BODY COUNT — Manslaughter (review)

BODY COUNT — Manslaughter album cover Album · 2014 · Rap Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Manslaughter" is the 5th full-length studio album by US heavy/crossover metal act Body Count. The album was released through Sumerian Records in June 2014. It´s the successor to "Murder 4 Hire" from 2006. There were 9 years between "Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997)" and "Murder 4 Hire (2006)" so it´s safe to say Body Count aren´t exactly profilic when it comes to the number of releases they´ve put out since their inception in 1990. Of course lead vocalist Ice T also has his hip hop/rap and acting careers going (since 2000, Ice T has portrayed NYPD Detective Odafin Tutuola on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), so it´s probably hard to find time for Body Count too. The band has been plagued by untimely deaths among their original members too though (D-Roc died from lymphoma, Beatmaster V from leukemia and Mooseman in a drive-by shooting), and as Body Count was originally founded as a band of brothers playing together, that has probably also had an impact. Since "Murder 4 Hire (2006)" Ill Will has replaced O.T. on the drums, and Juan of the Dead is the new rhythm guitarist replacing Bendrix. Sean E Sean has also been added to the lineup on backing vocals and samples. The rest of the lineup is Ice T on vocals, Ernie C on lead guitars, and Vincent Price on bass.

It was never easy to tag Body Count´s music with a valid genre tag, and while it´s slightly easier on "Manslaughter" (it´s simply a more stylisticly consistent album than some of it´s predecessors), the band still mix as different musical styles as rap, blues, traditional heavy metal, crossover thrash, hardcore, and punk, and create their own style out of those elements. They´ve tuned up the heaviness and crossover thrash metal elements on "Manslaughter" though, and it´s probably their most metallic sounding release to date. Tracks like "Pray for Death", "Manslaughter", and "Bitch in the Pit" are very aggressive and especially in the latter case mosh inducing tracks, that´ll sit well with the band´s most metal loving fans. The same is probably true for the cover version of "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies. Ice T has re-written the lyrics for that one, and they are actually quite humourous, although I´ve heard the opinion from others that it´s silly.

As usual Ice T´s vocal performance and lyrics are a big part of Body Count´s sound, and on "Manslaughter" were treated to the trademark lyrical themes of social issues/commentary, violence, and explicit tales of sexual adventures. Especially "Black Voodoo Sex" and "99 Problems BC" describe the latter theme. "99 Problems BC" is a re-recording of the track which originally appeared on Ice T´s "Home Invasion (1993)" album. Alledgedly in an attempt to reclaim the classic track after Jay-Z had huge commercial success using the chorus. In other words making sure that people know that the track was originally written by Ice T and not Jay-Z. Ice T gets a bit preachy on "Wanna Be a Gangsta" and "I Will Always Love You", but other than that this is generally a both fun and thought provoking album.

"Manslaughter" is overall a heavy and quite aggressive album, and the powerful and clear sounding production suits the music perfectly. The band are also very well playing and upon conclusion "Manslaughter" is a great quality release by Body Count. All tracks on the 14 track, 50:29 minutes long album are memorable, and only few of them drag the overall quality down. To my ears it´s their best album since the debut, and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong.
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
They´ve had a couple of rather questionable releases after the great debut, but this one is definitely worth a listen.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I love their debut album but somehow didn't keep up after it. Glad to hear they are still going strong!

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