Body Count - _Murder 4 Hire_
(Escapi Music, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (1.5 out of 10)
If any band have zeitgeist to thank for what relative success they achieved in their career, then Ice-T and Body Count ought to have a life-size shrine erected in its honour. Having hit a nerve with "Cop Killer" -- a song that overtly courted controversy far too much, to be truly heartfelt -- the ensuing media melee that followed practically made them a household name in the States. The only problem was that when it came down to brass taxes, the music didn't cut it. Their self-titled debut was a joke, and its successor fared only marginally better. It wasn't until the band released their third opus -- a surprisingly enjoyable _Violent Demise_ -- that there was reason to think that they were more than a token novelty act. Still, one decent album or no, there seems little reason for the band to have reunited some nine years later, and listening to _Murder 4 Hire_ you can't shake the feeling that perhaps even the band members themselves are thinking along the same lines.

Boasting a production job that would make most demos sound like they were overseen by Brian Eno, Body Count's fourth album is a twelve-song journey through the valley of the shadow of virtually countless clichés. Ice airs his opinion on everything from celebrity infatuation, religion and the police to American racism and women. Yet take into account the fact that his appearances in films and television shows (including a starring role as a detective on "Law & Order") number well past a hundred, and the sincerity of these rants wear very thin, very soon. Had there been a halfway decent riff to underpin any of this, it might possibly have been slightly easier to stomach, but it's here that the album really hits bottom. With the exception of an oddly out of place "End Game", there's not a single vindicating moment to be found here. Ernie C may be a competent guitarist, but none of his contributions to _Murder 4 Hire_ sound any different to a standard Sunday afternoon fuck-around by a six-stringer whose been at it for six months.

If you're among the sorry fools who actually go out and buy this record, you can count yourself as having contributed to the biggest waste of studio time in recent memory.

Contact: http://www.bodycount.com

(article published 8/22/2006)


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