Bodycount - Manslaughter 01June 10th, 2014: I looked out of my window and saw pigs flying, and shortly thereafter received a text from Satan asking why Hell just froze over. Suddenly I remembered that Ice-T’s rap metal outfit Body Count had just released Manslaughter, so I grabbed hold of one of the aforementioned pigs and flew to my local record store to pick up a copy. Upon hearing Manslaughter in its entirety, I texted Satan the answer to his question: “because a great rap metal album was released in 2014.”

I’m going to get the obvious out of the way right now: Manslaughter is big, loud, obnoxious, and politically incorrect. Its success lies in Body Count embracing all of those things without a shred of irony, while also emphasizing the metal aspect of rap metal. Manslaughter is full of riffs and hooks that call Hatebreed, Sick of it All, and Terror to mind, aiming for the lizard brain and succeeding in a big way. “Enter the Dark Side” builds up to some stupidly heavy riffs and a midsection beatdown that calls vintage Celtic Frost to mind, and “Talk Shit, Get Shot” has some of the catchiest, most infectious chugging on the album, as well as sixteen idioms for getting shot, which was too good to not mention.

Bodycount - Manslaughter 02

All of the riffs in the world wouldn’t matter if Body Count had a bad frontman, but Ice-T is a respected veteran in the rap scene for a good reason: he’s a prodigious and charismatic presence behind the mic, and his performance on Manslaughter reinforces that. Ice-T’s lyrics are incredibly entertaining throughout, with his 2014 update of Suicidal Tendencies‘ “Institutionalized” being a definite highlight. His phrasing is spot on in every song, and his intense delivery drives home the point that this is a metal album, albeit one with rap elements. Hatebreed‘s Jamey Jasta drops in for “Pop Bubble,” and hearing him and Ice-T try to out-angry each other about the current state of music over some catchy aggro riffing is a ton of fun.

Manslaughter is loud, obnoxious, and politically incorrect, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a ridiculously entertaining listen because of it. While it’s hindered a bit by a lack of variety, the overall enthusiasm of the band (which features alumni of Steel Prophet and Agent Steel), Ice-T’s great performance, and the criminally underrated Ernie C.’s standout guitar solos keep the album from getting tedious. The faster material actually works this time around (a Body Count first), and I can’t stress enough that even though it’s technically a rap metal album, it’s rap metal in the sense of Ice-T fronting Hatebreed as opposed to garbage like Limp Bizkit or Hacktivist. Manslaughter aspires to be a great album of pummeling, politically incorrect fun, and it succeeds on all counts.

Tracks to Check: “Talk Shit, Get Shot,” “Manslaughter,” “Institutionalized 2014,” “Enter the Dark Side”

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    You wouldn’t think making a good rap metal album would be much harder than making a good rap album or a good metal album. Sure, it’s always difficult melding two different styles but really when you think about it, a lot of metal is fast and has some guttural screams that go by without much pitch variation. Have a rapper come in and rap and change up the lyrics and you can make a rap metal song out of, say, a Morbid Angel.

    Seriously, try rapping to the lyrics of Maze of Torment. It totally works.

    • Next you will say that Stomp 442 was good. ;)

      • Silence!

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Ha! I’m not that deluded!

      • It is good dammit. Volume 8 on the other hand….

  • I’m officially annoyed that I’m liking this.

  • Flämmer

    I wonder if he uses the xbox one or the 360

    • De2013

      Well they recorded the record in 2013, possibly as of May. The release of Xbox One was in November. Therefore I guess, at the time of writing the song he was killing people online with his 360.

    • Our Fortress Is Burning

      Neither. He’s clearly singing about the original Xbox from 2001. ;)

      • Flämmer

        Well played, sir.

  • People tend to put the blame squarely on RATM for Nu/Rap metal but I think Body Count has a lot of blame to share. Having said that, none can have Ice-T as frontman and that absolutely lessens the cool/authenticity factor by at least 3 metric butt-loads.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    arrrrrrgh and I was so close to never knowing anything about this album

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I’m gonna be honest here: I legitimately, really enjoyed this album. It’s catchy, has awesome hardcore / thrash riffs and Ice-T goes at it as if it were 1992. In fact, I think it’s their best album yet.

    • Gameonfool

      I’m glad they did this album. It’s the best one since the first. Hopefully they keep it up. They got another album planned for next year appariantly.

  • DrChocolate

    Yeah, back when this was released my initial response was “Bullshit, this can’t be anything but a nostalgia play.” Then I heard Ice-T bark out “Whacked with a gat/dusted with a Musket” and I was sold heart and soul. It still sort of amazes me that it takes a dude on the far side of fifty to make rap-metal sound fresh again. O.G. indeed.

  • OMFG! A new Body Count! MUST…DOWNLOAD…NOW!!!! These guys made the best song ever in the history music about Strippers. Its called Strippers. And its awesome! They also did a really cool cover of Hey Joe. But they’re not from the same album. “On Oprah today, we discuss Male Promiscuity. Why men always on the search for sex and new sexual partners.”

  • Kryopsis

    I was skeptical even while reading this review but damn, this actually works. ‘Institutionalized’ is absolutely hilarious, by the way.

  • Someone needs to do a Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Warrant – Metal Bridge. You guys are probably laughing, but it seriously kicks retro arse in the same vein as Satan’s Life Sentence. I know no one will take me seriously. This is good stuff…

    http://music.mikeeckman.com/share/ufKuB

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Cherry Pie was an unforgivable crime against humanity…Those guys should be breaking rocks in Siberia for that

      • Aaah, I see the confusion. You’re thinking of the cheesy 80s hair band Warrant with such gems as Uncle Toms Cabin, and Down Boys. Im talking about the awesome German thrash metal band Warrant. This new album is killer! :)

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Ah thank goodness, I thought listening to Bodycount had sent you insane

  • Excentric_1307

    I thought this was the worst thing I’d ever heard. And then I realized it was actually the best thing ever. This stuff is hilarious.

  • Grymm

    MUST. HAVE!

  • Alexandre Barata

    I gotta say that I came here just to piss on this album, because Rap Metal wasn’t great even 20 years ago, but fuck me, the lyrics from the above song are just awesome!!!!

  • euthanatos

    The “what’s your first dog’s name” thing fucking killed me. I literally laughed out loud.

  • De2013

    Word.

    See also Mr Fisting’s list for 2014.

    Great review!

  • I’ve been an Ice T fan since the day I found a cassette copy of his album “The Iceberg” walking from 7-11 to home as a teenager. That hot summer day I also found a can of Mace which I picked up and then decided I probably shouldn’t keep so I tossed it and then proceeded to walk home in the heat, sweating, rubbing the sweat off my face and out of my eyes and discovered that the can of Mace had leaked and I was effectively Macing myself and was soon blind and in tremendous pain. Appropriate for my introduction to gangster rap.

    • Jimmy Calhoun

      Super-late, I know, but that is a fucking hilarious story!

  • Norfair Legend

    I never missed this and happy I didn’t. The original Body Count album sounds as awesome and relevant today as it did when released but then everything after was pretty much crap. I give each one a listen hoping they recapture a little their magic but nothing ever manifests…until now. This is easily in my top five albums for the year. The riffs, the fun and the intensity all get you pumped for an absolutely delightful listen.

    Don’t hate, participate.

  • Shawn Cypher

    “Fuck a vegan, I could give a fuck if you eat sawdust, motherfucker!” – bahahaha..

    • Shawn Cypher

      I also just bought this album. I remember previewing it when it came out, and well, today was payday and I have been wanting something fun and new to listen to :)

  • Simon Shrimpton

    I thought this album would be good for a cheap laugh but I am enjoying this far more than I assumed I would.

    There’s a lot of cheese in this but some golden moments too. Good call pulling this one up as it would have been a shame to have missed it!

  • Feeblejocks

    Listening to this album, I realize I’ve been just waiting to really like a rap metal album. The two genres have a fair number of similarities, and it isn’t hard to imagine how they could sound good together (you know, get a good MC, play one or two catchy, thrashy riffs, some kind of hooky chorus, loud, angry lyrics, and you’d probably have a winner). It’s damn good to hear an album that at least partially lives up to that potential. I hope more bands take up this direction, and finally cease and desist with any and all connections to Bizkits and the Parks.

  • Tofu muncher

    So when can I read Things You Might Have Missed 1980’s: Black & White – Don’t Know Yet?