Body Count – Carnivore Review

BodyCount_Carnivore_1My love of Body Count should come as no surprise to longtime readers at this point. However, I’ve been somewhat skeptical of the band’s output since their reformation/comeback in 2014. Manslaughter and Bloodlust each had their moments, but new band members and attempts at modernization had resulted in something of an identity crisis. On Carnivore, Body Count‘s third album since said comeback, I can’t help but wonder: which version of the band will show up?

Up first is Body Count 2.0, the “modern metal” edition. This identity first reared its head on Bloodlust‘s more extreme moments, and here it manifests in the pseudo-deathcore chug of “Carnivore” and “No Remorse.” Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed guests on “Another Level,” delivering the song’s hook while Ice-T gives a Ted Talk about the value of hard work. The oddly sentimental “When I’m Gone” is a near-duet between Ice and Evanescence‘s Amy Lee (who is probably wondering about the life choices that have led her here).

There’s also Body Count, the cover band. Once again following the Manslaughter/Bloodlust formula, Carnivore features a surprisingly faithful rendition of Motörhead‘s “Ace Of Spades,” with a note-for-note recreation of the guitar solo and a convincing vocal from Ice-T. Then there’s a metal interpretation of Ice’s rap classic “Colors,” in the same vein as the version of “99 Problems” that appeared on Manslaughter. I’m not sure why the band keeps doing this, but having two cover tunes right in the middle of the tracklist grinds the momentum to a halt.

However, on several glorious occasions Carnivore reflects the heart and soul of the true Body Count: thrashy, socially conscious, and extremely pissed off. It is in these instances where Body Count truly shines. On “Bum Rush,” for instance, Ice-T masterfully escalates America’s current social conditions into a full-on class war, while the riffs below suggest vintage Public Enemy as translated into heavy metal. This song also marks the long-awaited return of the “Body Count!” gang chants, which brings me much joy. This is easily my favorite post-comeback BC track thus far.

BodyCount_Carnivore_2

Other highlights include the raging thrasher “Point The Finger,” a lyrical update to “Cop Killer” and/or “Black Hoodie” with a vocal assist from Riley Gale (Power Trip). “Thee Critical Beatdown” revisits the music critic murder fantasy that first surfaced on 1997’s underrated Violent Demise: The Last Days. I am suddenly inclined to give this album a better review, just so that Iceberg doesn’t come to my house and beat the shit out of me. Closing cut “The Hate Is Real” filters the classic BC attack through South Of Heaven-era Slayer, alternating fast and slow riffs to maximum effect.

The real MVP of this album, however, is unquestionably Ice-T. Seemingly inspired by the dumpster fire that our world has increasingly become, Ice delivers some of his most topical and pointed lyrics in decades. “Bum Rush” and “Point The Finger” are as incendiary as anything he’s ever written. BC has had some “problematic” lyrics concerning women in the past, but for whatever reason, those are completely absent from Carnivore. Granted, it wouldn’t be a Body Count album without some really stupid shit, and while nothing here is as amusing as “Evil Dick” or “Strippers,” tracks like “Thee Critical Beatdown” and especially “No Remorse” will scratch that itch somewhat.

While it’s too attached to current events to have a long shelf life, Carnivore is certainly an enjoyable listen. I wish founding member Ernie C had a larger presence here, as most of the guitar work is clearly not him, but that’s a minor grievance. Details aside, Carnivore is full of energy and furious anger, topped with Ice-T’s best lyrics since perhaps Home Invasion. Those who liked the band’s last two albums will definitely enjoy this, but there are elements that will appeal to old-school Body Count fans as well.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps MP3
Label: Century Media
Websites: bodycountband.com | facebook.com/bodycountofficial
Releases Worldwide: March 6, 2020

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