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Carnivore was an American crossover thrash metal band formed by Peter Steele (later of Type O Negative fame), and was formed out of the ruins of the Brooklyn hard rock group Fallout. They released two albums: "Carnivore" (1985) and "Retaliation" (1987). The band broke up not long thereafter, and Peter Steele formed Type O Negative. The first Type O Negative album, "Slow Deep and Hard" was partially composed from material originally written for Carnivore. Despite being disbanded for over 15 years, there have been several reunion shows that have taken place over the years. One of the shows was at Wacken Open Air 2006, where they had an 1,25 hour setlist.

Original Carnivore guitarist Keith Alexander died in a biking accident on July 11, 2005.

The first album is more traditionally metal-sounding, drawing inspiration from Black Sabbath and 1970s Judas Priest, while the second has significant hardcore-crossover influence. Both are
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CARNIVORE Carnivore album cover 4.39 | 9 ratings
Crossover Thrash 1985
CARNIVORE Retaliation album cover 4.25 | 11 ratings
Crossover Thrash 1987

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CARNIVORE Demo '84 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo '84
Crossover Thrash 1984
CARNIVORE Demo '86 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Demo '86
Crossover Thrash 1986

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CARNIVORE Retaliation

Album · 1987 · Crossover Thrash
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"Retaliation" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New York based hardcore/crossover thrash metal act Carnivore. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 1987. It´s the successor to the band´s self-titled 1985 debut album and features one lineup change compared to that album as guitarist Keith Alexander has been replaced by Marc Piovanetti.

Stylistically "Retaliation" more or less continues the aggressive and intense hardcore/crossover thrash metal style of the debut album, but "Retaliation" generally sounds a bit more angry and the pace is also a bit higher overall. So there are quite a few fast-paced aggressive hardcore tracks featured on the album, but there are also the occasionally more heavy doomy and atmospheric moment featured in the music. Tracks like "Ground Zero Brooklyn", "Race War", the instrumental "Five Billion Dead", and the cover of "Manic Depression" by Jimi Hendrix are examples of the latter. Just as the case was on the debut album lead vocalist/bassist Peter Steele, spews out profanities, anger, and sarcastic comments on social/political issues, and the lyrics certainly aren´t for the faint at heart and song titles like "Angry Neurotic Catholics", "S.M.D. (Suck My Dick)", and "Jesus Hitler" are probably pretty controversial to some people.

"Retaliation" is both well produced and well performed too, and led by the distinct sounding voice of Peter Steele, Carnivore also have a unique sound although most of their core style is actually relatively generic. The combination of biting sarcasm and aggression works perfect for the band, and "Retaliation" is generally a very entertaining release. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.


Demo · 1986 · Crossover Thrash
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"Demo '86" is a demo cassette tape by US crossover thrash metal act Carnivore. The demo was self-released in 1986 and bridges the gap between the band´s two full-length studio albums "Carnivore (1985)" and "Retaliation (1987)". The demo features 3 tracks, that would all make it unto "Retaliation (1987)" in re-recorded versions. Most reissues of "Carnivore (1985)" features the 3 tracks from the 11:08 minutes long demo as bonus tracks.

Compared to the hardcore punked heavy/speed metal with doom metal leanings that was featured on "Carnivore (1985)", the music style on the 3 tracks on "Demo '86" are more aggressive fast-paced crossover thrash metal tracks. Very energetic, lyrically offensive (yes "S.M.D." stands for "Suck My Dick") and pretty well played. Considering the fact that this is a demo, the sound production is decent too. Powerful and raw sounding.

I don´t know the history of this demo, but it is a bit of an oddity, as the band already had a deal with Roadrunner Records and didn´t need promo material to attract a new label, so maybe it´s a sort of rehearsal demo (even though it sounds a bit too professionally produced for that), or maybe something else entirely. I´m simply not sure, but the 3 tracks on the demo are of a pretty good quality and definitely worth a listen, so a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.


Album · 1985 · Crossover Thrash
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"Carnivore" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by US crossover thrash metal act Carnivore. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in January 1985. Carnivore are probably mostly known for featuring Peter Steele in the lineup, who later achieved great success with Type O Negative. Carnivore were only active for a relatively short time in the 80s but managed to release this self-titled album and "Retaliation" (1987)" (and two demos) before disbanding.

The music on "Carnivore" is aggressive hardcore punked speed/heavy metal with doom metal sections thrown in. The music features great energy and it´s raw and organic. The lyrics, and how they are delivered by lead vocalist/bassist Peter Steele, is one of the greatest assets on the album. It´s not that the lyrical topics aren´t of the usual death and destruction type (which is pretty obvious when reading song titles like "Legion of Doom", "God Is Dead", and "Thermonuclear Warrior"), but Peter Steele makes sure to deliver the lyrics with a rare biting sarcasm/humour and great punch and conviction. For example I´ll never be able to say the word "Carnivore" again and not think of oral sex...

The sound production is decent and suits the music well, even though the guitar sounds a bit thin and the drums are placed a bit high in the mix. That also goes for the vocals, but that works to great effect that they are placed as high as they are in the mix. The bass is clearly heard in the mix too, which is a very nice feature.

The material are generally well written and it didn´t take me more than a couple of listens before I could remember each track just by looking at the song title, which is a sure indicator that this is memorable and catchy music. It´s not over simplistic though and Carnivore make sure to vary their music throughout the album. Especially the doomy sections and the occasional more atmospheric part work really well within the generally more up tempo hardcore punked speed/heavy metal style. Peter Steele´s vocal style is mostly raw, shouting, and aggressive but we do get a few samples of his warm clean vocals a couple of times during the album´s playing time. They are most prominently featured in the middle section of "Male Supremacy".

There are two ways to come to "Carnivore" and how you experience the album probably depends a great deal on which way that is. For some people Carnivore was a band they listened to in the 80s and they grew up with, but for most people they probably give Carnivore a shot because they are fans of Type O Negative and are curious to know what Peter Steele did before he formed that band. If you belong to the former camp Carnivore are probably right up your alley, with their hardcore punked speed/heavy metal style with occasional doomy sections and humourous/sarcastic/provocative lyrics, while the most conservative Type O Negative fan might not find what he/she is looking for here. Sure there are hardcore punk traits in Type O Negative´s music (especially on "Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)"), but not at all to this extent.

It´s pretty obvious that already this early on in his career Peter Steele had something very special about him in terms of voice, songwriting, and sarcasm/humour, and while he would develop and refine all those features on subsequent releases with both Carnivore and Type O Negative, and "Carnivore" overall isn´t the most sophisticated or mature release that he has been involved in, it´s still a great listen and a promising start to Peter Steele´s career. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.


Album · 1985 · Crossover Thrash
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Vim Fuego
The twisted genius of the late, great Pete Steele is now synonymous with the tragi–romantic Gothicism of Type O Negative. However, many Type O fans are oblivious to the fact Pete was once a hardcore hero, in one of the leading bands in the New York crossover scene in the mid to late 80s.

On first listen, this is pretty raw stuff, for its day. It's a relentless pounding of percussive New York style thrash, reminiscent of Nuclear Assault and SOD, with a leaden guitar sound, double kick drum barrages, Agnostic Front style shout along choruses, and Pete's surprisingly clearly enunciated voice over it all.

Lyrically, the album is as testosterone laden and muscle headed as the music. The subject matter runs through male chauvinism, post–nuclear society where the law of the jungle rules, war, motorcycle gangs, um, war, and er… Armageddon. Much of Type O's material deals with messed up relationships. Perhaps there are a few clues as to where the inspiration for such things came from: "I detect the scent of prey by/ her menstruation/ you have been chosen the main course/ congratulations" or the delightful "Testosterone mates with adrenaline/ bearing a son of insane aggression/ women will never know or understand the power men feel to kill with their hands".

It all sounds rather bleak and sexist, and perhaps it is, but there's something that sets Carnivore apart from thrash metal bands of the time. There are melodies, musical nuances, and subtleties not immediately noticeable up first inspection. An example: In the middle of the pounding track "Male Supremacy" there is an acoustic break in the music, and suddenly Pete Steele's voice comes back in, not as a hardcore shout, but as the theatrical bass singing voice so recognisable on Type O Negative albums. It's inspirational stuff!

There are hidden melodies and hook lines throughout the album. Many of the tracks could have been heads–down, charge–for–the–finish–line type songs which fly past unnoticed, but instead the listener is drawn in to shout–along choruses and unexpected melodies. You'll find yourself chanting "Armageddon" to the chorus of the track of the same name.

Many 80s thrash and crossover bands never reached the heights Carnivore attained on just their debut, but this remains a little known treasure, when it should have been remembered as a classic, mentioned in the same breath as Nuclear Assault, Exodus, and Testament.

CARNIVORE Retaliation

Album · 1987 · Crossover Thrash
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Vim Fuego
The door crashes open, unsteady, urgent footsteps run, sounds of heaving and coughing, and the contents of a stomach splatter into a toilet bowl. After a bit more coughing, puking and spitting, the toilet flushes. This is “Jack Daniels’ and Pizza”, the greatest introduction to an album this side of Slayer's "Hell Awaits". Then the music kicks in. Not just a light tap with the foot, but an almighty great steel capped heave to the groin, off a 10-yard run up! Who knows what Carnivore were railing against on "Retaliation", but it's sure to have been mortally wounded. In the year or so that passed between the self-titled debut and the second album, Pete Steele and co. sent their sound to the gym. The faster parts are faster, heavier parts are heavier, it's vocally more brutal, and lyrically more focused. The band really stepped on the accelerator in all departments right from the opening track of the album, the wonderfully titled "Angry Neurotic Catholics", which sees Pete fighting with inner demons, contemplating suicide to escape sin-induced guilt. This is thrash the way it should be played- heavy, unstoppable, uncompromising, with proto-blast beats, shouty choruses, intense riffing, all with just a hint of melody to hook the listener. These are just downright catchy headbanging tunes. Pete had been pondering religion, the reasons behind world conflicts, and examining the human psyche, which he expressed in his own blunt politically incorrect way. The vocals are delivered with more venom than on the previous album. Steele had developed a more hardcore vocal delivery, and included spoken word rants in several tracks. There was something spookily prophetic about this album too. Two tracks in particular, "Ground Zero Brooklyn" and "USA for USA" both have taken on a new significance since the events of September 11th. "All the bullshit countries who think they'll beat the giant, World peace in upheaval, We'll nuke 'em to the Stone Age, send the message clear, Ya don't fuck with the eagle!" Sound familiar? This is music with balls. Great big hairy tattooed leather-clad ones.

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UMUR wrote:
1 year ago
Yup, definitely a great band.
Tupan wrote:
1 year ago
TON is great, but this is beyond amazing!


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