Overall Score: 9/10 Music: 9/10 Guests: 8/10 Production: 9/10 Pros: Hugely relevant lyrically. Cons: Virtually nothing.
Body Count have been a pioneering band for nearly 30 years now. Formed in 1990, they caused controversy with their anthem ‘Cop Killer’ and changed the game. It seems appropriate then that they have just dropped the most important album of 2017.
Yes, this is the most important album out right now. Body Count, and in particular their leader Ice-T, has always had a way of tackling the big issues in society. Bloodlust is no different. Bookended by two of the most socially relevant and explosive tracks they have ever written, it will get you thinking. Opener ‘Civil War’ features a narrative vocal and guitar solo from Megadeth main man Dave Mustaine. It sounds very reminiscent of something that you would find on ‘United Abominations’ but it sets the tone for the record perfectly. It paints a terrifying picture of America as a nanny state that has turned on itself, which to be perfectly honest isn’t too far from the truth. It’s a hell of a way to kick off the album.
‘The Ski Mask Way’ and ‘This Is Why We Ride’ are urban anthems, chronicling street life in a very vivid fashion while also showing both sides of their natural habitat. ‘The Ski Mask Way’ plays out like a skit, detailing a robbery and how gangs go about making money, like urban Robin Hoods stealing from the rich in order to survive, whereas ‘This Is Why We Ride’ is about the brotherhood that is found on the streets and is more about friendships and loss. Both songs are great and prove that even to this day Ice-T is still a very visual songwriter.
One of the standout moments on the album is one that you don’t expect. The Slayer medley. It’s an odd feeling getting halfway through a Body Count album and hearing the familiar opening to Raining Blood, but it’s a respectful and mostly faithful cover that is done with love – it has enough Body Count flavour to it that it doesn’t sound like a copy & paste job. ‘Post Mortem’, the other half of the medley, fairs a little better from the faster-paced vocal that matches the speed of the song.
Randy Blythe and Max Cavalera both turn up for guest spots, as Max features on ‘All Love is Lost’, a violent, anarchic ode to broken friendships and the things that come with that, sporting an instant iconic feel to it showcasing the best of Body Count and Max in one song. Randy appears on the track ‘Walk With Me’, one of the album’s darkest and doomiest tracks which feels like being invited into the mind of someone who isn’t all there. This theme carries over onto the serial killer anthem ‘Here I Go Again’, the most horrifying track on the album detailing the life of a serial killer in grisly detail. It’s a stomach-churning track that Cannibal Corpse would be proud of.
At the end of the album, you get what are sure to be the two most talked about tracks, ‘No Lives Matter’ and ‘Black Hoodie’. These two tracks alone are what give the album the title of most important of the year. ‘No Lives Matter’ features a spoken intro from Ice talking about the Black Lives Matter movement. The track itself tackles this subject and it does so in a very honest, raw and relatable way, talking about racial profiling and how the poor have always suffered and now it’s time to fight back. It was chosen as the album’s lead single and it’s not hard to see why – it’s an instant classic that has already got people talking.
The album closer ‘Black Hoodie’ takes things one step further, my favourite track on the album. It talks about the shooting of an innocent unarmed black youth, who is killed just because he is black and wearing a hoodie. The song hits like a left hook to the face, the one song on the album I can’t wait for people to hear just to see the reaction. These two tracks are a reflection of a very disturbing part of the society we live in. Just as Ice-T sung about police brutality in 1990 with ‘Cop Killer’, it seems that all this time later the problem has only got worse. I have to applaud the fact that both of these tracks made the album, they bring light to something that not enough people are talking about. They are also done in a way that is honest and not gratuitous which adds to their weight here.
Bloodlust is the most raw, honest, socially concious and relentlessly heavy that Body Count has released since their debut, showing that Ice-T is at his very best when he has something to fight against. It seems that today’s society has given him enough fuel for his most potent lyrics in years. Make no mistake about it, Body Count are still in the house.
Body Count’s Bloodlust is out now on Century Media Records.