By Doug Walker
Back in the early ’90s, as metal was giving way to grunge a few years before the record industry began to die, Body Count stepped firmly on the scene and delivered a crossover masterpiece like none other with their debut release, featuring seminal hip-hop pioneer Ice T and metal guitar mastermind Ernie C. It was, quite possibly the most definitive and literal example of heavy metal/hip-hop crossover that had come out at the time. This was when music was still “dangerous” and they were in a whirlwind of controversy over their anthem ‘Cop Killer’. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone who didn’t live through it, but they pissed everyone’s parents off more than any other metal band, which made them very easy to love. Throughout their career, they’ve been sporadic with their releases, but the newest one comes a few years from its predecessor and has all the teeth and heaviness you would expect if you had only heard their first album.
It’s very easy to overlook a band when the frontman is such a high profile personality as Ice-T. But that’s doing yourself a disservice because this band absolutely kills it. Ernie C, the mastermind, is what would happen if Rocky George got locked in a room with Jeff Hanneman and they merged into one person. The speed and the fury of Slayer with the attitude and shredding of metal-era Suicidal Tendencies.
The rhythm section is absolutely relentless whether they are holding a heavy groove, or going at the speed of light. Vincent Price on the bass, Ill Will on the drums, and Juan of the Dead holding down the rhythm guitar deliver an incredibly precise package and keep the space filled up completely, never really letting up.
Ice-T is… well, he’s Ice-T. He hasn’t lost any of his venom. His lyrics and subject matter is just as hard as it was 25 years ago, and every bit as current and relevant as it was back then. This isn’t James Hetfield being young, dark and edgy growing up to write dad-metal “wild hogs” lyrics… this is murderous rage and introspection into the darkness he carries with him. There’s a poignancy to it, and the urgency is beyond clear. It’s very easy to follow him as he navigates you through the darkest corners of the world and his psyche.
The album ‘Bloodlust’ tends to have more groove oriented tracks than thrash burners. Had this been their second record in 1994, we never would have heard of Rage Against the Machine. When they go thrash, however… it’s absolutely glorious. When I saw the track listing, my heart skipped a beat. I saw a song title and thought to myself… “Nah…that’s not what I think it is.” So of course I skipped directly to that track, and after a brief faux-interview intro explaining the history and formation of the band, they launch into a nearly flawless cover of ‘Raining Blood’. Yes. The Slayer one. There’s like 1 or 2 missing notes from a few of the riffs, but that’s seriously splitting hairs and only the nerds are gonna catch it.
I was excited to get this record. I was excited to listen to it all the way through, and I’m excited to tell everyone they should get excited about it. Body Count delivers the perfect Body Count record with ‘Bloodlust’.
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Record Label: Century Media
Release Date: March 31st 2017
01. Civil War (4:23)
02. No Lives Matter (4:23)
03. The Ski Mask Way (3:36)
04. Black Hoodie (3:30)
05. All Love Is Lost (3:37)
06. Raining Blood (4:32)
07. Here I Go Again (3:32)
08. This Is Why We Ride (5:27)
09. Bloodlust (3:35)
10. Walk With Me (3:07)
11. God Please Believe Me (1:23)
Total Duration: 41:05