CARNIVORE — Retaliation (review)

CARNIVORE — Retaliation album cover Album · 1987 · Crossover Thrash Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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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