Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

crush! kill! de-stroy! - 89%

Abominatrix, October 30th, 2003

Thanks to the mighty Spatilomantis, I was able to procure a copy of this album, and god damn am I happy i did. This is, at its core, thrash metal..but with a wealth of unique personality and style that you will never hear in any other metal band. Carnivore symbolizes all that is raunchy, mysogynistic, cruel and warlike...yet with an obvious tongue in cheek flair that lets you know how much the band is getting a kick out of, no doubt, pissing off so many people with their crazy antics. Those of us who were too young at the time to experience a live Carnivore show missed a great thing, as I understand it....the band decked out like post-atomic warriors, insighting violence and aggression as they played dangerous anthems such as "Male Supremacy", "Race War" and "Sex and Violence". However, as there will most likely never be another live Carnivore gig, we have to make due with their two album releases..and this is the cream of their all too brief crop.

Right away, when you fire up your stereo and turn the volume up to "thrashing level"...you are assaulted with the sound of modern warfare, which sets the stage for what's to come: namely, bludgeoning thrash numbers that aren't quite like any other band in this genre and, as well as speed and aggression, offer a lot of interesting surprises. Of course, this is Carnivore, and what becomes immediately apparent is that Pete Steele is the histrionic centre of the band with his very up front, very clear and understandable vocals. I think if Tipper Gore had heard this album back in 1985 she would have dropped dead on the spot, and Megadeth and Judas Priest wouldn't have had to worry about a thing. The lyrical content here is basically a completely over the top assault on everything that's normal and comforting....a depiction of a post-nuclear world in which our ideals have turned up side down, packs of rampant lunatics foraging the gutted city streets, raping hapless women and burning works of art, absolutely revelling in filth and degradation...and the lyrics are expressed with such obvious zeal and glee that you might almost believe that Lord Petrus is just itching for this coming apocalypse, and that you'd better toughen yourself up for what's approaching, else he'll fucking kick your ass and rape your daughter, then delight in shitting on her face.

From this rather brutish description, one might expect the music to be noisy and haphazard...but actually it's quite cleverly done. While the basis is clearly thrash, the band throws in a lot of slow, doomy passages in most of the songs that bring to mind some kind of rumbling, ultra-destructive behemoth. The playing is reasonably tight, and production is nicely heavy and loud. The vocals for me are one of the highlights, as they are shouted with this feeling of total abandon and ferocity that you just want to scream along and break anything in the vicinity, from tables and chairs to the faces of any cocksucker who happens to get in your way. They're double-tracked, too, and slightly pitch-shifted I think, so they have a very twisted, mutated feel to them conjuring up the image of some commic book character with radiation imubed super-powers of strength and endurance. There are also a few unusual breaks in the songs...."Male Supremacy" starts out as a prime example of arsedestroying thrash, then suddenly and totally without warning breaks into a slow, mellow section with quiet guitar and deep, resonant vocals like those Steele would use almost ten years later in Type O Negative. This section of the song is supposed to depict the strapping barbarian, as he comes home from a day of fighting, hunting and killing, to find his woman waiting subserviently for him, worshipping her simultaneously (at least her flesh) and telling her that he fights for her. Musically this section might seem a little clumsy, but somehow you just know the band intended it that way...after all, a true barbarian has a hard time admitting these sorts of sentimental feelings, right?. Then there's "God is Dead", which features a very strange and catchy chorus of oddball percussion, bass and vocals (and even a distant falseto or female voice coming in at the end of the track). "World Wars III and IV" is something of an epic, though it's rather repetitive, it tells a pretty interesting tale, and the end of the actual song heralds a couple of minute of ambient wind and distant feedback type noise that lets you know that this is the end, the world is waste for good and the human race is extinguished...but ah, what a glorious and fucked up ride it's been.

So, obviously, this album was pretty ahead of its time for 1985, and I honestly don't see why any fan of the somewhat more extreme varieties of metal wouldn't absolutely lap this up. Sure, the follow-up, "Retaliation", might be more well known, and indeed, is probably even more raunchy in lyrical excess than this debut, but in my view this album is vastly superior in most ways, although I do still enjoy "Retaliation" quite a bit. There's 100% more metal on this album and it's a lot more experimental and interesting, and lacks the hardcore influences that made that second recording a lot less memorable. Do yourself a favour and pick this up...if you have the balls for it, that is.