Carnivore - Retaliation
Roadrunner Records
12 songs (44:23)
Release year: 1987
Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Cody
Archive review

"This is the United States of America, and you have the right to hate whoever you want, so let's start busting heads!"

This is a small passage from the song Race War on Carnivore's 1987 album, Retaliation. If this doesn't personify the anti- establishment and satirical content of the best punk and hardcore acts of the 80's, then I don't know what does.

While there are other acts in the crossover scene that gained more notoriety, and perhaps had a more visceral impact on the hardcore and metal scenes, I believe that Carnivore is a definitive album that truly personified what punkers were trying to sound like and what their message was. With lyrics that are meant to be humorous/satirical and also socially concious, any individual who enjoyed spitting in the face of the mainstream would eat this album up with open arms...and that is before they found out all lyrics and vocals were done by Peter Steele of Type O Negative fame. And if this wasn't enough to give the casual listener an interest in this band, its worth noting that Steele is credited with writing the lyrics for the first Agnostic Front album, who are one the most influential early hardcore acts.

Besides the lyrical content and the reputation this album and certain bandmembers may have, the actual music is very interesting as well. Combining the previously mentioned crossover, with a bit of sludge thrown in, we are left with an album with its own trademark style, which just so happens to be a style that makes no qualms about punching you in the face. In all my years of listening to thrash, I have heard very few old school albums of this genre that had the balls to stray into a slower, doom-like field (Celtic Frost being a notable exception), and it really is a breath of fresh air to hear this. Also, I noticed that this album represents the first time it seems, I have heard a breakdown in the modern hardcore sense. While it may come as a shock to hear a much different Steele in the vocal department, it really shouldn't come as a shock to hear moments of Type O coming out in some of the more doomier moments of this record. There is most definitely a hint of oddity with the way the guitars suddenly go from raw hardcore to slow and painful sounding; definitely not your average Misfits album we are talking about!

This is definitely not one of my favorite albums, as it is a bit too primitive for my tastes overall for me to listen to on a regular basis, however, there are some gem riffs on this thing, and its really worth checking out to really get a dose of what TRUE hardcore is! For those who are fans of D.R.I., early C.O.C., The Accused and all the early hardcore bands, you must do yourself a favor and pick this album up. Despite it being fairly obscure, this little dish of metal is not that hard to find and will undoubtedly provide its own little niche in your collection.

Killing Songs :
Race War, Angry Neurotic Catholics
Cody quoted 70 / 100
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