Quick whip round?

Oh Body Count, what will it be this time? A promising debut album was followed by a disappointingly slow and laboured second album and then out of the blue they produced an excellent third with 'Violent Demise'. Body Count have always been a band of contrasts, highs and lows and you can never be sure just what you're going to get with them and with nine years between this and their last album it could be anything!

Unfortunately it doesn't get off to a good start, from opening track 'Invincible Gangsta' there are clear issues; the production is weak, the vocals far too prominent and the guitars lack any kind of balls despite the heavy riffs. By his own admission Ice-T didn't rap on the first Body Count album, here he does pretty much nothing but rap and it's too much in the other direction. The majority of the album is slow and chugging, they hardly get a rhythm going and the quality of songs is nowhere near what it was on 'Violent Demise', which was a far superior effort in every department.

The death of three original members since 1996 has clearly had an effect on the BC sound. It's not clear who the main songwriters are now but this collection of songs sounds laboured and tired, it lacks the energy of songs like 'KKK Bitch', the downright dirtiness of 'Bring Her to Pain' or the humour (albeit twisted) of 'Strippers'. 'You Don't Know Me (Pain)' is particularly poor, the riff is terrible and it's not until 'The Passion of Christ' that the pace picks up at all but even then it struggles to flow and is followed by the terrible 'In My Head'.

BC have always had something to say but on 'Murder 4 Hire' it's just the same old thing over and over again. Whilst it can be argued that it's still relevant because all of the injustices are still happening they really need to find a new way of getting the message across. I'm struggling to think of words to express just what a disappointment this album is after the highs of 'Violent Demise'. There are some better moments such as the title track 'Murder 4 Hire' and 'Dirty Bombs' but there just aren't enough to save the album overall. On the positive side they have a history of following the lows with a high so let's hope the trend continues with their next effort.