American thrash veterans Blood Feast have been floating around the tepid metal waters since their reunion in 2007. While shows and festivals have been their weekend game, they’ve been sticking to the material on their three past albums (two released in the late ‘80s and one in 2017). While the reception for the recent The Future State of Wicked was decent, Blood Feast have returned once more with a 6-track EP. Let’s dive in.
Blood Feast are part of the innumerable list of third-wave thrash bands which arose within the wake of groups like Metallica and Slayer. While the “Big Four” are known for their innovative outputs in the early ‘80s, post-1986 saw a whole slew of underground thrash metal bands who wanted to achieve the critical fame that earlier names were seeing at the time. From 1986 to circa 1992, one can pick and choose from a number of lesser-known thrash albums that were produced at the time. Unfortunately, the sudden shift within the music landscape post-1990 with the rising popularity of groove metal and grunge completely wiped out thrash as a subgenre. While select groups may have kept the style alive in the depths, 95% of established bands either broke up or saw a drastic change in music style.
Blood Feast were one of these bands. Debuting with Kill for Pleasure in 1987, the album stands tall among a slew of other full-lengths released around the same time. The band followed with 1989’s Chopping Block Blues, and promptly disbanded in 1991. This short run is their claim to fame.
Chopped, Sliced, and Diced continues the slicing theme from 1989, which is apparently a source of inspiration for the band. Blood Feast has definitely kept a consistent thematic presence throughout their releases, which very little variation. While I’m not familiar with Chopping Block Blues, Kill For Pleasure established the band’s aggressive, no-nonsense attitude that we hear once more on this new EP.
Wait a minute. The EP contains a track called “Chopping Block Blues,” which is coincidentally the name of their second album. What? Oh no… This is an album of re-recordings. That’s why its called Chopped, Sliced, and Diced… Ugh.
I rewrote my thought process for you for pure entertainment. I’ve listened to this damned thing twice already and now I read the fine print about it being a throwback to the band’s earlier tracks. Screw it, I’m reviewing this as if its new material, because its new to me. Dammit.
Well, we can still review “Concubine” in a proper manner, as it is a new track. Like I said before, Blood Feast seemed to have found their style right when they released their debut. Even the album covers carry the same colour template over, and feature the “Blood Feast mascot” we all know and love, although he seems to have gained some weight since his appearance on the cover of The Future State of Wicked in 2017.
“Concubine” is a solid number. Its definitely a hallmark of experience, as the song remains within the group’s established style but incorporates some more advanced sonic techniques. For example, the song is built around these sections that halt entirely for a second or two, only to promptly start up again with all instruments and voices in full force. These repeating portions are incredibly catchy and bring this song to another level for me, as it arises from the monotone depths of which many standard thrash songs lie.
The production choices are also fairly nice on this one, albeit a safe bet. The guitar tone is crunchy, the drums are prevalent but not overbearing, and everything is mixed fairly well, from what I can tell. One qualm I have is that vocalist Gary Markovitch seems to have lost his rolling thunder. The beauty of Blood Feast’s early material is that Markovitch’s singing rolled from line to line, creating a fluid relationship within the components of the verses. However, he now sounds a fair bit similar to a lot of other thrash vocalists, as his voice is powerful and nonetheless strained, but has lost that rolling quality with age; or maybe he decided to change his style, I don’t know.
The other tracks are re-recorded nicely. I don’t have a lot to say about them, I’m not sure there was a need for this release, as I don’t have any issues with the way their earlier albums sound. The band did say that this release was partly to celebrate their new drummer, Adam Kieffer, who’s first recorded studio session with the band was to record this EP. The band also included a live track to finish off Chopped, Sliced, and Diced as an homage to their live performance in Osaka, Japan, earlier this year.
I was kind of looking forward to some new Blood Feast material, to be honest. I don’t care much for re-recorded tracks, especially when there was no inherent issue with the original releases. Although I guess this is a fun way for the band to introduce their new drummer to the world, so there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not even going to rate this one, as I don’t know what would qualify a great/not-so-great score, other than the fact that this was recorded properly. The new song rips, though.