American heavy metal band Body Count, fronted by rap legend Ice-T, released their 6th full-length studio album Bloodlust on 31 March 2017 through Century Media.
I have loved Body Count since I first heard the song Body Count on Ice-T’s solo album O.G.: Original Gangster from 1991 and wishing for an entire metal album from that very band, which eventually happened in 1992. The rawness of their debut album introduced me to cultural issues I knew nothing about living 6,000 miles away. But there was just something about the combination of their lyrics and sound I found very appealing. I was even lucky enough to get a first-press CD with the now-banned Cop Killer track. I first found it inappropriate, but then understood the reasoning behind it. Body Count’s sophomore record Born Dead (1994) got many plays in my CD player for the better part of the 90s, but I somehow lost touch with the band and their albums Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997) and Murder 4 Hire (2006) never reached me. But Manslaughter (2014) did and the record brought back my interest and appreciation for Body Count. Not only did the band sound much more mature, it also presented its songs in a much better production.
Fast forward 3 years – enter Bloodlust (2017). To say it in Ice-T’s words, “If you like Manslaughter, Bloodlust is twice the slaughter.” In a time when the world seems more culturally and politically divided than ever, in a time when extremes become the new normal, the messages that Body Count has been giving us for the past 25 years still hold true today. Songs like No Lives Matter, The Ski Mask Way, or the title-track Bloodlust express the same rawness as songs from past records like There Goes the Neighborhood, Born Dead, or Talk Shit, Get Shot, but introduce a much more sophisticated and intellectual nuance sonically and emotionally. Bringing in Dave Mustaine, Max Cavalera and Randy Blythe as guests added diversity to the music. And when I saw that Body Count covered the thrash metal classic Raining In Blood from Slayer on Bloodlust, my heart popped. I have seen Body Count live and thought that they sounded much better onstage than on any record in regard to their sound and performance. I can’t see how that can still hold true after this record, but I’m very anxious for Ice-T and the guys to prove me wrong.
In closing: Body Count’s Bloodlust is a masterpiece that combines raw energy with sonic and emotional sophistication and intellect. One of the best metal albums in 2017 thus far.