to watch (which I was lucky enough to do – they were brilliant). Sadly, the band lost their patience with the music industry in 2015, announcing two farewell shows in their native Canada before calling it quits. Doubtless there are plenty who miss them, and who knows, maybe this beer drenched, battle jacket wearing beast can rise again. That’s the band I’m talking about, by the way. Not me.
Thanks for checking out Music Monday this week! If you haven’t already, you should definitely order yourself a copy of The Phlebotomist, which you can do through this affiliate link. Alternatively, get it in eBook form (with no nasty DRM) from Angry Robot here.