Body Count - Bloodlust album review

Rap-metal elder statesmen rage against the machine

Cover art for Body Count - Bloodlust album

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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.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.