Body Count - Born Dead review


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Band: Body Count
Album: Born Dead
Release date: September 1994

01. Body M/F Count
02. Masters Of Revenge
03. Killin' Floor
04. Necessary Evil
05. Drive By
06. Last Breath
07. Hey Joe [The Leaves cover]
08. Shallow Graves
09. Surviving The Game
10. Who Are You
11. Street Lobotomy
12. Born Dead

Body Count tend to be overshadowed by two things: the fact that legendary rapper Ice-T fronts them, and the bitter controversy over their 1992 single "Cop Killer." Of course it's not every day you see a pioneer of one genre drastically change speed (and be good at it), and Ice-T has a definite concern for social and political issues that permeates his lyrical content - but, as they learned in the fiasco surrounding their debut, this makes it difficult for people to judge a band like Body Count on its musical merits.

By 1994, some of the novelty and controversy had died down, and this gave Body Count the perfect chance to prove their mettle. Born Dead completely overhauled their thematic framework and departed from the spirit of their debut; they tossed aside the brief messages and audio clips between songs, dropped the humor, and churned up a violent, angry, streamlined album of brutal crossover thrash.

Perhaps this is the product of Ice-T's outsider status - that is, coming into heavy metal after achieving success in another, much different genre - but Body Count does not confine itself to one metal niche. Despite the band being rooted in hardcore punk and crossover thrash, Black Sabbath influence abounds, especially on the lumbering, doom-laced "Masters Of Revenge," and the intro to "Last Breath" could have been pulled from a Mercyful Fate album. The cover of the old American blues standard "Hey Joe" is astonishingly musical for a thrash band, and proves that Body Count's strengths do not end with the obtuse and metallic.

"Surviving The Game" bleeds pure Seasons In The Abyss-era Slayer; dub Tom Araya over Ice-T and it would be impossible to tell the difference. Most of the album, however, takes a more hybridized approach in the vein of bands like Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I., blending the searing thrash with blunt, abrasive hardcore punk. At this point it should be obvious, but the confusion over and misrepresentations of Body Count's nature persist, so it could not hurt to specify once more for the record that Body Count is not a rap-metal band in any capacity. Even if they were, Ice-T would be the guy to listen to.

Born Dead represents Body Count at its absolute height, before the untimely deaths of Mooseman, Beatmaster V, and D-Roc the Executioner, and with the fullest creative strength they had to offer. Saturated with catchy riffs and an angry Ice-T, Born Dead is a heavily-underrated album from a heavily-underrated band.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Written on 21.04.2015 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

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