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Body Count - Bloodlust album review

Ice-T’s metal crew make a timely return

Cover art for Body Count - Bloodlust album

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.

Joe Daly

Camped out in Southern California, Joe pens features, reviews albums and covers live shows for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock. When he’s not bothering his neighbours with Rammstein, Joe’s typically off playing ice hockey, fumbling around on a bass or letting his dogs guilt him into a nice long walk.