It’s not unfair to say that Body Count have always been a bit of a joke. Not in a ‘look how stupid they are’ way, but in the sense that in the past they’ve written songs about murdering your mum. Ice-T seemed to view his heavy metal side project as a chance to kick off his shoes and have a laugh. Yet, with the world seemingly intent on shooting itself in the guts for a slow and painful death, a politically fueled Body Count suddenly seems like a great idea. And they’ve delivered.
‘Our leaders are evil, lie after lie’ not only have Body Count brought the politics but they’re not mixing their words either. ‘Civil War’ has Dave Mustaine providing his always impressive guitar chops but it’s really all about Ice-T. His inch-perfect delivery has a fire to it and works brilliantly with the slow groove of the song.
In fact, you could pick out any song on this album and praise Ice-T’s performance on it. There’s a passion to his vocals that you can’t fake. On tracks like ‘This Is Why We Ride’ you believe he means every word and there’s a spoken word section in it that will send chills down your spine. It’s unfair to dismiss the rest of the band but this is his album, and it’s great to hear him bringing that edge to Body Count.
We won’t entirely ignore the band, though, and it’s worth saying that this is a proper metal album. Body Count bring the heavy and tracks like ‘All Love Is Lost’ are real ragers. Ernie C and Juan of the Dead both have a shit load of groove in their guitar playing, and if you put them on stage with any metal band in the world, they won’t sound out of place.
I could do without the Slayer covers in the middle of the album. Particularly as they are introduced with what’s basically a short interview with Ice-T. The covers themselves aren’t offensive, but they break the flow and in amongst songs with so much to say they are quite frankly not needed.
For when you hit tracks like ‘No Lives Matter’ and ‘Black Hoodie’ you realise that Body Count don’t need to cover Slayer songs. They’ve got their own music, and in 2017 it’s more important than another version of ‘Raining Blood’. These songs grab you round the throat and demand you listen. I’m not going to quote the lyrics here because to read them without the delivery takes away half the power. They’re the songs that turn Body Count from a lot of fun into an important band.
Body Count have always felt a bit throw away. It was cool to have a guy like Ice T come into our world and show that he has as much love for this stuff as we all do, but it was never as serious as his rap career. This is the album that changes that. It is the one where Body Count stand up and take a stand, and it’s all the better for it. It’s damn near impossible for a song to change the world but the more people we have saying these things the better, and Bloodlust has a lot to say.