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Let's have a war!!! - 85%

Rael, February 12th, 2013

Forming in 1982, after the demise of Peter Steele's first band, Fallout, Carnivore were like a Black Sabbath-inspired version of 'Show No Mercy'-era Slayer. But that comparison is not to say Carnivore were unoriginal; they were, in fact, totally unique. While you could easily imagine "World Wars III and IV" or "Carnivore" on one of those early Metal Massacre comps, they still stood apart. Part of the appeal is the incredibly bass-heavy tone, an aesthetic Peter applied to his music at all times. The other notable aspect is Peter's vocal weapon, a gnarly shout mixed high and, on this recording, expanded with just the right amount of delay and reverb.

There's a Motorhead-ish lurch to the first two songs, especially "Carnivore," which features gang vocals in the chorus and has something in common with early Manowar in its main riffs, a band Carnivore seemed modeled after in some respects. The first two songs aren't all that different from their album counterparts, just a bit rawer and drier. Most fascinating is third and final track, "The Subhuman." Over 10 minutes of bleak, brooding, sllllow doom, it's certain (and documented) that Steele was influenced by Trouble and Saint Vitus -- about the only bands doing this sort of thing in 1984 -- and he took that inspiration, as well as the enduring specter of Black Sabbath, and cranked it down to a crawling 16 RPM.

As with all of Peter Steele's recordings, this demo, as rough and primordial as it is, puts you firmly into a singular, unique world that keeps it feeling special and timeless decades after it was recorded.