Reviewed: March 2019
Released: 2018 – Hells Headbangers
The press release accompanying Chopped, Sliced And Diced describes it as a four track mini album (six if you buy the CD or cassette release) intended to maintain the “fast and furious” momentum between Blood Feast‘s 2017 comeback record – The Future State Of Wicked – and their next full release, which the band guarantee they are currently deep into writing.
For this stop gap they have focused on making some modern re-recordings of classic Blood Feast tracks, originally released on their earlier records. They proudly claim that these new versions retain all the rabid, adrenaline-overdosed fury of the band’s late ’80s heyday – if not more!
Guitarist Adam Tranquilli says, “I felt early on that we should keep the pattern that was set back in the day – an album, followed by an EP with a brand-new track. These modern versions of classic songs from the first two albums also mark the recording debut of Adam Kieffer behind the kit. They are ferocious beyond words.”
True to Tranquilli’s description, Concubine tears out of the speakers like a rampant statement of intent. This first track is the only completely new composition on the release but it bodes well for those waiting for a full length follow up.
Slayer fans are immediately going to find something to enjoy here. With their heads down, laser sharp, metal approach, Blood Feast are following a very similar template to the Californian thrashers. Indeed, among the urgent riffing, frontman Gary Markovitch has a timbre that could be compared to Tom Araya’s tormented holler.
That being said, the performances captured on Chopped, Sliced and Diced ensure there is much more to the band than just a comparison to their peers. In 2018, Blood Feast are playing with a fervent energy that, 30 years into their career, demonstrates a band who are far from a spent force.
To emphasise this point, the band give the rest of the release over to reinvigorating some choice cuts from their Kill For Pleasure and Chopping Block Blues albums.
Perhaps the biggest point of interest here is new drummer Adam Kieffer, who underpins everything with an updated, fresher percussive attack. He obviously has the chops to make this material fly on some contemporary wings, but that is not to say the other musicians are dragging their heels. Far from it, there is a savagery contained in these performances that has come from years of drilling these riffs live.
Also of note, the band have reduced the emphasis on some of the original versions more distinctive production ideas – for example, the keyboards on the chorus of Hunted, Stalked and Slain have been placed much lower in the mix which results in a streamlined and more aggressive experience for the listener.
The necessity of these new versions will vary depending on how invested you are in the originals. Those who are still using their well-worn 1980’s LPs to induce some heavy metal whiplash may question how crucial a purchase this is – However, as a means to peak the interest of new listeners or to offer something to those who may have caught the band at a show and want to hear more – who can blame the band for presenting some classic material, updated for a new generation of fans?
What they’ve created is a credible and exciting thrash metal release that will certainly whet the appetite for whatever comes next.
Released on Hells Headbangers, the new EP will be available on four formats: regular 12″ vinyl, shaped picture disc, shaped CD with bonus tracks, and cassette tape with the same bonus tracks. Mastering for Chopped, Sliced and Diced has been handled by Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind.
CD and Cassette versions of Chopped, Diced & Sliced feature a live version of By The Slice from 2017’s The Future State Of Wicked