Tuesday 23 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Body Count - "Bloodlust"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 31/03/2017
Label: Century Media Records

The production is superb, the performances fantastic and Ice-T turns in a stellar vocal performance.  Is this album as real as it gets? I have no idea, but it certainly seems convincing. Harrowing and enjoyable at the same time.

“Bloodlust” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Civil War (ft Dave Mustaine)
2). The Ski Mask Way
3). This Is Why We Ride
4). All Love Is Lost (ft Max Cavalera)
5). Raining In Blood/Postmortem 2017
6). God, Please Believe Me
7). Walk With Me (ft Randy Blythe)
8). Here I Go Again
9). No Lives Matter
10). Bloodlust
11). Black Hoodie

The Review:

Body Count are very much a going concern again. “Manslaughter” from a  couple of years ago went way beyond the tin-pot production values of earlier albums and delivered a muscular set of hardcore infused metal anthems.

With “Blood Lust”, Ice-T, Ernie C and side men are back in that groove again: the album is sometimes fast, often furious and packed with social commentary. A track by track is somewhat redundant here, so let's focus on the highlights and the overall theme of the album. Dave Mustaine pops up on opener “Civil War”, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God pops up for a vocal cameo later... all the tracks bristle with rage against society, authority and anything else you can name, really.

It's a dark and violent listen; “The Ski Mask Way” puts you in the mind of a violent criminal (and lists who tempts them), while Ice explains his perspective on revenge elsewhere on the record. Of course, Ice-T as a former soldier and very real gang member in South Central LA has more than a passing acquaintance with violence- albeit that those experiences are most likely decades in the rear view mirror- but it is that life experience that gives Body Count's message some level of gravitas. While I have no idea about the rest of the band's criminal past or hood credentials (Ernie C's most serious past crime is still the production to Sabbath'sForbidden” in the mid 90's in my view!), this is Ice's show. There is not a dragon, a dungeon or a noble quest within earshot. The premise is simple: the world is a mess, poverty is the real demon, people are evil, violent, selfish and lacking in loyalty and honour.

The explanation of Body Count prior to the, it has to be said, masterful Slayer cover(s) sums up Body Count very well: the doom sound of Sabbath, the street style of Suicidal Tendencies (scary dudes for sure) and the speed of Slayer. Ice-T is not playing at doing metal; he really loves it. I've always been fond of Body Count and Ice's solo hip hop albums (particularly “Home Invasion”, if you are asking).

The final three tracks are an urban dystopian nightmare; “No Lives Matter” decries race, poverty and, more importantly, the elite in a coherent and stinging manner. The title track is simply uncomfortable listening- and most definitely not for pacifists- while the coup de grace of “Black Hoodie” gives good commentary about what exactly is going on in America with the police and black people (according to Ice-T, at any rate).

The heroes and villains in Body Count's world are often two sides of the same coin, it seems. Much like rooting for Jason in the Friday 13th movies, you kind of want some people to “get what they deserve”- such is the appeal of gangsta rap as well as this kind of brutal metal. It's an exhausting listen and one that is a good deal more horrific than any death metal album you can care to name. At the end of listening to this record, I feel luckier than ever to live in the UK, that's for sure.

The production is superb, the performances fantastic and Ice-T turns in a vocal and lyrical performance that is a million miles away from his cosier TV appearances and persona. As real as it gets? I have no idea, but it certainly seems convincing. Harrowing and enjoyable at the same time.

Bloodlust” is available now

Band info: facebook