New Jersey thrashers Blood Feast pretty much missed two boats when they first appeared in the mid to late eighties; Too late to cash in on the thrash boom, their career stalled when their record label went bust, leaving them too late to get in on the bottom floor of the nascent death metal movement which may well have given their Possessed-meets-Slayer schtick some currency at the time.

Still history is littered with tales of almost-were bands, and Blood Feast are really no different. In truth, they just weren’t quite good enough back in the day; the question for us now is was it woth all the bother of keeping going?

It’s hard to say or really give a definitive answer. Blood Feast in 2017 features only one member who was there in 1987, guitarist Adam Tranquilli, so you might well ask ‘is this even a Blood Feast record?’ with some justification. But as a reviewer I can only review what’s put in front of me, and, for the most part, The Future State of Wicked is pleasant enough.

It’s not until Track 4, By the Slice, that you’ll look up from whatever you’re doing and take notice of what’s coming out of the stereo. You’ll accompany this look with a thought: ‘yep, they still want to be Slayer’ and then return to your other business. This is a low-impact album, failing to really insinuate it’s way into your affections by way of songcraft or showmanship. Sure, it has it’s moments – The Underling is a pretty fine old school thrash/death hybrid, whilst the relentless Who Prays For the Devil would have had crossover kids salivating in 1988 had it been available to them. Chris Natalini has a powerful, slightly demented bark that suits most of the material here to a tee, and you get the feeling that, were he given something a little more worthwhile to sing he might be a bit of a star in the making, whilst Tranquilli surely knows his way around a fretboard if not a songwriting manual.

This is not a review designed to be cruel to Blood Feast – clearly all sincere metalheads, clearly capable of good things individually with their chosen weapons – it’s simply that there are just not enough moments of note on The Future State of Wicked to make the record anything other than a minor curio.

The Future State of Wicked is out now on Hells Headbangers