Ice-T’s groove/thrash/rap metal band, Body Count, released this 2017 record just a couple of weeks ago and, if you know anything about the band’s prior releases (or the personality of Ice-T), you can probably already guess where this record is going to plant itself on the social spectrum. One that thing that is slightly different this time around, though, is the overall tone of the record. In the past, this band has often had a keen sense of tongue-in-cheek humor to accommodate their social statements. This time around, things are much more gruesome and menacing. This record is mean, folks, and it’s an unfortunate fact that this record accurately captures the anxiety of the times.
This record opens with the ripping track, “Civil War”, which features a guitar spot and spoken dialogue from metal legend, Dave Mustaine, and much like you would find throughout Megadeth’s catalog, there exists an alarming level of paranoia within the subject matter. Of course, the point of the track is to cut through this in order to point of the objective realness of the subject matter in our 21st century world. This record has no shortage of star power, as Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly) gives aid to Ice-T and the guys on “All Love Is Lost”, which is a harrowing critique of the falsehoods that remain so prevalent of our current society. After this track, the band gives us a double-track cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” and “Postmortem”, and frankly, it just feels awkward. The band play it as honestly to the original version as they possibly could, and though the band’s guitarist, Ernie C, certainly has chops and rips through the opening, but by the time Ice-T comes in with the vocals, things just get off track. However, further on down the record, the listener is treated to “No Lives Matter”, which is quite possibly the best metal track of the year thus far. It should be noted that this track could very easily serve as the soundtrack to the revolution, which this record seems to be attempting to paint. The band do an incredible job of encompassing all of the less fortunate citizens of this county on this track, painting a miserable view of class war that will no doubt be uncomfortable for the coziest of listeners.
This record, when all is said and done, turns out to be quite a mixed bag. Certain tracks, life “No Lives Matter” and “Civil War”, represent some of the very best material that this band has ever produced. It’s also worth noting that the guest spots on the record from Dave Mustaine, Max Cavalera, and Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), definitely add to the overall heaviness and intensity of this record. Body Count are not pretenders and they prove this many times on this record. However, too much of the material found on this record is second-rate and surely falls below the standard that has already been set by the band in the past. With that said, Ice-T has definitely earned his place in the history of popular music. His lyrics on this record, when the record is succeeding, are top-notch and he has innate flair and command as a frontman. This alone is capable of keeping the record afloat when it starts to trail off. Sadly, there is just too much filler on this record to prevent it from being an instant classic, even with the backing of “No Lives Matter”.