Carnivore - Carnivore [Dissonance Productions/ Cherry Red - 2020]
Originally released in the year 1985 this self-title was the first full-length album of NYC’s Carnivore, who are most known for featuring Peter Steele of Type O Negative. The sound here is a rough ‘n’ ready mix of speed and Thrash metal, with a few doomier/ experimental touches here and there. And while it’s largely a primal 'n' dirty album, it still highlights Mr Steele's creative, and at times dark humour laced songwriting talents.
Here from Dissonance Productions, which is part of the Cherry Red family of labels- is a CD reissue of the album. It comes presented in a glossy four-panel digipak- which features a black and splattered blood-red colour scheme. Included is a sixteen-page inlay booklet- this takes in a lengthy write-up about the band/ album, a great selection of 80’s metal poster/band pics/ artwork, and full lyrics.
The original eight-track album appeared in 1985 on Roadrunner Records. This reissue adds in three bonus tracks, which are demo tracks. The album kicks off with the chopper and siren laced intro of “Predator”, which fairly soon kicks into steady bounding speed metal, later on, we shift into a nice meaty chugg break down/ bass work-out. But the thing that makes it stand out is Steele’s often rapid, but expressively bayed vocals. As we move through the album, we come gunning riffing and gang vocals of “Male Supremacy”, and there’s the meaty ‘n’ messy early thrash gallop meets slugging ‘n’ dirty doom tones of “Legion Of Doom”.
Moving onto the second half we have the Venom like chug of “God Is Dead” which from time to time drops into a clean Latin rhythm and bass plucking, with wailing female vocals appearing at one point. There’s the cowbell tripped thrash-out meets playful macho metal of “Thermonuclear Warrior” which later on nicely starts crawl and drags along in doom metallics, before sliding into a simmering guitar solo before. With the album playing out the ten and a quarter minutes of “World Wars III And IV”- which shifts between drum slamming speed metal. and heroically galloping metal ‘n’ buzzing bass moodiness. Before the big explosion 'n' battering wind swirl effects, and a distant rendition of star-spangled banner/ feedback hum.
Though I was very much a fan of Type O Negative, I never looked into Carnivore- as I always presumed they were just another standard NYC speed/ Thrash metal band. So I must say I was most pleasantly surprised and rather taken by this self-titled disc. Sure it’s not up to there with either Type O Negative’s sound craft or invention, but there is a playful and creative spirit very much alive in these songs….let’s hope we get a reissue of the album's follow-up, 1987’s Retaliation.Roger Batty