Imagine you are one of the few unlucky survivors of a global thermonuclear war. The peaceful environment you once knew has been completely obliterated, and your new home is underneath the surface of the earth, free from the deadly contaminants that have turned the earth above into a radioactive wasteland. But those of you who are forced to spend your few remaining days groping in the underground darkness are not the only survivors, for up on the surface a vicious horde of cannibalistic warriors roam - waiting for you to stick your decaying skull out of the ground in hopes of catching a glimpse of the world above.
Your curiosity gets the better of you, and you begin to inch your way out of the dirt. Within seconds you are snatched from the ground and devoured by the neo-barbaric carnivores, and you are only quite thankful to be spared the horror of survival. Whether this gruesome scene is mere fiction or a prophetic glimpse into our dismal future is not important. You need not wait for World War III to annihilate civilization as we know it - one listen to either of Carnivore's two classic exercises in post-nuclear metal (Carnivore and Retaliation), and you will quickly find yourself trapped in an underground nightmare, avoiding the walking terror above. If we can stop heading the doom of tomorrow for a bit and take a few steps backward, we see that the frightening image of these nomadic predators was actually a vision inside the mind of vocalist/bassist Peter Steele back in 1983, the year that marked the birth of Carnivore.
Natives of Brooklyn, NY, Carnivore spent their early years earning a reputation as one of the area's most dangerous bands. Crowds would stare in utter shock as these instrument-wielding warriors would take the stage clad in futuristic outfits that typified the meaning of Carnivore. Dressed to the hilt in fur-covered shoulder pads, spikes, hockey equipment, nails and anything that gave them the appearance of flesh-eating monsters, Carnivore frequently drenched the front rows of their audiences with blood, brains and innards, provoking a maniacal reaction like frenzied sharks being taunted with buckets of chum. In 1985, the deranged chaos of Carnivore was finally contained in vinyl, as their self-titled debut album surfaced from beneath the tainted earth. Based primarily around the concept of life after a thermonuclear war, Carnivore grabbed its listener by the balls and thrust them into a corrupt society where rape, murder and cannibalism were accepted as means of survival. With the release of their first album, Carnivore quickly found themselves loved by large masses locally, and hated by just as many.
Those totally offended by this ensemble of musical destruction showed no mercy in releasing their outrage, as the hulking 6'6" Steele occasionally received mail in the form of boxed cockroaches and dog feces. According to Peter, "People either said that we were great or that we sucked dick- but they never said that we sucked dick to my face!" This man could very well be the most frightening figure in music-one look and you'll understand why. One listen and you'll feel why. This brings us to the second and what would be the final Carnivore album, "Retaliation" (fall '87). As the band headed into more hardcore music and image territory, they felt it best to abandon the costumes and science-fiction attitude in favor of a more straight-from-the-heart approach.
Peter allowed his deepest feelings to ooze from the grooves of "Retaliation", as he touched on subjects ranging from racial tension ("Race war"), gang warfare ("Sex and Violence"), patriotism ("U.S.A. for U.S.A.") and intense anxiety ("Inner Conflict"). Following the release of "Retaliation", Carnivore were at the peak of their career, and they were on the verge of breaking free from the confines of Brooklyn and spreading their brand of nuclear mayhem across the rest of the globe. But in February '88, at the height of popularity, personal problems within the group surfaced and a rotting stench permeated the Brooklyn air, signifying the extinction of the deadly Carnivore. Now, nearly three years later, Peter again lurks the Earth above, this time fronting a brilliant new band that can be looked as the next dimension of Carnivore: Subzero.
Quite possibly the finest new band to emerge from under the streets of New York City, Subzero (Peter-vocals/bass, Kenny-guitar, Josh-keyboards, Sal-drums), pick up where Carnivore left off, taking the Carnivore foundation to new and exciting extremes engulfing the listener in a glorious world of musical anger, destruction, pain and spine-chilling fear. Carnivore may now only exist as a memory, but as long as you listen, you are free to walk through the rest of your days with the twisted ideology as your co-pilot: "If you can't eat it or fuck it, then kill it!" Note: since time of writing, Subzero has become Type O Negative