After the long awaited return of Body Count in 2014, the release of Manslaughter proved that the band still had the energy, speed and power to deliver a great album which not only stood up to their critically acclaimed debut record, but also represented what metal had to offer at that time. Unfortunately after the band’s touring cycle there was no real indication if there was going to be a follow up due to Ice-T’s busy schedule. But, the band are back in 2017 with their new record Bloodlust.
This is an angry, pissed off album, fuelled by today’s problems of racism, police brutality and social inequality. The tone of the album is set immediately with “Civil War” which is a thick, and swinging mid-paced track that is complemented by the push and pull factor from the guitars. This song is a clear statement of what this album is about and where the journey is heading.
We are then thrown into “The Ski Mask Way” which is everything a Body Count song should be. It’s fast, the lyrics are contagious, and it is full of sections that make you want to throw down and two step. The breakdown is also something that Body Count have definitely perfected on the most recent albums. The way the band builds around Ice-T is top class and when that drop hits, it hits hard.
The best thing about this album is the grooves, you can hear how the band vibe off of one another and it’s not just the rhythm section. Ice-T is able to find and ride the beat through each of these tracks, even during a song like “This is Why We Ride” where there isn’t much happening with the guitars, he’s is able to bring flow to the verses.
Next up is “All Love is Lost” which in my opinion is the best track with a feature. The way Max Cavalera screeches between the Ice-T’s vocal lines is perfect. It’s very subtle yet unmistakable. Features can sometimes feel forced, whereas this feels like Max is part of the band.
One of the songs I wasn’t too fond of is the cover of “Raining Blood”. It’s definitely a good attempt but nowhere near as good as the original. It’s like when Machine Head covered “Battery” or when Trivium covered “Master of Puppets”, they are all decent but could never match the originals so why bother trying? However Body Count have proved in the past that they can deliver wicked covers. The way they approached “Institutionalized” on the last album was genius and I feel that they definitely played to their strengths on that song by adding over the top, tongue in cheek lyrics.
The album then gives you time to breathe as “God, Please Believe Me” begins. This is a short song that allows you to focus on the lyrics whilst the band jam between themselves before having your head caved in with “Walk With Me…” featuring Randy Blythe. This song is basically Body Count’s interpretation of a Lamb of God song and it’s wicked, especially the latter half when the guitars begin to harmonise over the main riff. This is one song I would love to see in the live set. Randy’s feature is great but then again everything Randy touches is gold.
“Here I Go Again” is a real throwback to songs like “Masters of Revenge” but with the vocal delivery of “Voodoo”. It’s an eerie track that builds as the song continues with the inclusion of orchestral instruments which gives a nod to David Elfman scores. Overall it’s quite a fun song that in Body Count fashion doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Coming close to the end of the album, “No Lives Matter” is definitely the stand out track. The band are in their element, trading off from one another which results in the listener being incapable to resist head banging. The lyrics in this song aren’t sugar coated in the slightest and are delivered with real passion. It’s another reason why I think that the album has more impact. Even though the jokes and tongue in cheek nature of Body Count is great, when they deliver a serious message like a lot of this album does it makes you spit the lyrics that much harder, especially when the chorus is as massive as it is on this track. The album then ends with “Bloodlust” and “Black Hoodie”, both of which are relentlessly heavy, groovy and jammed packed with riffs. After hearing the KRS-One rip for the first time, I couldn’t help but laugh but after multiple listens it definitely grew on me.
Overall, this album holds up with the best of Body Count, it’s one of their more cohesive records and the ferocity never really dies other than a couple of breathers from to time to time. If you are a die-hard BC fan then this will not disappoint you. It’s fun yet has a serious message behind the music which may have been lost throughout the years but Body Count are definitely as vital as ever.
Second Opinion – Mosh
I’ve had the album on heavy repeat in the car (when the kids aren’t with me, in case the wife reads this) for the last couple of weeks. Where 2014’s Manslaughter managed some tongue in cheek tracks like “Bitch in the Pit” alongside some catchy riffage, Bloodlust is just pure heavy.
It’s an angry album, full of more rage than I think I’ve ever heard condensed into a single Body Count release before. Given the shape of the world at the moment, though, and rap’s history of social commentary it’s not surprising.
Body Count have released an album for our times. It’s just indicative of what a mess we’re in that the resultant creation is so full of rage and bitterness.
Bloodlust is released on 31st March