Body Count – Bloodlust

It feels important to have a new Body Count album. It feels right to have Ice T utilizing this vehicle of expression right now. It also feels necessary to have an artist of stature and credibility to challenge and comment on some of the very real issues we’re living through; issues like the undermining of #BlackLivesMatter, and racial profiling and the high-profile killings of unarmed black males by police (‘Black Hoodie’).

It is important that Bloodlust (Century Media) isn’t just another Body Count album, and not just in terms of the musical legacy. It is essential that for the messages it contains to influence and hook, the music has to match the intent and the power of the message. Lead-off single ‘No Lives Matter’, the best song Body Count has written, period, delivered that credibility in spades and set the tone for the darkest BC album to date.

There are no fun-time party anthems anymore, no ‘Evil Dick’ calling late at night, as where Ice goes for his alternative subject matter to societal commentary is serial killer horror. However, there’s no denying that the whole band is most convincing on the tracks that make a point: ‘This Is Why We Ride’, a bruising stomping swagger about street-life; ‘Civil War’, a dark, mid-tempo menace that explodes into a ripping and excellent Dave Mustaine guest solo, critically highlighting the role the press has played in further dividing America; ‘No Lives Matter’; the neck-snapping groove of ‘Black Hoodie’.

Ice T is, of course, convincing, vocals front and centre, genuine hostility in his snarl, trading off with Randy Blythe on the pounding ‘Walk With Me…’, his tones so suitable to the chugging metal underneath. With the musical quality matching the lyrical intent, both in terms of heaviness – a weighty menace combining with the occasional thrashier breakout – and calibre, Bloodlust is the strongest and most consistent Body Count album to date, able to stand on the strength of the music alone, but enhanced by the evocative and contemporary lyrics.