I’m a good bit younger than several of my AMG colleagues (who will go unnamed to keep hurt feelings among our more sensitive writers to a minimum). While many of them were lucky enough to experience thrash metal in its heyday, I found myself getting into the genre at the height of the re-thrash movement, circa 2008. One of my most vivid memories from that time was reading through an extensive “thank you” section in the booklet of Warbringer‘s War Without End. The band gave shout outs to more thrash metal bands than I had ever thought could exist; how was I supposed to become fully acquainted with the genre? To this day the number of 80’s thrash bands I have yet to discover still boggles my mind, and New Jersey’s Blood Feast is yet another in a seemingly endless stream of resurrected relics that reaffirms I’ll never reach the bottom of the well o’ denim ‘n bullet belts. The Future State of Wicked is their first record in twenty eight years, and while it’s a mostly solid record, the long wait spawned a few inescapable hang-ups.

The most immediately appealing aspect of TFSoW is the utter lack of fucking around Blood Feast engages in. Album opener “INRI” sees the band working at full force from moment one, with high velocity tom rolls backed by the hellacious howling of new frontman Chris Natalini (Seeds of Perdition). The music itself is fairly stripped down even in the scope of a genre that’s not exactly associated with nuanced and forward-thinking music, but there’s something about this uncompromisingly no-frills approach that’s somewhat refreshing. I can really appreciate an album that operates full throttle from the first second to the last, and the record’s ceaseless tremolo riffs, mostly (and surprisingly) of the non-palm muted variety, ensure that it barrels along like a runaway train. In terms of sheer adrenaline, Blood Feast is undeniably proficient.

Though satisfyingly ferocious, The Future State of Wicked could have used some serious attention in the editing stage of production. While a handful of tracks clock in at or under the three-minute mark (“INRI,” “Brethren”), many of them stretch past five minutes without containing nearly enough material to justify their length. “The Underling” and “Who Prays For the Devil” are some of the worst offenders, and while they’re not bad songs and the riffs are as effective as anywhere else on the record, they don’t carry enough ideas to merit their bloated lengths, sometimes causing my mind to wander away from the music until the end of the track in question. At a total of forty-three minutes, TFSoW maintains proper LP length, but the longer songs tend to drag so much that it feels considerably longer. It could have been a more efficient and enjoyable record if more time had been spent pruning the compositions in the writing stage.

While I’m disappointed by Blood Feast‘s apparent lack of editing prowess, I’m of two minds about the voice that carries this album along. Vocalist Chris Natalini is, make no mistake, one crazy fucker. His relentless screams recall a more coherent Varg Vikernes circa 1992, and he sounds completely unique in the thrash genre. That being said, his vocals are raised to ear-splitting levels in the mix, and his performance offers no variation, leading to mild annoyance and a serious case of ear ringing by AFSoW‘s conclusion. Really, everything is mixed too loud here (except the bass, of course), and I’m disappointed that a record that’s as earnest of a throwback as this one doesn’t have the production to match. The tones are certainly good, though; the guitars possess a more natural, old-school distortion as opposed to the razor precision found on most modern thrash records, and the drums have a charming garage quality that effectively suits the album’s stripped-down aesthetic.

I don’t feel like The Future State of Wicked is a record that could’ve been something much greater when I view it through a “what if” filter, but I do think that it’s an album that could have been an efficient nostalgic throwback if more attention had been put into mixing and editing. There’s certainly a lot to like here; Blood Feast has an unabashedly good time with their material, and the riffs are consistently good. Yet its flaws drag it down from “good” to “decent” status, a gap which feels surprisingly large considering it could have been so easily surmounted with a little tweaking.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Websites: bloodfeastlegions.com | facebook.com/bloodfeast | blood-feast.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: April 14th, 2017

Share →
  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    sweet, sweet band photos

    • Eldritch Elitist

      It’s like a highly detailed pumpkin carving!

    • Thatguy

      As we say in Australia – yeah..nah.

  • Sean Sky

    How old are you, out of curiosity?

    • Eldritch Elitist

      24. Like most people, I was about 13 when I started getting into metal.

      • Eli Valcik

        Ha! I’m 18. I get to call all of you old!

        • Eldritch Elitist

          Reel in the sass, whippersnapper!

          • Eli Valcik

            It actually really sucks being younger and a metal fan, most of my metal friends are still in that phase where they think Slipknot and Korn are the greatest things ever.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            That’s weird that kids haven’t moved on from those bands. They’re about twenty years old at this point. Shouldn’t they be listening to crabcore or something?

          • Eli Valcik

            I know right? Good thing I grew up on Windir, Immortal, and Dissection. I was lucky enough to skip the “I know nothing about metal phase.”

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            I wasn’t so lucky. Getting up to speed has been a painfully long process.

        • Reese Burns

          17. Beat that, gramps!

  • sir_c

    They have a ferocious urgency like some teenage fellow discovering his puberty by accidentally walking into the female dressing room.
    Although not specifically well composed, I do like the one-dimensional messiness that reminds me of my 15 year old self :-)

  • Nag Dammit

    Wow, a junkie Jesus scythed in half and disemboweled by death at Easter. Is this Christian thrash?

  • Back in the 80s Lamours in Brooklyn would use these guys as an opening act for everybody. They were more fun live than on vinyl.

  • Bas

    Oh yeah. I remember always checking the bands mentioned in the thank you section of an album. In the times before AMG that was our source of information ?

  • You wot m8?

    “…a more coherent Varg Vikernes…”

    Made me giggle a little.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Infernäl Mäjesty, Blood Feast… what’s this, 1987?

  • h_f_m

    It sounds like they were going for the “we recorded this in 1986-1987, thought we lost it, and damn just found it in a corner of the basement! Release it!”

    It works somehow.

  • Nexus

    I always like to see New Jersey represented