Body Count aren’t just relevant in 2017: they’re stronger than ever

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Body Count's classics are still strong, but there's more to them than that.

An odd thing struck early on during Body Count’s first Australian show in 20 years this week.

The band had kicked us off with a bevy of old favourites, including their take on Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’, the furious ‘Bowels Of The Devil’ and ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ from their 1992 debut album – both of which had the crowd screaming in unison – and ‘Necessary Evil’ from 1994’s Born Dead.

There’s a sense of nostalgia, as you’d expect, and it’s immediately evident that the Body Count of 2017 still bring the power as much as any other iteration that has come before them.

But the really strange thing happens when the band launch into ‘No Lives Matter’ from their 2017 release Bloodlust. After so many familiar, classic tracks, this one sounds even better. And this isn’t a singular occurrence; it continues time and time again throughout the set. For every great classic Body Count play, there’s a new track that just seems to hit a little harder.

Sure, people go nuts for ‘Body Count’, but ‘Black Hoodie’ feels more vital. ‘Drive By’ and ‘KKK Bitch’ incite some serious energy in the pit, but ‘The Ski Mask Way’ feels tougher, more menacing and ultimately more engaging. ‘Cop Killer’ goes as hard as you’d expect, but ‘Talk Shit, Get Shot’ (from 2014’s Manslaughter) cuts just as hard.

Now, this could be for any number of reasons. The band might just like playing these new songs more. They might be fresher in their minds. Maybe it’s just that on this night, through this PA, the newer material wins out. It’s hard to argue that they’re better songs – more relevant perhaps, but you can’t diss the classics.

All that we know is that, by the time Ice T, Ernie C and their cohorts have closed out with the slow-burning ‘This Is Why We Ride’, we’ve forgotten all about the enormous ‘Born Dead’.

It took 20 years for Body Count to come back to Australia. They might never return again. But, if they do, we’re certain they’ll be packing some material that sounds and feels more vital than ever. 

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