Coming from the violent and gang-filled streets of south-central Los Angeles, Ice-T fronted heavy metal band Body Count is back with a vengeance. Their newest album Carnivore was recently released and we here at Wicked Horror gave it a spin.
The story of Body Count begins back in 1990. Frontman and all around original gangsta Ice-T has stated that he has always had an affinity for hard rock and heavy metal music. He cites bands like Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Sabbath as inspiration.
While attending Crenshaw High School, Ice met Ernie C. who also shared in his love of heavy metal. Ernie C. was a self-taught guitarist and by their meeting, the spark for what would turn into Body Count had been ignited. Ice-T was engaged in a very successful hip-hop solo career when he decided to form the band with Ernie C.
Bringing in other former classmates who shared their love of heavy music, Ice and Ernie recruited Mooseman on bass, Beastmaster V as a drummer and rhythm guitarist D-Roc. The core of the original Body Count had been formed. Body Count made their debut during the second half Ice-T’s performance at Lollapalooza in 1991. The band was well received by hip hop and metal fans alike. Body Count’s debut album shortly followed.
With a career spanning 30 years, Body Count continues to spread their unique brand of street gospel to masses of fans who eagerly await each new Body Count release. With lyrics steeped in street life, drugs, crime, racism, and the brutal reality of the world, Body Count makes no apologies.
One thing that Body Count is hugely successful at, and one of the cornerstones that make them so successful, is their ability to hold a mirror up to modern society and make you see things for what they really are. No fluffy, feel good, head in the sand, ignorance is bliss lyrics are to be found here.
With the release of Carnivore, fans are getting a Body Count that is firing on all cylinders. They’ve never sounded louder, harder, or angrier than they do on this release. And Ice-T and company have a lot to say about the state of the world. From the opening title track, Carnivore, which is peppered with the distant sounds of police sirens, to the last track, The Hate is Real, Body Count has delivered a severe case of assault and battery to the ear drums.
Carnivore has several guest spots from various well established and popular musicians. I never thought I would see the day that the ever talented Amy Lee of Evanescence collaborated on a track with Ice-T, but this unlikely pairing happens on When I’m Gone. Carnivore also features guest spots from Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed fame and Riley Gale from the thrash band Power Trip.
One of the things I have learned over the years is that when listening to a Body Count album, expect the unexpected. One of the biggest surprises for me on Carnivore was the cover of Motorheads Ace of Spades. I commend the band for their effort. Nobody can do Motorhead, except Motorhead. But with that being said, Body Count’s version of Ace of Spades is awesome. The band makes it their own without straying too far from the original. It is a trip to hear Ice-T channel his inner Lemmy while snarling “And don’t forget the joker!!” You can also hear Body Count take on Slayer on their previous album Bloodlust where they covered Raining Blood.
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While Carnivore has many standout tracks, one of the best is a revisiting of the Ice-T hip hop anthem Colors. Released in 1988, Colors was released as the title track to the film of the same name starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn. Rebranded Colors-2020, The band takes the tale of war between the Bloods and the Crips and urban struggle and metalizes the song without losing its original intention and message.
Body Count isn’t reinventing the wheel on Carnivore, they made it better. One thing you can always expect from Body Count is their ability to make you think outside of your comfort zone. It’s dark, it’s scary, it’s violent and the most terrifying part of all of it, is that it is all real.
I cannot give Carnivore enough love. It is a fantastic album that has received continuous play since I first got my hands on it. With everything in the world being virtually shuttered due to the pandemic, take this time to settle in, turn the world off and your mind on and enter the world of Ice- T and Body Count.
Wicked Rating: 8.5/10
Vocals: Ice- T, Guitar: Ernie C., Bass: Vincent Price, Drums: Ill Will, Rhythm Guitar: Juan of the Dead. Released: March 6, 2020 by Century Media