When rapper Ice-T formed Body Count around 1990, it was from his love of heavy metal — specifically Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer. 1992's self-titled debut created a whirlwind of controversy with the single "Cop Killer," prompting a slew of politicians and celebrities to silence Ice-T and his band.
Twenty-five years (and a handful of under-the-radar BC albums) later, Ice-T and crew unveil Bloodlust, a true touchstone in the band's long career. Unlike Korn or Limp Bizkit's rap metal, Ice is actually singing his politically charged lyrics (like a cross between Testament and Biohazard). The one-two punch of openers "Civil War" (with a blistering guest-solo by Dave Mustaine) and "The Ski Mask Way" is cudgelling crossover that keeps the pedal to the metal.
The slower "This Is Why We Ride" and "All Love Is Lost" (with Max Cavalera on backing vocals) finally allow some breath-catching moments before their exceptional Slayer (Ice-T's favourite metal act) covers, "Raining Blood" and "Postmortem." They're curiously reversed here from the original 1986 album sequence, but it makes no difference, as founding guitarist Ernie C. totally shreds on his thrashy soloing.
The title track and "Walk With Me" (featuring Randy Blythe sharing vocals with Ice) reveal more street-crime brutality, but the frenetic "No Lives Matter" and "Black Hoodie" underline the chilling revelation that Body Count's message hasn't changed in two-plus decades. Though racism, police cruelty and corruption are even more rampant in today's world (or maybe, because of it), Ice-T and Body Count remain one of metal's most engaging and insightful voices. (Century Media)