Body Count Carnivore

Century Media Records


Body Count

Body Count and especially their main vox dude, Ice-T, need no introduction. That’s for shizzle, ma nizzle! If you don’t know who they/he are/is then clearly you have been exiled on a doughnut shaped space station, these past thirty years (original glazed style, with hole). Anyway, Google is your friend (and data-hungry/private information stalker and seller), so use it.

Body Count and Ice-T remind me, fondly, of my student days. Long, lazy, state-funded days spent nursing cheaply-bought hangovers while lounging on one of many grotty, moth-nibbled sofas, sipping oily, microwaved coffee (often spiked after 11am) and baffling similarly hungover housemates with newly studied variations of the Queen’s gambit. Unfortunately I rarely converted bafflement into victory - I didn’t (still don’t) have a chess-brain. Those long days of sublime laziness were gloriously soundtracked with all manner of tunes... the great Fugazi were a mainstay, as were Pavement, Sonic Youth and the Ramones... shouts of “Gabba, Gabba, Hey” often accompanied largely unsuccessful attempts to catapult a beer bottle cap at any daring mouse seen running for it’s life across the window ledge. We did register a few hits over the years and it was often, appropriately, Ice-T or Body Count that were pumping out of the big fuckin’ beatbox when we did. Mouse Killer! Don’t worry, vegans, mice can survive both an artillery strike and an eight metre tumble into freezing water... I think.

But before Body Count there was Ice-T. By his own admission the “dopest, flyest, o.g, pimp, hustler, gangsta, player, hardcore motherfucker living today”, usually found in his crib with some exiled, Roedean-educated, posh girl straddling his dong. Well yes, maybe, Mr Ice. Anyway, TMI. But I bet you can’t sit still while ‘New Jack Hustler’, ‘O.G’ or ‘Race War’ are spinning! No, you most certainly can’t... and if you can then you are groove-less, and certainly not dope, mofuh. Ice introduced Body Count at Lollapalooza in 1991. Largely the brainchild of himself and Ernie C, they had significant early success but it’s all been a bit same-ish since then, in my opinion. That’s okay though coz if you like Body Count, well, you like Body Count. So, with no further cop-killing ado, let’s get into the new album. March 6th is release-day for ‘Carnivore’, their seventh studio outing. You’ll get ten tracks of pretty familiar sounding stuff and I like the cover very much, even if it does remind me of those stuffed corpses put on display in museums by that weird (necrophiliac?) German doctor whose name I’ve forgotten.

The album opens with ‘Carnivore’ which kicks in with the ever-present cop car siren wailing behind an evil-sounding, somewhat dissonant, guitar melody. Then crunch, a big, fucking. meaty staccato riff-underpinned rap followed by a very crossoverish riff. I hear shades of Gojira in this track too. As usual with Body Count, it’s a mash up of lots of different styles. Track 1 is a pretty cool song actually. ‘Point The Finger’ is very bay area and features Riley Gale of Dallas-based Power Trip. Nothing new here, neither is it convincing. Track 3, ‘Bum-Rush’, has a beautifully present bass rumbling under it. This song is, again, very bay area. ‘The Ace of Spades’, obviously, needs no introduction. Nice that they are paying hommage to the God of metal, Lemmy, but this just stinks of filler to me. ‘Another Level’ features Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. It’s not a bad song but again the guest vox don’t really add much. Tbh I prefer Ice’s voice, both his raps (when he sounds like the O.G) and singing (when he sounds like Tom Araya).

The sixth song, ‘Colors 2020’, rocks when played loud. I was expecting to hear a Metallica cover when I saw the title ‘No Remorse’ but thankfully no. This is quite a groovy song combining the best of staccato nu-metal type riffing with Ice’s sharp rapping. He delivers a great lime with: “If you was on fire I wouldn’t piss on you”. ‘When I’m Gone’ was inspired by the death, by gunshot wounds, of up and coming rapper Nipsey Hu$$le and features Amy Lee of Evanescence. Lee’s vocal parts and the melodies floating over the crunchy bits serve to give this song a feel and a peak which the other tracks mostly fail to reach. This, the opening track and ‘The Hate Is Real’ are, in my opinion, the best on the album. ‘Thee Critical Beatdown’ is more bay area meets rap... it gallops along nicely and features a few nice breaks, a cool half-tempo chorus and a well-placed piece of scratching. Track 10, ‘The Hate Is Real’, was the first I heard. Great song... has a very mid to late 80s crossover feel (think DRI’s ‘Three Of A Kind’) and a Slayer vibe too, especially when Ice sings “The love is fake but the hate is real” and it’s very Jeff Hanneman under the guitar leads. On deluxe versions there is an eleventh song, ‘6 In The Morning’ but my dump didn’t include it.

I’m not sure how to sum this album up. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ice-T and the things he does although that is probably rooted more in a nostalgia for the good old days than in an appreciation of high quality, especially recently. I really don’t think “O.G” will ever be topped, nor Body Count’s first album. Most of the songs on this album don’t really seem to go anywhere... they don’t seem to peak either. Not that they’re bad... I mean they pack a punch and they deliver what Body Count has been doing for years but it all sounds a bit stale, with the exception of the three songs highlighted earlier. If you like Body Count then you will probably like this... but yours truly will stick to the old stuff. 60/100, at a stretch, probably more like a 55/100. (A.J.)


01. Carnivore
02. Bum Rush
03. Thee Critical Beatdown
04. Ace Of Spades
05. Another Level
06. Colors
07. When I’m Gone (feat. Amy)
08. They Point The Finger
09. No Remorse
10. The Hate Is Real