Carnivore rose from the ashes of Peter Steele & Josh Silver's band Fallout (for those who don't know, Peter & Josh are the cornerstones of Type O Negative). Josh went on to form a band called Original Sin, and Peter started Carnivore. While Fallout had a very accessible, yet twisted sound, Carnivore emerged as a no-holds-barred assault of testosterone and sarcasm. In general, the band performed what some have called "street-level thrash" music, with its gritty, primordial sound. The line-up was composed of Vocalist and Bassist Peter Steele, Guitarist Keith Alexander (recently passed away in a bicycle accident), and drummer Louie Beato. Carnivore's persona was based upon the post-apocalyptic nuclear warrior, armed to the teeth with makeshift armor and wapons, killing his fellow man to stay alive. The first album, Carnivore of 1985 AD, wove post-apocalyptic prophecy into a mess of thrash and doom metal. Carnivore shows were quite an experience, as the band was rumored to chum the audience with buckets of animal entrails and blood. Their fans were mostly metalheads, skinheads, etc. A carnivore show back then was possibly the least safest place to be.
The second album, Retaliation of 1987 AD, featured an unrelenting blend of thrash and hardcore with more human lyrics concerning politics, religion, etc. Peter and Louie were now accompanied by a new guitarist, Marc Piovaneti. This album had lots of angry, violent, and perhaps racist material on it; although, you might just say over-patriotic? Of course there was still a twist of that dark fiction of Peter Steele in songs like Jesus Hitler. The songs were faster and seemed more emotionally-driven. They did a song inspired by A Clockwork Orangecalled Sex & Violence. The album also features a great instrumental called Five Billion Dead. I would have to say I prefer the sound of Retalitation to the original album. Most of my Carnivore favorites come from this album.. Inner Conflict, Technophobia, Jesus Hitler, Race War ..though I like them all.
Back in 1991, both albums were compiled onto one CD by Roadrunner Records, however a few songs such as Ground Zero Brooklyn and Manic Depression were cut out due to time limitations. Back in the late 90s, I actually found a Roadracer Records re-release of the original Carnivore album on CD. The release is dated 1990, and it may be rare and seems to be part of a collection of re-releases done by Roadrunner. It has the original Pete Steele echo-ish lyrics and all! At some point around the new millenium, Roadrunner re-released Carnivore and Retaliation with some bonus tracks.
I'm also the proud owner of a Type O Negative bootleg called Live, Rare & Hard, which I got at the now-defunct Rock City in Warwick. This bootleg was released by Daniel Records, Germany in a limited edition of 300 copies. The disc featured some radio versions and b-side material from Type O Negative, plus a set of about 5 live tracks from the Carnivore days. They performed material from the self-titled release, plus a track called Cry Wolf, which was a cover of a song by a band called Witchkiller (thanks for that info, Bruce). The live recording is fairly low quality, but priceless to me anyway. Thanks to the age of mp3s and filesharing, I have also managed to find a recording of a Carnivore concert from around 1990 in Brooklyn, NY. As with Type O, I love live Carnivore material because of the band's sense of humor and tendency to play cover songs in their own down-tuned way.
For the Type O fan curious about Carnivore, if you are more into the songs like Love You to Death and Christian Woman, then I would say Carnivore is not for you. But if you can appreciate material like Xero Tolerance or Der Untermensch, you may want to give Carnivore a try. In fact, some of the material on Type O's Slow, Deep, & Hard was supposedly written for Carnivore. Personally, I love most of the Type O songs and just about all the Carnivore tracks too, so either I'm just weird or it is possible to enjoy both types of music. As an NY Press interview stated, Peter Steele is a former hardcore bully-boy turned goth rocker, so Carnivore and (especially the newest) Type O Negative material are very different. By the way, some of the many Type O Negative t-shirts have Carnivore phrases on them, such as Blood Sweat & Gears (from Technophobia), Casket Crew (from Legion of Doom), and there's the shirt with the autographs (tacky) on the back and Legion of Doom below the pic of Type O on the front. Just thought you should know where they came from. Lastly, I think most people see Carnivore as a footnote in the history of Type O Negative, but I would argue that the band, or at least its material, was just as significant. I hope this page has been informative and if not i really don't care. Take it Easy...
Text by: andrew (http://www.angelfire.com/ri/typeoneg/carnivore.html