Hip-hop and hardcore are genres that, on paper, you wouldn’t think can mix well. However, when it comes to a band like Body Count, they’ve got it down to a science. Created for the sole purpose of allowing Ernie C to express his incredible abilities as a guitarist and fronted by the OG himself, Ice-T, since the early 90’s, they’ve been bringing attention to issues that plague the African-American community. Their latest album, ‘Bloodlust’, is the rawest, most real and eye-opening body of work in their career.
The album’s lead single, “No Lives Matter” focuses on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, starting with a speech from Ice-T that states that if someone counteracts that with “All Lives Matter,” they’re diluting the message and taking away from the issue at hand. The track focuses on the fact that, if you don’t have something of monetary value to offer, your life doesn’t matter. The instrumentals in this track have a hard rock sensibility to them – similar to modern Disturbed material – while T’s vocals are more geared towards a hardcore sensibility.
The album opens up with a track called “Civil War,” which begins with a PSA that warns that civil war has begun, all communication channels have been cut, and traitors will be shot. Heavily distorted guitars, a doom-like aura and an incredible guest guitar solo from Dave Mustaine make this track one of the best openers I’ve heard in this genre. The track also features some very low, deep growls in the chorus.
“All Love Is Lost” is a track that focuses on betrayal in a relationship and does a great job in cutting down the offending individual. Max Cavalera of Soulfly lends his unique, powerful brand of vocals to this track. This track has a groove-laden feel to it, with fast-paced drumming and lots of explicit lyrics. Once you cross someone like T, the response is cold, remorseless and uncaring to what happens to you in the future.
As the album progresses, you’ll hear another interview clip from Ice-T where he’s asked to explain the origin of the band. He states that three bands helped shape their sound: Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies, and Slayer. At that point, the opening riff to Slayer’s “Raining Blood” kicks in, and they offer an incredible homage to one of thrash’s greatest bands. This is one of the fastest-paced songs in the history of thrash, while also remaining one of the hardest to cover. It’s nearly uncharted territory in terms of covers because no band has been able to do it right. However, Body Count is the first and probably only exception to this.
I don’t know if it’s irony or coincidence, but Lamb of God has a track called “Walk With Me In Hell” and vocalist Randy Blythe guests on a track called “Walk With Me…” on this album. This album has a very dark and insane feel to it. You feel as though you’ve stepped into somewhere very sinister, this place being the deep, dark recesses of Ice-T’s mind; a place where many fear to tread. The lyrics recount the thoughts of a psychopath, bent on nothing more than total annihilation of anyone in his path.
The album progresses into the final track, “Black Hoodie.” The message is simple: it’s become acceptable to kill someone because of what they’re wearing. This track remains relentless in its plight to expose law enforcement for using police brutality and deadly force when completely unnecessary. You’d think that the band would slow down the pace a bit on the last track (as is the normal practice in this scene) but Body Count is anything but normal, remaining completely visceral throughout the entire album.
‘Bloodlust’ is an album that will instill fear, bring awareness to racism, and probably enrage a good portion of the American population. And that’s okay, because that’s exactly what the band wants, and they’re remorseless in that mission. Pick up your copy of the album, out on Century Media Records, March 31st, and prepare yourself for civil war!