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Body Count - Bloodlust album review

Rap-metal elder statesmen rage against the machine

Cover art for Body Count - Bloodlust album

Amazingly, 25 years have elapsed since Body Count first ignited worldwide controversy with their inflammatory anthem Cop Killer. Depressingly, LA gangsta rapper turned rocker Ice-T is still addressing similar themes of racism, poverty and police brutality on the group’s sixth album, and they feel more relevant than ever.

With his targeted anger, muscular machismo and rousing rhetorical skills, Ice was always a natural fit for the apocalyptic melodrama of metal. Indeed, by addressing some long-standing real-life horrors currently being amplified in Trump-era America, the 59-year-old rapper puts the theatrical doom fantasies of most thrash bands in the shade. Body Count don’t just rock, they also bite.

Featuring a pretty solid cover of Slayer’s Raining Blood alongside cameos by Dave Mustaine, Max Cavalera and Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe, Bloodlust is an impressively rich and robust work. Fiery nu-metal riff-slammers like Civil War (with Mustaine guesting), This Is Why We Ride and the fantastic single No Lives Matter are powerhouse political sermons with a topical edge, while All Love Is Lost (featuring Cavalera) is a cathartic howl of vengeful nihilism.

A few lesser tracks overplay the voyeuristic horror-movie violence, but otherwise Body Count are sounding much more like hardcore elder statesmen than a shock-rock side project.