Body Count - Bloodlust album review

Ice-T’s metal crew make a timely return

Cover art for Body Count - Bloodlust album

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When Body Count returned in 2014 with Manslaughter, it was, according to Ice-T, “just a way of seeing if anybody still gave a fuck about Body Count.” They did. Body Count emerged as one of the most popular festival draws over the next year, but the feverish enthusiasm for Ice T’s notorious metal/hardcore project had less to do with the strength of Manslaughter than with a dewy-eyed resurgence of 90s nostalgia. Thankfully, Bloodlust is anything but Manslaughter II. Compositionally, the new material erupts with sharp, ultra-heavy riffs that transcend its predecessor’s generic, metal-by-numbers approach. Instead, Bloodlust showcases ambitious song structures, punishing hardcore tempos and wild, inventive solos as on opener Civil War – which features Dave Mustaine – and the pummelling title track.

Lyrically, Ice-T delivers his most scathing, profane and incisive condemnations since 1992’s Cop Killer, best heard on highlights Black Hoodie and No Lives Matter, which opens with a powerful spoken-word takedown of the All Lives Matter response to the Black Lives Matter movement. An utterly steroidal production, a blistering cover of Raining Blood and guest turns from Randy Blythe and Max Cavalera are simply icing on the cake. At times Bloodlust relies a bit too heavily on ultra-graphic crime fetishisation, as on Here I Go Again. But written in the bitter months leading up to the US Presidential election, this is a serious and thoroughly engrossing collection of violent, provocative protest music sure to inspire debate and to blow out a few speakers along the way.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.