Words By: Gerrod Harris
Released Date: March 31st, 2017 via Century Media
Body Count, the metal rap band who shocked the world in 1992 with “Cop Killer” are back with Bloodlust, a record as controversial and vicious as they have ever been. Bloodlust marks the first album from Ice-T and the crew since 2014’s Manslaughter, only this time, they brought along a handful of featuring artists- including Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe– to further blur the lines between rap and metal in a brutally brilliant manner.
The album opens with the tone setting track, “Civil War”, a blistering take on the current state of America. Much of Bloodlust takes aim at the intersection of three major themes: poverty, black America in 2017, and the tyrant known as the president of the country. “Civil War” evolves from a grooving halftime into an incredibly up-tempo thrasher that rivals the precision, control, and speed of legends of the likes of Metallica and Megadeth. Speaking of which, the track also features the incredible guitar work of Dave Mustaine as he delivers a killer solo. The album continues to display an aggressively heavy side to Body Count, especially “All Love Is Lost” which features the violent screams of Soulfly’s Max Cavalera. Similarly, the band’s collaboration with Randy Blythe on “Walk With Me…” makes the track stand out as one of the heaviest that Bloodlust has to cover. Blythe’s vocals; fast, throaty, and aggressive, contrast nicely with Ice-T’s stretched out lines- all of which are just as aggressive and assertive.
Bloodlust is not just an album that thrives when Body Count plays at their heaviest. In fact, I think what makes the album so exciting is their ability to fuse together elements of thrash and modern metal along with sections which lend themselves more to hard rock and demonstrate their ability to groove in a tight fashion. This is best heard in the records singles, especially “No Lives Matter”, a poignant anthem which examines how Americans are divided and pitted against each other by systematic issues- ranging from deep rooted racial and classist issues- which allow for politicians and the rich elite to prosper on top of such suffering. The track is as heavy as it is deep, but falls more towards modern rock rather than metal, giving the album a nice change of pace. This is also seen excellently in “The Ski Mask Way”, “This Is Why We Ride”, and the final track, “Black Hoodie”, all of which are simply great songs.
Bloodlust is a violent album. There is no denying that it is nothing less than a nightmare for someone like Tipper Gore. To put it bluntly, Bloodlust sounds exactly like what your parents were afraid you would become after years of intense listening to gangster rap and metal music; however, to write it off for its violent lyrical content is to over simplify and to turn away from the issues at hand. Body Count has delivered their response to so many of the problems that are ruining the lives of thousands of Americans on a daily basis, and ultimately, are leaving America dangerously divided. This is a record filled to the brim with tension and years of aggression, yet it acts as the voice of so many minorities. Furthermore, aside from dissecting the racial issues and the struggles such minorities feel under the Trump administration, the album looks at the effects such a violent a divided state can have on ones mental health, from the crippling remorse of “God, Please Believe Me” to the sexually sociopathic fantasies of “Here I Go Again”, Bloodlust makes it clear that these issues are far bigger than black and white and effect all aspects of American life. The album even draws clear comparisons between the present and Los Angeles in the 1990’s, which begs the biggest question: in the span of over two decades, shouldn’t we have moved forward from here? Musically, Bloodlust is as exciting and bombastic a record in Body Count’s entire career. From the hard hitting grooves of “No Lives Matter” to Ice-T’s tribute to Slayer on “Raining In Blood/Postmortem 2017”, Bloodlust does a near perfect job of blending modern hard rock, hip-hop, and metal in a way that almost no one has been able to do in such a unique, masterful, and stylish manner since Rage Against The Machine. In short, Body Count have delivered what can easily be among the best albums of 2017 with Bloodlust.
1: Civil War
2: The Ski Mask Way
3: This Is Why We Ride
4: All Love Is Lost
5: Raining In Blood/Postmortem 2017
6: God, Please Believe Me
7: Walk With Me…
8: Here I Go Again
9: No Lives Matter
11: Black Hoodie