I remember when Body Count released their first album, then their second and a third shortly afterwards. There was nigh on a decade between each of the next two, but it looks like we’re on a regular schedule again with Carnivore coming only three years after the excellent Bloodlust. There’s been an up and down pattern to the albums, some being better than others with the recent ones being particularly strong – so how does Carnivore fit in?
Well, as you’d expect, it’s angry and rather expletive-ridden. Because it’s Ice-muthafuckin’-T, bitch. The title track kicks things off and it’s as heavy a track as Body Count have ever done. The perfect blend of Mr T’s rap trappings and the band’s metal creds. You can check it out at the end of this review.
It’s not alone in being a bit of a new classic, either. There are some great songs on here such as the excellent “No Remorse”, a typical rant from Ice-T: “If you was on fire, I wouldn’t piss on you; If you were starving, I wouldn’t fix you a hot bowl of shit”. Subtle. And combined with a relentless heavy beat and short, choppy guitar riffs it absolutely pounds. Think of it as “Institutionalized 2014”, but slower and heavier. Same anger, different pace. Want something more bouncy? “Thee Critical Beatdown” is for you, one to nod the head to until the pre-chorus circle pit opens up. It’s nothing compared to the flurry of violence that is “The Hate Is Real”, though. Expect blood when this one kicks in at a live show. The guitar tones on the slower sections really evoke Slayer.
There are some other highlights as well. An updated version of classic track “Colors” works extremely well, adding metal to a rap original. As for the “other artist” cover, this time around we get the undeniably classic “Ace of Spades”. No intro needed (but we get one, a heartfelt message to Lemmy), and the band really do it justice. Hell, much as I loved BC’s version of “Raining in Blood” (sic), this is one better. The sound is meatier and Ice-T nails the vocal performance.
Three notable vocal performances round things off. Power Trip’s Riley Gale features on an appropriately thrashy number, “Point The Finger”. Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta partners up on “Another Level”, bringing a hardcore edge to the song. Finally, the band really throw in a surprise with Evanescence’s Amy Lee guesting on “When I’m Gone”, a song written in tribute to Nipsey Hussle who was killed while the album was being made. Her airy vocals counterpoint Ice-T’s perfectly, creating a genuinely new sound for Body Count. Completely unexpected, perhaps a bit of an odd fit on the album, but utterly worth listening to.
Ex-Slayer tub-thumper Dave Lombardo rears his legendary head as well, bashing hell out of the skins on the aforementioned “Colors” cover.
Carnivore is a very worthy addition to the Body Count catalogue. I’d not rank it as my favourite of a now decently-sized discography, but definitely up there. They’re still a fairly unique band in terms of sound, and Ice-T is still one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen live. This album gives them another ten tracks to hammer us all with from the stage, and I await the first festival bill to feature both BC and Evanescence in the hope that we get a live guest appearance and “When I’m Gone” getting the performance it deserves!
Carnivore is out on March 6th – grab it from Amazon and support this site!