The first studio record coming from New York thrash outfit Carnivore with a self-titled release that shook the November 1985 nights through an eight-track release. Originally on Roadrunner Records, the group saw a crunching of bone and teeth with tracks like “Armageddon,” “World Wars III and IV,” and the iconic thrash metal smash “God Is Dead.”
Made up of Peter Steele who was the soon to be frontman of Type O Negative, also joining the fight was Keith Alexander on the guitar and vocals. With Louis Beateaux providing the percussion and vocals with a grinding, overarching sound that acts as a predator of music. Carnivore can take rapid jumps through crowds, plucking people off along the way as the record progresses. Each bite, stomp, and chewing motion on Carnivore illustrates the seedy New York underbelly that strikes the jugular with precision.
From the breakdowns on the opening track, “Predator” to the final moments on nuclear holocausts from “World Wars III & IV,” there is something oddly uncomforting about Carnivore. It could be their almost ghoulish lyrical style, or perhaps their harsh sound, but it is nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly why the release demands movement. By learning to act as if they were animals, Carnivore is impressive through their 54-minute conquering of the throne through hellish aggression.
The track “Armageddon” opens almost as if it was a Type O Negative B-side with these catchy guitar works that translate into a dramatic but sluggish build up as elements of instrumentals are purposefully added in. Similar to baking a thrash metal cake, each ingredient is then kicked into a mixing bowl and demolished by the stirring mosh pits that the percussion and blitzing strings create. The final product is something less than pretty, but still, a tasty treat as the vocals scream “Armageddon” with a chorus coming in to reprise this short, but quotable chorus. It is one of the more memorable parts of the record as it shows a harmony before the vocals decide with animalistic and primal rage to, “Kill each other” as the band begins the moshing once more.
Carnivore is a circus act of balancing the heaviest thrash elements alongside the technical works that are known to prove a theory base from each member of Carnivore. They are fantastic musicians in the way that they provide a grim outlook into the thrash sound, while still performing under intense heat from the rising and shaking ground that was beneath them. As the atmosphere builds and sculpts abrupt chaos, Carnivore explodes in a frantic atom bomb of expression and tribe-esque leadership.