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Carnivore

Carnivore

Review by Gary Hill

This is a new reissue of the first album from Carnivore. It includes three bonus demo songs and an extensive booklet. The lyrics to much of this are certainly capable of offending, but that was the whole point of it, to upset people. It was part of the concept of the band. For that reason, rather than noting which songs earn parental advisories, I am just going to give you a general advisory for the whole album. The music here focuses around metal and hardcore, but there are other angles and sounds at other times. It should be noted that Pete Steele went on to form Type O Negative after this band dissolved.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Predator
Coming up percussive, there are sound effects as this builds gradually. The metal stomping enters and take control. This is a driving, pounding stomper. This works through a number of twists and turns. It reminds me of things ranging from GWAR to Green Jello. The instrumental break on this is on fire and has some killer guitar soloing.
Carnivore
A plodding metal jam brings this into being. The cur fires out from there to some fierce faster stuff. This is another powerhouse.
Male Supremacy
The riff that starts this feels a bit more mainstream metal. The track has an almost British Steel Judas Priest sound in some ways. The vocals are not anywhere near that, though. This has more of those Green Jello styled vocals. There is a mellower, dropped back movement mid-track. It has a bit of an 80s rock sound to it, perhaps a bit like The Cure or even Bauhaus. The tune gradually builds upward from there. We're taken through some cool melodic metal modes before it eventually fires back out into the anthemic chorus section.
Armageddon
The slow plodding metal that starts this makes me think of Black Sabbath. That sound is counterpointed with some hardcore punk. That alternating pattern creates the concept of this entire tune.
Legion of Doom
Here we get another screaming hot metal number with some weird angles to it.
God Is Dead
I love the driving fast-paced riffing that starts this track. It's a screamer that has more of the same basic concepts we've heard throughout. This is really elevated, making it one of the highlights of the disc. It has a cool, almost jazzy groove on the chorus.
Thermonuclear Warrior
More high-energy metal, this is a strong tune. It's a bit samey by this point, though.
World Wars III & IV
While not a big change, this is one of the strongest pieces here. It's screaming hot and has a great combination of mainstream metal and more extreme sounds. I think the idea of having this end the album proper was a great one because it's so potent. After the song seems as if it's done, there is a massive explosion. Then winds and other effects are heard while "The Star Spangled Banner" plays in the distance.
USA for USA (Demo)
The first of three songs that were originally released on the USA for USA demo, this is very much a hardcore punk based screamer. It's fierce, loud and full of bombast and fury. It's also a great song.
SMD (Demo)
This is closer to the kind of stuff we heard on the album proper. That said, there is some definite hardcore stuff built into this thing, too.
Sex And Violence (Demo)

About the first minute-and-a-half of this is made up of effects and bass. From there we get taken out into more screaming hardcore.

 
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