BODY COUNT frontman Ice-T has told Metal Hammer magazine that the band's upcoming album "Merciless" will likely feature another collaboration between BODY COUNT and MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine.
According to Ice-T, he and his bandmates are "about halfway through" recording the follow-up to 2020's "Carnivore" with longtime producer Will Putney, with hopes to release it in the summer.
"We're nine songs in, and we're gonna put 15 on the album," he said. "It hasn't been the easiest album to record, simply because we’re coming off the heels of 'Carnivore'. It was a great, award-winning record and we never got to perform it. Playing songs on the road is usually what inspires your next album, so we came into this kinda cold, from a dead space."
Mustaine previously made a spoken-word appearance on the song "Civil War" from BODY COUNT's 2017 album "Bloodlust", while Ice-T could be heard lending spoken-word vocals to "Night Stalkers" from MEGADETH's latest album, 2022's "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!"
"Dave Mustaine has got at us already," Ice-T told Metal Hammer about a possible renewed collaboration. "He wants to write a song. Dave worked with us on 'Bloodlust' — he did 'Civil War'. But usually what we do with a BODY COUNT album is make it first by ourselves, then call in people."
In a 2022 interview with Guitar World, Mustaine praised Ice-T's "great [acting] parts" in "Night Stalkers".
"I've been friends with Ice-T for a long time," he explained. "When we first met in Los Angeles, he told me he was an army ranger, so it was only natural that I would get him to do this because I wanted to get a great musician who has cred as a military guy. I asked him if he would do a spoken part and he gave me so many good ones it was hard to pick which one to use."
Last October, Ice-T told Darren Paltrowitz, host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz", about "Merciless": "Will Putney's producing again. We've had three consecutive great albums working with Will; he understands. I call him 'the Dr. Dre of metal,' because he has the ability to produce different groups but make them sound like themselves, but just better.
"We did 'Carnivore', and right [when] our first date of touring was supposed to start, COVID hit," he continued. "COVID hit, shut down all the stateside tour; 35 European festivals shut down; and we didn't really get to really perform the album; we didn't get to go out, and that kind of sucks.
"You make albums to perform 'em; you don't make 'em just [to sit at home]. And we won a Grammy on that one. That was great; that was a great accolade. It kind of took the sting out of dropping an album to a dead scene; it took the sting out of it. But then the label's, like, 'Okay, we'll do another album.' And I'm, like, 'Wait a minute. We didn't even really get this one out good."
According to Ice-T, the way he records his vocals for BODY COUNT has evolved over the years.
"Usually when I do songs, I'll do the songs but I don't complete 'em," he explained. "Like, if there's gonna be three verses, I'll sing two and then I kind of live with them, and maybe that way I can think about how I wanna end the song and how I wanna change it up.
"I'm at a point now… When I first used to do albums, I would do, like, 20 songs and then try to pick 12. Now I'm very difficult to find the music, so by the time I pick 12, those are the 12 songs. I'm not doing a whole bunch of recording just to find that… I know what I'm doing. I'm like that photographer that knows how to just wait until the right moment to take the picture: 'Okay, that's one… two.' Versus the guy [who takes a bunch of pictures one after the other]. I don't need to do that.
"So the 'Merciless' album is sounding pretty hard, though," Ice-T added. "We named the motherfucker 'Merciless'."
"Carnivore" continued the path of its uncompromising and critically acclaimed predecessors, "Bloodlust" and "Manslaugther", in pairing Ice-T's impassioned and socio-critical lyrics with thick guitar riffs and nods to metal and hardcore greats like SLAYER, METALLICA, PANTERA, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Guest musicians on the LP included Amy Lee (EVANESCENCE),Dave Lombardo (ex-SLAYER),Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED) and Riley Gale (POWER TRIP).
BODY COUNT was honored with a Grammy in the "Best Metal Performance" category in the pre-telecast ceremony at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, which was held in March 2021 in Los Angeles. BODY COUNT was nominated for "Bum-Rush", a track from "Carnivore".
Dave Mustaine image credit: Gibson