25 years ago a landmark album in the rap and metal genres was released. Body Count’s debut album got attention, publicity and courted controversy whilst simultaneously laying down another important block in the foundations of what would later become known as Rap Metal. The band, formed in 1990 by Ernie C, the principal composer and Ice ‘Mother Fuckin’ T, the primary song writer, two long-time friends who held a love for metal and wanted an outlet for it alongside his solo career as a rapper (And later, fictional detective… yeah, spot the irony there!) and for the past 27 years, they have been bringing their take on society, politics and life in the seedier underbelly of Los Angeles. Anyway, enough talk, it’s time for Bloodlust.
Whilst the band in their subsequent releases following the self-titled debut haven’t received as much acclaim and success, 2014 saw ‘Manslaughter’ start to pull the band back towards the hard hitting, raw and gritty debut album feel. Bloodlust thankfully keeps that trajectory up, musically and lyrically.
With a very prominent angry feel, “Civil War” opens the release and given the opening soundbyte over a very militaristic feel, pounding groove, it could well be painting a picture of America in months to come. Raw, expressive, venomous lyric delivery and plenty of anger surging through it, especially in the latter parts of the track where Dave Mustaine lends his unmistakable harsh-toned fretwankery to give even more foil for Ernie C’s slick leads and riffs, it is a solid album opener.
From there, we continue as usual. “The Ski Mask Way” is a cleverly executed stab at the ‘flash it if you have it’ mindset most people have today (selfies with expensive items or new cars etc) told from the perspective of armed robbers, “This Is Why We Ride” paints a grim picture of life in South Central and many other hoods across the USA and well known shouter and godfather figure Max Cavalera lends his angry man shouting parts to “All Love Is Lost”. The opening assault of tracks is like most material from Body Count – familiar sounding riff patterns, steady and tight delivery rhythmically and gratuitous use of angry sounding vocals, complete with more swearing than a meeting of Ave Noctum reviewers when discussing a band!
Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God) shares vocal lead duties on “Walk With Me”, a hard hitting, groove laden rap metal monster of a track and the heavy hitting closing trio of “No Lives Matter”, “Bloodlust” and “Black Hoodie”, the first and third tracks mentioned in these three being promotional tracks aired which are rooted in the race relation issues plaguing America (police brutality, racism, hate crimes) show that Ice and the guys have lost none of their edge over the years!
The elephant in the room though on this release, is the Slayer cover. “Raining In Blood/Postmortem” is an anomaly putting it bluntly. The standard Slayer cover theme fits here – musically correct, vocally different (Ice T being the angry shouting man with a delivery which seems more winging it on karaoke than fully committed)… not to mention the whole ‘Doesn’t Postmortem come before Raining?’ moment… And the fact it doesn’t even come close to the cover of Institutionalized from the previous release…. Yeah, it’s not good and it does kind of disrupt the flow of the album… But fuck it! In the greater scheme of things which concern the whole release, it kinda works in some strange way.
Overall, you know what a Body Count release is going to be like; Hard, aggressive, raw, emotionally charged and gratuitous usage of the word ‘Motherfucker’. This is a scathing music based medium for shouting out against civil injustices and inequality and “Bloodlust” does what it has to. In the so called ‘Age Of The Easily Offended’, this release is bound to upset people, and I will happily sit there, listening to it and enjoying the misfortune of those offended by it…. Motherfucker!