Album Review: Body Count – ‘Carnivore’

100% Beef

Every time you think it’s time to quit Twitter, Ice-T gets into another toothsome flame war. As soon as the 62-year-old formally known as Tracy Marrow starts going to town on the basement-dwellers of the digital mire, you know you’re hooked right back in. The actor/rapper/heavy metal prophet does have plenty to say, and pre-Twitter Body Count was his vehicle for putting the world on blast through the medium of pounding thrash riffs and hardcore beatdowns. Listen, social media controversy ain’t gonna faze the guy behind “Cop Killer” and “KKK Bitch.” Those ditties may have nailed BC’s no-holds-barred approach to hard-hitting themes, but now Body Count are back in the house with a 2020 album as urgent as the first.

Tackling police violence and institutional racism, the themes haven’t changed, and it’s no wonder Body Count are pissed that they’re singing the same shit 30 years on. Ernie C is still a vital player, deftly delivering the bedrock of crossover thrash upon which T and pals Jamey Jasta, Amy Lee and Riley Gale of Power Trip can dish out their lyrical vengeance.

Carnivore is as vital now as it would have been had it come out during the height of the political rap/metal crossover, and the band know that their stock—and, indeed, their message—is a giant ’90s flashback. Two songs from Ice-T’s hip-hop past, “Colors” (about L.A. gang warfare) and “6 in the Mornin’,” have been given a Body Count makeover, and they’re despicably as relevant and necessary now as they were then. With “The Hate Is Real” tearing down the rise of nationalism and racism in the U.S., Carnivore comes to a boiling point. The album is a triumphant clarion call, and Body Count have provided the 2020 soundtrack for us to riot to. —Louise Brown

Review taken from the May 2020 issue of Decibel, which is available here.