||TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ON AND ICE-T AND COMPANY ARE STILL RAGING AT THE BODY COUNT
Body Count: 'Bloodlust'
Released 31st March 2017 (Century Media)
25th March 2017
Words: Ian Sutherland
Always a controversial figure, Ice-T is back on the Metal trail again with Body Count. Twenty-five years on from the furore that surrounded 'Cop Killer' he is now a successful businessman, has an ongoing acting career in mainstream TV and has sold millions of albums world wide. The furthest thing from an angry young man you can get you might think.
Yet here he is again, back with his buddy Ernie C supplying the riffs for him to rail at the injustices of society over. Why? Well according to the man himself:
"Music happens in climates," he says when asked about his expectations for the band's new opus. "Groups like Rage Against The Machine and Korn were born when the world was in turmoil, then music went into this delusional period where hip-hop became about nothing more than poppin' bottles. Now we have impending doom again, racism is at an all-time high and it's our season again."
"This is the optimal time for a Body Count record – as an artist, you can be as pissed off as you want, but if the audience is dormant and care more about their chai lattes, well...
"The 60s was real music, and Body Count was born into that - I'm going to tell you how I feel about shit, that's who I am and who I will always be. Now, in 2017, let's see if people are really as pissed off as they act like they are. We're dealing with a generation that has never known rage. They grew up on Obama, they're soft today."
Whatever the motivation the result is a brutal collection of social diatribes but with a sense of control and purpose and musically the best Body Count album since their debut. The Metal credentials are all covered with a guest appearance on the distinctly Megadeth-tinged riffing of 'Civil War' by Dave Mustaine himself and their Slayer influences openly acknowledged during the spoken intro to a great cover of 'Raining Blood'.
According to their main man Body Count was primarily formed as a vehicle for Ernie C to use his skills on the guitar and on 'Bloodlust' he really does seize the opportunity with all six strings. The brutal riffing on the likes of 'Walk With Me' may be expected but I'm not sure the high quality soloing we get all the way through 'God.Please Believe Me' is something that was associated with the Body Count sound back in the day.
It is still the man with the cool name who dominates proceedings though. The spoken intro and venomous vocal of 'No Lives Matter' just couldn't come from anyone else. Despite his age or his bank balance or anything else you might want to name the anger is palpable, the frustration with the world authentic. When he spits out lines like "They fuck whoever can't fight back, But now we got to change all that," there is no doubt possible, it's convincing and real and very, very effective.
There are a couple of moments where the OG Original Gangster roots show through in 'Black Hoodie' and 'The Ski Mask Way' which is all well and good but what really makes this particular version of Body Count stand out is the way in 'This Is Why We Ride' that they can combine controlled heavy riffing, a truly memorable guitar hook, a passionate vocal and an authentic story of life in the ghetto to make a truly great song which works on any level.
It may be twenty-five years on but in this fucked up world Body Count still have a place and if no one else can do songs that cross genres, songs that make you think, songs that make you punch the air, songs that have an authentic whiff of rebellion and genuine anger then Ice-T and his buddies have a duty to keep at it. Body Count still matter, don't doubt it.
Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.