Like The Wildhearts last year with their towering ‘Renaissance Men’ album, Ice-T seems to be making it his mission to show the young pretenders how it’s really done. With an endless amount of lyrical inspiration available at a click of a button on any 24hr news channel, Ice-T and Bodycount have created an album with more bite and social conscience than an army of “rappers” with an obsession of taking a sharpie to their face. Ice-T has just turned 62. He’s mates with Boycie from Only Fools & Horses. And has just shown up many current day arena-headlining rap artists as the imposters that they are.
Following up 2017’s ‘Bloodlust’ was always going to be a tall order, but ‘Carnivore’ (which coincides with Body Count’s 30th anniversary) proves that, even for trailblazers, lightning can still strike twice. It’s loud and brash, with a sensitive edge, a bit like Ice-T’s acclaimed portrayal of Fin Tutuola in the long-running TV show; ‘Law & Order – Special Victims Unit’. It’s also snotty and obnoxious like any self-respecting rap-metal album should be in 2020.
The metal-meets-hardcore riffs from Ernie C are ever-present, and at times, when they combine with the groovy, punishing drumwork from Ill Will, they hark back to when The Prodigy were at their vicious best; in particular ‘Bum-Rush’. Before ‘Bum-Rush’ has you busting a move in true ‘Firestarter’ style, the title-track has your head exploding like that dude in ‘Scanners’, and Riley Gale from Power Trip almost steals the show on the thrash-tastic ‘Point The Finger’ (Kreator-meets-LA). The guest appearances on ‘Carnivore’ are a great mix, and provide some standout moments. Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta pops up on the gritty ‘Another Level, and the tribute to murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle; ‘When I’m Gone’, is a surprising collaboration with Amy Lee from Evanescence which gets larger with each listen.
Mixed in amongst the collaborations is a heartfelt tribute to Lemmy on a riotous run-through of ‘Ace Of Spades’, and an updated version of ‘Colors’ lifted from the soundtrack of the 1988 Dennis Hopper directed movie of the same name. Bodycount originals such as ‘Thee Critical Beatdown’ (complete with hard-as-nails riffage), and the Slayer-inspired tirade against racism; ‘The Hate is Real’, slot in alongside these perfectly and it seems that great thought went into the running order.
The perfect soundtrack to a less than perfect world. Check it out, and while you are at it, do check out the aforementioned movie ‘Colors’, if only for the “two bulls” joke.
Available now on Century Media.
Review – Dave